The 5 Best Wild Swimming Spots in North Cornwall

So it’s a hot day, but the beaches are all packed.  If you fancy getting away from the crowds and cooling off, why not try a wild swim?  In this post we’ve picked 5 of our favourite inland places in reach of North Cornwall to take a dip.  

St. Nectan’s Glen

Disclaimer – of course wild swimming is more dangerous than using swimming pools, and unlike beaches you don’t have the benefit of lifeguards.  Know your limits, pick your spots carefully, and always be aware of water hazards.

5 – St Nectan’s Glen,
Tintagel, PL34 0BG

Unfortunately, this is not one you will ever get to yourself and on peak holidays it can be very busy, despite having an entrance fee.  However, it is worth a look as it is a spectacular sight, and take your togs in case the mood takes you.  A waterfall drops through an iconic rock formation and into a plunge pool.  Originally a holy site, it is still revered by some, and the gift shop and tea-room are full of mystical merchandise.  

4 – Bude Sea Pool,
​Summerleaze beach, Bude, EX23 8HJ

I’m not sure if this counts as wild swimming, but it still deserves a place on the list.  Built in the 1930s, it is one of the last remaining tidal sea pools in use, and is topped up by the Atlantic twice a day.  Over the summer, the RNLI run free sea safety lessons for children which are to be highly recommended.  Again, this can get busy, but with the town and Summerleaze beach on hand there’s always plenty of space if you’re feeling cramped.

3 – Goldiggins Quarry,
​Minions, Bodmin Moor, PL14 5LW

There’s a bit of a walk and it may feel like a wild spot, but this small quarry lake is sheltered by a soft amphitheatre.  The water is still, cool and clear, and has a good depth.  There are even some flat rocks overlooking the deeper areas from which the more adventurous can (carefully) jump!  From the car park in Minions (for the Hurlers), walk northwards past the stone circle, bear left at the fork 15 minutes later and the quarry is ½ a mile further on. 

2 – Golitha Falls,
​near Liskeard, PL14 6RY 

Golitha is famed for its beautiful woodland walks along side the fast flowing river Fowey.  Wild swimmers here will need to be very careful – the water is quick and can be dangerous, so it’s best to follow the river to the quieter plunge pools further down stream.  Park in the Golitha Falls car park at the above postcode. 

1 – Respryn Bridge,
​Bodmin, PL30 4AH 

This pretty bridge on the outskirts of the Lanhydrock estate near Bodmin is justifiably popular.  The water varies from shallow to up to 2m deep, and there are shingle river beaches and decking for fishermen.   There are also some beautiful woodland walks alongside the river if you fancy finding a quieter spot.  Park in the National Trust car park by the bridge.

So that’s the end of our list!  Do you know another special swimming spot that you’d be happy to share?  Add it to the comments below or let us know on social media.  Stay safe and have fun.