Take the Plunge | Exmoor’s Top Wild Swimming Spots

Take the Plunge | Exmoor’s Top Wild Swimming Spots

Wild swimming? Why not! There is nothing quite like plunging into invigorating outdoor waters… shrieks, splashes and goosebumps galore. Whether you are looking to cool down on a hot summer’s day, or an intrepid cold water enthusiast, Exmoor has plenty of options for a wonderfully wild swim. There’s no shortage of rivers and brooks for freshwater dips, or the craggy coastline for hidden coves, beaches and bays galore.

Here are a few well-recommended options to get you started… (Most definitely a non-exhaustive list, so get hunting for your own secret splash spots too!)


Cow Castle, Barle – Plunge Pools

Park up and take a (longish) walk down to the plunge pools of the Barle, near the ancient hill fort ‘Cow Castle’. You’ll find depths of up to 1.5m ish, so you’ll feel like you’ve had a proper dunking.

Located about halfway between Withypool and Simonsbath on the Two Moors Way.


Horner Woods – River Dip

Follow the river from Pool Bridge Campsite to horner. Here you’ll find a few deeper sections, perfect for a quick dip (if not quite a proper swim).


Landacre Bridge – Family Paddle

Picture-perfect Landacre Bridge makes a fabulous backdrop for a family day out. Splash in the shallow waters near the bridge, or hang out on the neatly (sheeply) mown grass banks.


Woody Bay – Secret Sea Swim

Aptly named… a steep and winding woody clamber down to this secluded bay may put off a few of the less intrepid. Which perhaps suits those after a secluded spot? You won’t be disappointed.


Tarr Steps – River Day Out

A great way to spend the day, with something for everyone. The famous ancient Tarr Steps are a ‘clapper’ bridge of stone slabs spanning the river Barle. Let the kids/dogs paddle in the shallow waters around the bridge, or head a 20 minute walk upsteam for a deeper pool. There’s parking, a pub and beautiful walking with loads of wildlife… Look out for otters!


Wimbleball Lake – Exmoors Open Water Swim Event

Challenge yourself to go the distance in the Exmoor Open Water Swim. This annual event opens the beautiful Wimbleball Lake to those keen to try a longer-distance freshwater swim… with plenty of moral support! There are four course length options (1km, 2km, 4km and 6km), and you can compete or just enjoy the experience. Sadly the lake isn’t open for swimming outside of the event, but you can head there for other Wimbleball water-related activities.



Well we hope that lot gets you tempted… and helps you release your inner mermaid/labrador/otter!

Planning on staying for a few days? Then here are a few options for lovely country cottages across Exmoor;