Outdoor Swimming in South Devon: A Guide to the Best Spots and Tips

Outdoor Swimming in South Devon: A Guide to the Best Spots and Tips

South Devon, with its stunning coastline and picturesque countryside, offers a myriad of outdoor swimming opportunities. Perfect for those seeking a refreshing and invigorating experience. From secluded coves and sandy beaches to serene lakes and rivers, this region is a haven for wild swimmers and nature enthusiasts alike.

In this blog, we’ll explore the top outdoor swimming spots in South Devon, along with essential tips for a safe and enjoyable adventure.

Outdoor Swimming Spots in South Devon:

1. Beaches

* Bantham Beach: With its golden sands and clear waters, Bantham is an ideal spot for a refreshing swim. The beach is patrolled by lifeguards during the summer months, ensuring safety for swimmers.

* Blackpool Sands: This Blue Flag beach boasts soft, sandy shores and crystal-clear waters, perfect for a leisurely swim. The beach also offers lifeguard cover during peak seasons.

* Bigbury-on-Sea: Bigbury’s expansive sandy beach and safe swimming conditions make it a popular choice for families and wild swimmers alike.

* Broadsands Beach: This quiet, secluded beach near Torquay offers a more tranquil swimming experience, with rock pools to explore and stunning coastal views.

2. Rivers and Lakes

* Dartmoor Tors: The rivers and tors of Dartmoor National Park provide a unique and invigorating swimming experience. Venture to Postbridge, Two Bridges, or Haytor for a refreshing dip in the crystal-clear waters.

* River Dart Country Park: This private park features the river and lakes, offering a safe and scenic swimming environment. Non-members can pay a day fee to access the facilities.

* Stoke Gabriel: This picturesque village on the banks of the River Dart offers a sandy beach and safe, shallow waters for a leisurely swim.

* Bowden Park Lake, Newton Abbot: This peaceful, 16-acre lake offers a serene environment for outdoor swimming, with a designated area for non-motorised water sports.

3. Coves and Inlets

* Soar Mill Cove: This secluded cove near Hope Cove offers a sheltered, sandy beach and clear waters, perfect for a refreshing swim. The area is managed by the National Trust and features a small café for post-swim refreshments.

* Babbacombe Bay: This hidden gem near Torquay offers a quiet and secluded swimming spot, with a mix of sand and pebbles and stunning coastal views.

* Shaldon Ness: At the western end of the Shaldon estuary, you’ll find this charming cove with calm waters and a sandy beach, ideal for a leisurely swim.

Tips for Outdoor Swimming in South Devon:

1. Check local conditions and tide times

Before venturing out for a swim, always check the local weather forecast and tide times. Be aware of any potential hazards, such as strong currents or rip tides, and swim within your abilities.

2. Wear the right gear

Invest in a good-quality wetsuit or swimwear suitable for outdoor swimming. A hat and goggles can also be useful, especially in colder months or at exposed locations.

3. Be prepared

Always carry a towel, spare clothing, and a water bottle when heading out for a swim. Inform someone of your swimming location and expected return time, and never swim alone.

4. Respect the environment

Always leave the swimming area as you found it, taking any litter with you. Respect the local wildlife and avoid disturbing any nesting or breeding areas.


South Devon’s diverse and picturesque landscape offers a myriad of outdoor swimming opportunities for adventurous souls. From secluded coves and sandy beaches to serene lakes and rivers, this region caters to all levels of swimmers and nature enthusiasts. By following our tips and exploring the recommended spots, you’re sure to have a safe, enjoyable, and memorable outdoor swimming experience in South Devon.

By booking a three-night stay at Brightham House Boutique Bed & Breakfast, you can experience the best of South Devon while enjoying the comfort and hospitality of this charming boutique accommodation. So, pack your bags and get ready for a memorable weekend getaway in the heart of England’s countryside.

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(All reservations have a option of moving a booking date with a FREE cancellation up to 14 day of your booking date and return of deposit, should you need to amend your booking at anytime)


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