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  • mattnewbury

Bathed in Luxury. Exploring the North Cornish Coast in Style.

Updated: Sep 30, 2020

Going natural on the clifftops of Mawgan Porth in Cornwall



The joy of wild swimming for many people, is escaping the confines of a chlorinated swimming pool and swimming in fresh water; preferably with lovely views. However, there has been a real surge in the popularity of natural pools, where the water is filtered by the plants growing in it. The idea is that the plants provide the oxygen, whilst taking the nutrients from the water, so algae is unable to grow.


In the UK, more and more people are installing natural pools in their gardens

There are now 500 public natural pools across mainland Europe, with every other new domestic swimming pool being built using these environmentally-sensitive principles. The King’s Cross Pond was the first man-made public swimming pond in England and following its success, there are plans for plenty more. In the UK, more and more people are installing natural pools in their gardens and you can even go on courses to learn how to build your own.



If you are thinking of taking the plunge and installing one, there are two types. The first is a natural swimming pond, which looks like something you might discover out on a wild swimming adventure on the moors. Then you have living pools, which resemble a conventional swimming pool, but replace the chlorine with plankton. If you happen to have a spare swimming pool lying around your garden, you can even get a conversion kit. Just don’t forget to invite me over for the opening…


It’s a magical place to swim and one of the few swimming pools I have been in where I have come out feeling cleaner than when I went in

If you have a special occasion coming up, I would highly recommend splurging out on a visit to the Scarlet Hotel in Cornwall. Billed as the most environmentally-friendly hotel in the UK, the clifftop venue boats 101 sustainable commitments, from its construction to its day-to-day running. This includes a spectacular natural swimming pool that uses a living reed bed as a filtration system. It’s a magical place to swim and one of the few swimming pools I have been in where I have come out feeling cleaner than when I went in. And you are supporting an entire ecosystem at the same time.



A swimming pool that uses the purifying properties of plants and microorganisms, refreshes you in the same way that a real wild swim does. Throw in some cleverly placed granite slabs and wooden groynes, (recycled from Plymouth harbour) amongst the intelligent planting and you feel like you are in a Dartmoor quarry. The water also feels silky and soft and refreshes you in a way that a chemical saturated pool doesn’t. Best of all, there are nearby clifftop hot tubs to warm you up afterwards. I'd highly recommend you time this with watching the sunset over the beach below, while sipping on a cocktail.


Then it’s time to soak in the wood-fuelled hot tubs and the wooden barrel sauna, to warm up those cockles

The Scarlet isn’t cheap, but it is worth every penny. And they love wild swimmers. You are welcome to dip in the natural pool throughout the winter, while it's just a short walk down to the stunning beach below to enjoy a sea swim. They also offer the most luxurious Christmas Day swim I’ve ever come across. Not only will you be provided with wetsuits, you are also met from the swim with fluffy white towels, before supping on brandy and hot chocolate. Then it’s time to soak in the wood-fuelled hot tubs and the wooden barrel sauna, to warm up those cockles. It’s designer wild swimming at its best and I can’t wait to return.




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