Wild Swimming on the Upper Dart

Blog - Phil-osophy on Landscape Photography > Wild Swimming on the Upper Dart
09/09/2015 - 18:56


The beguiling River Dart, as it winds it's way down from the confluence of the West Dart & East Dart Rivers at Dartmeet, offers some glorious wild swimming.


On fine, warm day in early September - it seemed a tempting idea to go for another wild swim with family and friends.





The section in Combestone Woods to the upper edge of Combestone Island offers some superb calm water in which to have a wild swim.





Oak, Rowan and Birch trees add a fine sylvan backdrop to the clear waters. The water was invigorating in its coldness, but a 5/4/3mm wetsuit made it soon seem okay! Must remember to wear the wetsuit hood next time, as it would make the underwater photography feel somewhat easier to cope with!





It was sublime being immersed in the waters and looking at the river from a fish's perspective. Some fish darted about, but seemed camera shy. Crepuscular rays illuminating the waters and gilding the granite boulders made the coldness of my head seem somehow warmed by the experience.



Like on my previous swim on the Teign, I decided to take the opportunity to swim down to the rapids (at the edge of Combestone Island in this case) and try some close-up photographic studies of the flowlines and small cascades.







One fine place indeed to have a wild swim in Dartmoor National Park, for sure.


A way further down river in the Dart Valley Nature Reserve, there are more pools between a pair of ledge waterfalls, beside wide rocky platforms, that offer stunning scenery and an outstanding place to picnic. These pools are for recommeded only for confident swimmers and to be only done so in moderate flow. Wide and deep, with plenty of calm slow moving space to swim (starting roughly 10 metres downstream of the first of the ledge falls. seen below), just be sure to note where the main flow is though.





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