Tavy Cleave, Dartmoor

While I love walking on Dartmoor, I also enjoy doing a spot of wild swimming and there have been a couple on my ‘to do’ list for while. Tavy Cleave was one of them.

It’s been on my list a while as getting to it is a bit of a mission. There are a couple of miles of windy lanes to get to the car park at Lane End, and then it’s a mile to walk up to the pool – some it through marsh and clambering over rocks.

Is it worth it? Absolutely.

On a warm summer’s day, during a week off from my day job I decided it was time to tick this one off my list.

The first part of the walk was okay, as it’s by a leat. Past the leat head I struggled with the marsh and wet feet as I wearing walking sandals. I pushed on, did some rock scrambling and about 10 minutes past the leat head, saw the vista of the cleave and pool appear in front of me. See top picture.

Tcleave 11a


The pool has varying depths, so be careful of scraping your knees if you intend to swim here. There’s a narrow channel halfway up too, but I kept to the rapids area where I could still touch the bottom.

As I slowly lowered myself into the cool water, I was complete in awe of this place. There are few truly wild places available to us and here I was, soaking up the peace and quiet, breathing, floating and re-connecting with myself and nature.

Gillian Adams at Tavy Cleave

Once you settle into the water, it’s like you’ve become part of the scenery and the sounds of nature that stopped when you arrived, slowly start up again. Usually the birds are first.

I reluctantly got out of the water when my hands started getting too cold, but felt completely refreshed. Walking back to the car didn’t seem so tough underfoot as on the way up. Perhaps I happily floated over the marsh?

I’m so pleased to finally accomplish this swim. It’s definitely up there as a day to remember and I’m looking forward to planning my next wild swim. 

If you enjoyed reading this then read about my swim in Sharrah Pool, Dartmoor.
Read more about walking in Tavy Cleave here.

Suggested reading:
Wild Swimming Walks Dartmoor and South Devon – Amazon UK 
Wild Woman Swimming – Amazon UKAmazon US

© Gillian Adams 2019