Jonathan Joyce: 'For an amazing outdoor dip head to Sharrah Pool on Dartmoor. This is a 100 metre crystal clear stretch of the River Dart, sandwiched between smooth granite boulders. Access is by foot only, around forty minutes walk through ancient woodland.' - Kate Rew
Kate Rew: About 40 minutes upstream from Holne Woods.
A 100 metre long swimming channel of crystal clear water flanked on either side by large smooth sunbathing rocks.
About one visit: There's a clear vision of the pebbles beneath us we jump in and swim up to the small waterfall at the start of the pool. The force of the waterfall depends on river height, but we swim up to it and batter our shoulders and backs under the torrent. Then we let go of the underwater rocks and are swept away, and round a bend, swirled clear of the rocks (just).
Then we swim and bask quietly along the pools length, looking up through the branches of beech trees to the sky.
Much of the Dart is knee-grazingly shallow, but here the water is deep and plentiful. Who knows whether there are pixies casting spells in these parts, but it’s hard not to leave completely enchanted.
(For those with a left-right compass, the sun rises in the east, and falls in the west. And the pool is beautiful at sunset).
It has long been said that once a year the river Dart demands a human life and when it is ready for 'a heart' it will 'cry' out and summon its victim. An old saying goes: "Dart, Dart, cruel Dart, every year thou claim'st a heart." Local legend chronicler Tim Sandles suspects that it may be wind and weather conditions that both led the river to ‘cry’ and led to tragic deaths. Heavy rains can lead to fast and dangerous flow on the Dart: if it doubt, stay out.
This swim is on a great footpath, with different length walks available.
Lynne Roper: Park at New Bridge car park (there are loos and usually an ice-cream van!) and cross the bridge to the footpath on the Holne side of the river. Follow it upstream for around 2 miles. It's narrow and rough in places, and can be very muddy. There are other swimming holes en route....
You'll know you've reached Sharrah when you come to a wooden fence and a stile that marks the end of the National Trust woodland. Climb over and walk down the steep track through a glade of ancient oaks to the pool.
Allan Macfadyen: It is one of my favourite places, 2 miles or 45-60 minutes, some bumpy, hilly or muddy, upstream along the south bank from New Bridge. The route fairly often has fallen trees or small landslips.
Some, among other things: very slippery rocks; the bit below the top waterfall being rather shallow in places; its current pushing you to the left where there is an undercut; when swimming between the "elephant" and far bank, both rocks may stick out beneath the water.
Sophie Pierce: Most people walk 'out and back' to Sharrah but there is a circular walk which takes in more varied landscapes. Park at Newbridge and walk along the Ashburton side of the river to Sharrah. After your swim retrace your steps a short way to the stile. don't cross the stile, turn right and climb up to Bench Tor from where you have spectacular views over the Dart Gorge. Onto the village of Holne, with its legendary tea room, and back down to the river. Details here http://www.wildthingspublishing.com/product/wild-swimming-walks-dartmoor-and-south-devon/