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Tidal Pools

  • Dip

  • Exploring

  • Family Friendly

A lovely tidal pool that is quite secluded. It's fun to sit on the concrete wall and watch the waves.
  • Tides
  • Jumping and falling

This is a crowd-sourced map. Abilities vary, and conditions change. Always assess risks for yourself before getting in.

Be careful of the steep steps from the tidal path down to the pool. Also keep an eye on the tide.

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Swimmer descriptions

  • Added: 12/04/2012

    From my book, Wild Swim (Guardian Books, 2008):

    The North Coast of Cornwall is dotted with sea pools that give swimmers a chance to bathe safely, away from the waves that makes the coast so popular with surfers. It’s high tide so our view of the first few pools is limited, but driving north we pass Portreath, Porthtowan and Perranporth in turn.

    The tidal pool where we spend time is Porthowan, and it’s hard to imagine how any wild pool could beat this as a swimming experience.

    We arrive in Porthowan at 5pm. It’s high summer; the surf shop is having a boom day and the beach is a morass of suncream, icecream and parenting. Facing the sea we take a right up the cliff path closest to the beach, and soon come to some steps down to the empty tidal pool.

    The tide is high so in a nice take on the normal swimming experience, we sit and wait for the pool to open – watching for the point where it is not part of the sea anymore. Waves crash over the concrete wall that dams the pool with a fearsome crash, water and white bubbles surging forward over the wall closest to us. There’s a sheer dark rock cliff to one side, a jumble of rocks to the left. A shag rides past in the green room of a wave, diving for fish.

    We pass time. Dom inspects barnacles and anemones in the jumble of rocks, and I watch the clear sea lower imperceptibly but in stages – it reaches a point where the top of the front wall is clearly visible through the clear water, then another where a few centimetres of sea ebbing over the wall like melted glass.

    At this point I get in. There are purple and turquoise and bright green seaweeds in the bottom: it looks like a place mermaids would swim. With goggles I work out the rocks underneath, then stand on a ledge by the sea wall. Waves are being broken by the wall rather than breaking themselves, hundreds of gallons of water being smashed up into the air. Change in air pressure means I can feel the water coming before it lands, instinctively shying away from the blast. The water lands on my back with a shocking thump. My heart is pounding in my throat as I swim around the pool, but the world’s most sophisticated technicians haven’t come up with a water-park better than this, and I soon go back.


    At Portreath we are told there is a tidal pool on the right of the beach as you face out to sea, by the harbour wall, where older locals swim whatever the weather. ‘Someone stuck a bit of dynamite in to make it,’ says a clifftop walker, who also helps us identify one of Lady Basset's Baths on the left of the beach. Six of these bath-shaped pools were apparently carved into the rock around 1800 for Lady Frances Bassett to enjoy the healing powers of cold seawater. Later in the day we see Perranporth pool.

    There are also pools at Millendreath, Polperro, Treyarnon Bay in Cornwall.

    • Tides

    This is a crowd-sourced map. Abilities vary, and conditions change. Always assess risks for yourself before getting in.

  • Added: 02/07/2015

    Lovely refrehing pool. I don't think you can get here at high tide anymore though, when I went (I think July 2013) the steps down from the cliff weren't visible; I think they've been lost. Easy to clamber to from the beach though.

  • Added: 24/10/2016

    The steps from the coastal path are now too eroded to use so to reach the pool you need to scramble across the rocks to the right of the beach.

    • Tides
    • Tide Watch
    • Falling Rocks

    This is a crowd-sourced map. Abilities vary, and conditions change. Always assess risks for yourself before getting in.

    Remember to keep an eye on the tide so as not to get cut off.

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