A brief history of Chagford Pool


2021 is our 88th season.

Picture shows Chagford Pool in the 1930's
Picture shows Chagford Pool in the 1930’s

Chagford Swimming Pool was opened in 1933, dug by hand by local residents on land entrusted to the village by the Hayter-Hames family.

It is the largest open-air, fresh-water swimming pool in the southwest, being fed by the River Teign. Should it ever cease to be maintained and used as a public pool, the land would revert to the family.

The pool is fed by the mill leat, a small stream diverted from the main river, originally to power the water wheel at Rushford Farm. The site of the pool was once an apple orchard and the mill pond for the farm, and it is well reported that it was dug out because children swimming in the river would too often disturb local fishermen further upstream. In the early years, the pool had a mud bottom, the water was unfiltered and several times each year the pool had to be emptied into the river, sluiced clean by the fire brigade on practice nights, and refilled.

Much has changed since the 1930s; The concrete bottom was added around 1960 and there was a major refurbishment in the 1970s. The latest major renovation which resulted in the pool as you see it now with covers, paving, decking, and an updated plant room, was in 2000, following two years of fundraising. In 2014, the pool was lined, and for the 2016 season, we have installed air-source heat pumps, UV filtration, PV panels, and hot showers.
In 2017 the old cesspit under the car park failed and we managed to raise approaching £12,000 (kindly lent to us by Chagford Recreational Trust) to install an environmentally friendly waste processor the week before we opened for the summer season. This was required by Defra due to our very close proximity to the river and fits in nicely with our green credentials.

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