Wild swimming is an activity that has been growing in popularity amongst adventure seekers with a love of water. Enthusiasts seek out rivers, lakes, caves, grottos and off the beaten track beaches and bays, and the more hidden and secret it is the better. It is part of a growing trend (particularly in Europe) seeing many people returning to experience the countryside and reengage with nature in a manner more readily experienced in past times.
Out of this trend has emerged a desire for what are called wild or natural swimming pools. Successfully implementing a wild swimming pool requires a strong sense of aesthetics in nature, combined with craftsmanship and good landscaping design skills. Well-designed wild pools and surrounds look like they have formed naturally, and supporting plant life resembles the more random patterns found in the wild than the typical formal garden.
Designs are as varied as the dreams of the homeowner and their budget will allow. Some of the most popular trends are:
1. The Rock pool Design: Landscaping is designed to create the feel of a rock pool with a mix of large boulders and flat rocks surrounding the pool. Plantings may be of reeds or other water loving plants that blend naturally into rock crevices and gaps. Clever use of pumps amongst the rocks can provide the appearance and sound of water trickling into the pool as if from a creek or brook.
2. The Beach Entry Pool Design: This design has an edge starting at flat ground level that you walk in to and then gradually wade into deeper water, just as if you were at a typical beach.
3. The Nature Pond: This pool design simulates a natural pond with the landscaping surrounds and some edges of the pool encouraging bird-life, frogs, insects, and molluscs. Some fish may also be introduced.
These wild / natural swimming pools typically require a special filtration zone and in purist systems no chemicals are used, only biological filters and hydroponic type plantings are used to filtrate and clean the pool waters. The idea is to try and recreate the purity of water of isolated mountain lakes and rivers where no form of pollution exists.
There is a cost consideration to all this. Having to implement a filtration / regeneration zone and the landscaping elements don’t come cheap (as yet). Child safe fences and gates must be installed around the pool system, which may spoil the pool sightlines to an extent. However, the pros may well outweigh the cons.