Chapman's Pool, Purbeck

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Created By Anna Morell for Outdoor Swimming Society

Just about visible from the cliff tops peppered with hikers making their way along the South West Coast Path, this naturally secluded pool is not so much off the beaten track, as not really near one.

As with most of this stretch of coastline, the journey from Path to shoreline is steep to sheer and is a slow three-quarters of a mile trek before you get there with quivering kneecaps, unless it's raining, in which case it may be a slightly faster, bruised and much more treacherous slide down. Nestled between the Kimmeridge Ledges and St Aldhelm's Head, Chapman's Pool is a tiny, natural harbour, enhanced by a stone boat slip which makes getting in and out quite easy. Favoured once by a handful of fishermen, their ramshackle huts remain still in use. But you'll be lucky to see another soul here. Wild sea breaks on either corner of the pool, but inside, it is generally calm and shallow. A diverse amount of seaweeds make their home here, along with crustaceans - all visible through the clear water, with snorkel or without. Their ancestors' fossils may still be found along the shore. It is more than possible to swim across the pool, but know your tides, your tiredness levels and your coldness limits. Also, beware the clusters of rocks just below the surface - they make a pretty temporary home for seabirds at low tide, but when the water rises, they are often invisible until you catch your shins on them. If you have come early in the day, a skinny dip may be in order before the bird watchers on the Coastal Path are up and about with binoculars. If you have braved night swimming, watch out for glow worms to light your way back up the trails to the main Path.

Reference

Outdoor Swimming Society Open Water Swimming

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