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Cornwall’s hidden miner’s bathing pools

Wild swimming is becoming increasingly popular as the benefits of being in nature and immersing yourself in refreshing salt sea water become better known and understood. And fortunately for us as well as the numerous wonderful beaches around the coast of Cornwall you will also find that there are many sea pools that are perfect for a dip whatever the weather and however rough the sea is.

Amazingly many of these pools are not actually natural rock pools. They were in fact made by miners in the 18th and 19th centuries as places where they could wash and cool down after a long day working in the stifling heat underground. The men would utilise the skills they used for mining, as well as brute force, hand tools and sometimes even dynamite, to carve out these wonderful seaside baths and today they make the perfect place for a safe wild swim or calming dip!

Here are a few for you to discover:

The Avarack Pools, Geevor

Just below the famous Geevor Tin Mine, which is now open to the public as a museum, you can visit the Avarack Pools. This series of tidal baths, some large enough to swim in, others just great for a wallow, were created by the miners of Geevor in the 1930s. They were also used for the Pendeen Swimming Galas for a number of years and there was even an Avarack Swimming Club for a time. At the Gala in 1940 crowds of people watching the racing and diving competitions from the cliff top, which raised money for local service men.

Pullandase Rock Pool, Kenidjack

This pool is the largest of three miner’s baths that can be found on this stretch of the coast at Porth Ledden near St Just. This bath, big enough for a bracing swim, is a bit of a scramble down Kenidjack valley and over the rocks to reach but at low tide it offers deep, crystal clear waters and amazing views towards Cape Cornwall.

The Stackhouse Baths, Perranuthnoe

These pools are real hidden gems! Both were carved out of the rock in the 18th century and one bath is fresh water, filled by a spring inside a cave, while the other is a tidal pool dug out of the rocky shoreline below Acton Castle. These baths are more like plunge pools, not really large enough to swim in, and weren’t created by miners but by created by the hotelier and botanist, John Stackhouse, who was suffering from ill health and believed in the benefits of regular al fresco bathing!

Treyarnon Road Pool, Padstow

A few miles from Padstow this tidal pool may originally have been made by nature but it has probably been deepen by man over the centuries. A newspaper article from the 1930s talks of the ‘small cost’ of constructing the pool for the use of local school children so that they had somewhere safe to learn to swim. Today the large pool is filled with fresh sea water each tide and still makes an ideal spot for young swimmers or for when the sea itself is too rough.

Boat Cove Tidal Pool, Pendeen

This tidal bath built by miners from the nearby workings in the 19th century stands in a sheltered cove just beyond the Pendeen lighthouse. The pool, which sits fairly high above sea level at low tide, is 3 or 4 metres deep in places and ideal for some sedate wild swimming. The views on to the sandy expanse of Portheras beach make a stunning backdrop to your dip!


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