Shilley Pool, Throwleigh, Dartmoor National Park

Shilley Pool, Throwleigh, Dartmoor National Park

In recent years, wild swimming has become an exceptionally popular outdoor activity on Dartmoor. Whilst well known Dartmoor rivers such as the Dart and Teign attract large numbers of swimmers, people are increasingly enjoying the pools and channels on lesser known rivers, brooks and streams. Shilley Pool is a favourite for many living in the north and north east of the National Park.

Blackaton Brook rises at Raybarrow Pool (dangerous area, avoid) on the flank of Dartmoor's north moor. It tumbles down the side of Kennon Hill and then flows slowly across a flat section of Throwleigh Common until it drops into a beautiful, steep sided wooded valley where moor meets rolling countryside and farmland. Shilley Pool is situated on this boundary.

We've positioned Shilley Pool on Google maps so zoom in on the 'Satellite' setting to see its location.

 

Recommended route to Shilley Pool for the first time

To visit for the first time, we'd recommend following the moorland road that runs between South Zeal and Throwleigh. Just before Moor Farm, you'll see a grass and gravel area west of the road used by locals for parking. If you look at the Ordnance Survey Explorer OL28 'Dartmoor' map, you'll see a contour reading of '262' where the moorland road splits to Throwleigh. The car parking area is there.

Leave your car and wander back in the direction of South Zeal. Just after the split in the road, and before a cattle grid, is a strip of moorland running south west along the southern bank of Blackaton Brook in the direction of Shilley Pool. Follow the very obvious path up the south bank of the brook. It does get boggy and muddy so take boots unless there's been a long period of dry weather. You'll see the pool and huge, flat slabs of rock on which to sunbathe.

 

Other routes to Shilley Pool

Clearly, you can wander in from other directions. One option is to follow the above directions but cross Blackaton Brook at a ford downstream of Shilley Pool. The crossing is easy after dry weather but difficult when water levels are high. A path, as marked on the Ordnance Survey Explorer OL28 'Dartmoor' map, then rises to the edge of the moor. There, follow the farm wall down to Shilley Pool.

You can also walk across Throwleigh Common from the Shilstone Tor area or follow one of the many paths from South Zeal as marked on the OS map.

Last, it's great to swim at Shilley Pool after a yomp. We'd recommend a circular walk from Shilley to Cosdon (The Cemetery) Stone Row up to Cosdon Beacon on top of Cosdon Hill (Cawsand Hill) and then back down to the pool for a swim and rest. The walk takes about two hours. The views from up top are sublime, especially over Chagford to the Haytor Rocks area.

 

Wild swimming in Dartmoor National Park

See our Best Dartmoor Wild Swimming listing for other wild swim recommendations in Dartmoor National Park.