Sharrah Pool, Holne, Dartmoor National Park

Sharrah Pool, Holne, Dartmoor National Park

Wild swimming and walking

The East Dart River and West Dart River converge at Dartmeet to form the Double Dart or, more simply, the River Dart. The River Dart then passes through the Dart Gorge which is one of the most beautiful and wild places in Dartmoor National Park.

The river cascades and tumbles over polished granite rock. After heavy rain, when amplified by the gorge walls, the noise can be awesome. However, even when in spate, the river runs calm along pools of water. Sharrah Pool is one of these. It's a stretch of calm water between two cascades, a bit like a long and skinny outdoor swimming pool.

Lined with granite slabs and boulders, Sharrah Pool is a popular spot for more adventurous wild swimmers. Beyond the lower cascade, there is another, longer pool of water to which we refer as Lower Sharrah Pool. Even if you don't want to swim, we'd recommend walking in to see the area. Heavily wooded gorge walls rise above you. It's quite something.


Routes and directions to Sharrah Pool 

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

To visit for the first time, we'd recommend following the good track and then path that run along the southern bank of the River Dart from New Bridge (Newbridge) which is by Spitchwick (Deeper Marsh/Spitchwick Common).

The initial forestry track runs through the National Trust's Holne Woods (National Trust) until it connects with a narrow, winding path. You cross a waterfall and descend to a flat area of woodland next to the river. There's a fence, stile and post on which, presumably, was once a National Trust Holne Woods sign. The stretch of river next to the woodland here is Sharrah Pool. It's lined with granite boulders and you'll see mini sandy beaches that act as entry points. It takes less than an hour to get there. Clearly, this is dependent on the speed at which you walk.

There are other ways to walk to Sharrah Pool but we wouldn't recommend them unless you are a confident walker.

First, you can walk the north bank of the River Dart. To begin, it's very easy and flat. You come to a pool of water at a bend in the river and the path narrows and climbs. From here, it gets a bit hairy so be careful. Note that at the point the path climbs, there's a big drop down a granite face to the water's edge. You pick your way through the woods on what appear to be a mix of human and animal paths. You come to Sharrah Marsh which is a big, flat open area. Lower Sharrah Pool is beautiful to your left. Beyond the cascades by the small island is Sharrah Pool. A path of sorts follows the bank to Sharrah Pool.

Second, you can walk in from the Venford Reservoir area. Start at the car park to the east of Venford Reservoir. Walk north west to the corner of the railings that fence off the dam and water works. Follow the disused road that runs around the spur of land on which Bench Tor sits. After a couple of minutes, you'll see a track dropping down through ferns to Venford Brook. The track follows the eastern bank of Venford Brook down to the River Dart. From there, another track runs east towards Mel Pool. So far, so good. It then gets tricky. You have to pick your way through wild woodland to Sharrah Pool. Don't try this route if you are not a confident walker.

Last, whilst it's possible to drop down from Dr Blackall's Drive or Mel Tor, we wouldn't recommend trying it. It's very difficult terrain and you have to bash your way through a belt of ferns and then dense woodland. Unpleasant and exhausting on the way back.


Other wild swimming spots in the local area

If wild swimming appeals, we'd recommend Spitchwick (Deeper Marsh/Spitchwick Common) and Mel Pool in the local area.

See also our Best Dartmoor Wild Swimming listing.