Wild Swimming Near Waterfalls – The Best Locations

Watkins Path Steven House

Have you completed your #wildsummer challenges yet? Here, Daniel Start reveals the best wild swimming with waterfalls:


St Nectan’s Kieve by Daniel Start

St Nectan’s Kieve, Tintagel

At the head of a wild glen a tall, slender waterfall falls into a high basin, flows through a circular hole and drops into a plunge pool (the kieve). This is a holy place with prayer flags, a shrine room above and lots of steps. Small tea room in hermitage. Entrance fee.

Find track with postbox, opposite telephone box, off B3263, in Trethevey, 2 miles E of Tintagel. Bear R and follow it for 1 mile, past St Piran’s Well, down into the woods, and up along the pretty stream, finally climbing the steps up to the shrine entrance.

20 mins, 50.6644, -4.7168


Watkins Path Steven House

Watkins Path Waterfall, Snowdon

A series of pools and falls on Cwm Llan at the bottom of the Watkins path. Popular with walkers freshening up after climbing Snowdon.

From Beddgelert A498 continue past Llyn Dinas and park beyond Gwynant Chapel café (LL55 4NL, 01766 890855) on R. Explorers can also continue to the secluded pools on the nearby Afon Merch (53.0520,-4.0399). Also Llanberis waterfalls at 53.1115, -4.1255 on N side of Snowdon.

20 mins, 53.0441, -4.0551


Lady Falls, Brecon Beacons © Daniel Start 07761 375717

Lady Falls, River Fechan

A graceful column of water falls 10m into a deep, large plunge pool. Set in a wooded amphitheatre. You can also climb behind the fall and dive back in. Take care!

Pontneddfechan is off the A465 from Swansea. From the Angel Inn (SA11 5NR, 01639 722013) follow the river on a good path up through the woods, just over a mile, to arrive at a junction pool with footbridges (good jumps here). Cross first bridge and bear L to the falls, 300m.

25 mins, 51.7714, -3.6011


Aira beck by Daniel Start

Aira Beck, Cumbria

Series of pools and deep pots for ½ mile above well-known Aira Force.

Take the Dockray road, signed off the A592, Ullswater. After a mile, and beyond the Aira Force car park, find large double layby. Park and walk down to find the first of a series of falls and plunge pools. Continue downstream to wooden bridge, and finally stone bridge at Aira Force itself.

15 mins, 54.5793, -2.9289



Kisdon Force, River Keld, Yorkshire

Two spectacular waterfalls deep in a woody gorge. One is 5m high with 80m-wide plunge pool, open and aweinspiring. The other is 12m high with a 50m-wide plunge pool, deep, dark and terrifying!

From Keld village follow Corpse Road path dir Muker ½ mile then drop down to find Kisdon Force waterfalls in trees below.

15 mins, 54.4043, -2.1584


Faerie Pools copyright Daniel Start wildswimming-co-uk _MG_0640 new2-2

Faerie Pools, Glen Brittle

Famous ‘Allt Coir a Mhadaidh’ pools and waterfalls, tinged with pink and blue hues, set under the mystical peaks of the Black Cuillins. Crystal clear water and underwater arch to swim between pools.

From Sligachan Hotel (A87) follow A863/ B8009 and turn L (signed Glen Brittle) just before Carbost (Talisker Distillery – yum). After 4 miles find ‘Fairy Pool’ car park on L. Cross road and follow clear path down and then up valley, keeping to L of stream for ¾ mile to find several pools. Good jump into the underwater arch pool.

20 mins, 57.2497, -6.2554 T6


Daniel Start is the author of Wild Swimming (£16.99,


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