About the pool
Buckfastleigh Open Air Pool is a heated, 21 metre, 124 year old pool in the heart of Buckfastleigh, on the edge of Dartmoor National Park. This charity run pool and play park caters for all, with lane swims, general sessions, fun swims and events.
As the oldest pool in Devon, the pool has been at the centre of life and wellbeing for generations of local people. It attracts visitors from far and wide for its long summer programme.
Buckfastleigh is an ancient woollen settlement from medieval times, a beautiful town just off the A38 between Exeter and Plymouth. Nestled to the edge of Dartmoor National Park and the River Dart, the town is an area of outstanding natural beauty with rare wildlife.
For locals, in summer the open air pool becomes the hub for fun and wellbeing every day, bringing lane swimmers, aquafit enthusiasts and people of all ages to swim and play. In the winter the pool attracts cold water swimmers from across the South West for its excellent conditions and annual ice gala.
When you visit the pool, plan for a full fun day at Victoria Park, with its fabulous skate park and adventure play area. It has climbing structures and towers with scramble nets, a crocodile swing, a zip-wire and uniquely designed youth shelters. It's perfect for a picnic after your swim, so grab some snacks from the tuck shop and relax.
For local children and their families, Victoria Park is also at the centre of the town’s Hello Summer! activities and events. A full programme is running in 2023.
History of Victoria Park and the pool
The Hamlyn family, prominent benefactors and original owners of the town's woollen mills, gave Victoria Park and the swimming pool to Buckfastleigh in 1887 to celebrate the golden jubilee of Queen Victoria. They also donated money for the town hall, community buildings and the playing fields.
The Hamlyn family wanted the swimming pool and Victoria Park to be an amenity for Buckfastleigh for ever, and it was a made a charity held in trust.
For many years, the pool has been an important facility for the town and many residents learned to swim here. It was only closed for a brief period in the Second World War when the US army took over Victoria Park.
The town steps in to save the pool
Teignbridge District Council took over the trusteeship in 1974 but in 2014 they said they could no longer afford to run the pool. The Friends of Buckfastleigh Pool was set up to save the pool and in 2015 they were awarded a major grant of £75,000 for refurbishment. The trusteeship of Victoria Park and the pool was transferred back to the community in April 2015.
The first stage of the pool’s restoration, the relining of the pool, was carried out in spring 2015 and the pool opened under new management in May 2015.