Fancy a dip in clean, clear water without the crinkling effects of chlorine from a traditional swimming pool, salt from the sea or the chemicals that can find their way into our lakes and rivers? The answer, for an increasing number of homeowners, is to create their own – chemical-free – swimming pond, with crystal-clear water surrounded by plants and buzzing with wildlife.
Wild swimming in nature’s beauty is all the rage – plunging in, whatever the weather. It is said to help reduce inflammation, improve circulation and boost the immune system. If nothing else, it induces a warm glow as you emerge from the often chilly waters and envelop yourself in a robe.
Along with rewilding your estate, planting hundreds of trees and establishing wildflower meadows, creating your own pond for (almost) wild swimming is a mark of the modern, forward-thinking landowner: a beautiful, naturalistic-looking stretch of water filtered clean by the quiet workings of a pump and oxygenating plants such as spiked water-milfoil, hornwort and water mint. It provides a gentle encounter with the local wildlife as you do your daily lengths. “We love swimming in our pond, as well as having a natural feature in our garden with a habitat that continually evolves with the seasons,” says Patrick Grant, whose pond in Hampshire was installed by Gartenart. “It is just as enjoyable as a swimming pool, but far more pleasant to look at throughout the year.”