By: Blonde Two
Update: March 2021
Crazy Well Pool is still the beautiful location it always was but in recent years has become more popular with outdoor swimmers. If you’re visiting, please help us all to protect this beautiful space by bringing a bag to take yours or perhaps even other people’s rubbish home, and avoiding fires or barbecues as these cause long-term damage, and risk wild fires.
Yesterday I told you about our rather Blonde Dartmoor wild swim. Today I am ready to reveal the location of said swim – it was the rather eerie Crazy Well Pool. I am not sure that Blonde One was convinced of the wisdom of my choice of swimming venue; she was insistent, on the rather warm walk up, that the pool was “stagnant” and full of “dead sheep”. Since our watery adventure, my research has shown that she was wrong about the stagnant water as Crazy Well Pool is, in fact, fed by a hidden spring (this explains the cold spots). She was almost certainly right about the dead sheep!
Crazy Well is listed on some of the wild swimming websites, this, and the fact that there were other people swimming there surprised me as Blonde One and I are more used to seeing it with ice around the edges. One site claims that it is a good spot for a bit of skinny dipping which, although we didn’t do any that day, I have occasionally enjoyed. You have to be quite committed to your swim to make the journey up the hill or out from Princetown (we took a longer route than strictly necessary) and you are likely to miss it without a map.
If visitors did fancy a walk and could read the map, they would be forgiven for not swimming in Crazy Well Pool if they had heard any of the stories associated with it. I think the lack of natural lakes on Dartmoor must be one of the reasons for the love that the locals have of making up Crazy Well stories. People have told me all sorts of monster related tales. Here are a couple of traditional ones for you;
For years, Crazy Well Pool was said to be bottomless. It certainly has steep sides and once you are off the shelf around the edge, you can’t feel and definitely can’t see the bottom. As the story goes, local villagers tied the church bell ropes together and dangled them into the middle of the pool to test the depth – the pool was deeper than the 540 ft of rope that they had available. I am not going to tell you whether the “bottomless” story is true or not – the element of the unknown adds to the excitement of the swim.
Crazy Well is lovely to visit at all times of day – I have been there on a frosty, clear night and it was stunning. Be wary though, of a night time visit; legend has it that a loud voice sometimes calls from the pool giving the name of the next person in the parish to die. As it seems unlikely that any Crazy Pool gods will have even heard of Blondes One and Two, I am not going to worry about that but if your name is Andrew or Maggie for example, I would time your visit more carefully. You should also avoid visiting on midsummer’s eve as anyone’s face you see in the water is also likely to die (cheery place!)
You can read more about Crazy Well, its origins and its history on the ever fabulous Legendary Dartmoor site http://www.legendarydartmoor.co.uk/crazy_well.htm Read the whole story and then decide if you are Blonde enough to go and swim in it. (Please don’t wild swim on your own though – even a Blonde wouldn’t be that silly!)