Login Register

BLOG: Behind the scenes at BUDE SEA POOL

By Hooligween  |  Posted: January 20, 2013

  • The Sea Pool is used all year round; this sponsored swim took place in October! (Photo: Trewin Design Partnership)

  • Swimmers, surfers, kayakers and kids of all ages take advantage of the Sea Pool's safe environment

  • Bude Sea Pool -- a beautiful place to swim!

Comments (0)

Regular readers may have seen news items and diary

dates about Bude Sea Pool, and wonder what exactly all the fuss is about. I'm

Rowena Hoseason, one of the founder members of the Friends of Bude Sea Pool, which

is a volunteer-run charity, based here in North Cornwall. And I'll be sharing

some of the behind-the-scenes details about what goes on at the Pool with you

over the coming months. But first – hopefully some background info will help to fill

in the gaps!



The tidal swimming pool at Summerleaze Beach is one of

Bude's hidden treasures. It nestles under the cliffs and was created 82 years

ago to provide a safe place for people to swim, bathe and splash. The Sea Pool

uses the natural curve of the cliff and substantial outcrops of rock, combined

with a man-made retaining wall. So there's plenty of water to swim in

throughout the day, even when the tide is out.

Since it was built, thousands of

people have learned to swim in safety in the Sea Pool. There are some dangerous

currents in the bay, and the Atlantic waves make it difficult to swim in the

open sea at Bude. So it's very common for several generations of families to

take the waters in the Sea Pool – grandparents learned to swim in it when they

were toddlers, and some families have been visiting Bude for 60 or 70 years to

come back to the Pool each summer. The Sea pool is one of Bude's key visitor


The Pool has changed very little

over the years. One side of the cliffs became unstable, and the sunbathing terraces

were built in the 1970s as a result. There have been many swimming galas and

competitions held in the Pool; there used to be a permanent Pool attendant who

would rent out deckchairs and changing tents.



The Sea Pool was, until very recently, administered by

Cornwall Council who withdrew its funding in 2010. That mean it would be closed

and probably demolished. The Friends of Bude Sea Pool was formed to save the

Sea Pool, and this volunteer charity took on management of the Pool in April


This means that the Pool's

running costs must now be funded by donations, business sponsorship, grants,

fund-raising and FoBSP membership. FoBSP has begun several long-term projects

to provide income, such as building 12 beach huts on the terraces which are

then rented out. FoBSP has also successfully secured several substantial

grants, which enabled the group to carry out vital health and safety work and

repairs earlier this year. So the barriers on the sea wall – which were a

considerable hazard to surfers – have been removed; new handrails installed

alongside the steps to the beach, and the steps themselves have been


FoBSP also initiated a training

programme for lifeguards in 2012, so the staff members at the Pool were

apprentices who earned their professional qualifications over the season. As

well as monitoring the Pool, FoBSP staff kept the Pool and its surroundings

clean and tidy, and provided first aid and assistance to dozens of beach-users

during the summer. On the busiest day in 2012 over 500 people used the Sea

Pool, and more than 50,000 people visited it during the course of the summer.

And it doesn't just get used in the warm weather – here's a vid clip of some

very brave swimmers making the most of the Sea Pool in the middle of winter:

vid clip" href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tSued8fmW0M" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tSued8fmW0M



The Sea Pool is filled at high tide with fresh sea water

from the Atlantic. It's not a lido; the water isn't heated or treated in any

way. So there's no chlorine or chemicals and a very small carbon footprint. Of

course, that means that the Pool isn't heated and the water is the same as the

sea which surrounds it. So it can be quite cool – which is wonderful on hot

summer days – and you may meet some small fish during your swim! There's plenty

of room for them and many swimmers: the Sea Pool is 88m long and around 45m

wide and contains up to 900,000 gallons of water.


the structure of the Pool has been neglected in recent years and much of it is

in need of repair and renovation. The water level in the Pool is controlled by

a sluice gate system which is now beyond repair. So FoBSP are undertaking a

major project in February and March 2013, to replace the sluice gate with a

more flexible system. This will allow FoBSP to access the interior of the Pool

more frequently, so it can be cleaned and dredged regularly. This will make the

Pool a more consistent depth and improve the water quality, and allow more

people to use the Pool throughout the year. This project will cost around




must also raise enough money to pay for any repairs needed to the walkways and

steps after the winter storms have blown through, and to staff the Pool for the

2013 season. These costs are expected to be in the region of £30,000.



The Sea Pool provides safe bathing on a part of the Cornish

coast where it is not safe to swim in the sea. It gives direct employment to

local young people, and FoBSP use local businesses and contractors whenever

possible to help the economy in the wider area. The Sea Pool is an important

asset to the community in the area, and a vital visitor attraction which helps

to support the hospitality industry in Bude and beyond. It is open access from

the beach, and free for all to enjoy.


of FoBSP costs just £10 for adults, or £5 for under 16s, per year. FoBSP aim to

build membership to 4000, which will then cover the annual running costs of the

Pool and allow the group to continue to improve and extend the facilities on


You can

join FoBSP at href="http://www.budeseapool.org/" target="_blank">www.budeseapool.org,

or pick up a membership form from one of the banks in Bude, or drop into the

Seventh Wave Gallery on Belle Vue in Bude, and sign up on the spot. Your support is VERY much appreciated!

And that's just the background to Bude Sea Pool: keep your eyes peeled for future updates being posted here...

Read more from West Briton

Do you have something to say? Leave your comment here...

max 4000 characters
  • Hooligween  |  January 24 2013, 10:35AM

    Fair observation, Nick! In future, I'll make sure we explain that we don't add any chlorine (or anything else!) to the sea pool water... Thanks for the scientific explanation! Rowena

  • nick113  |  January 23 2013, 2:47PM

    Well done FoBSP. It looks great, I will give it a go some time. Just one quibble, to say that sea water "contains no chlorine" is not correct. Sea water has a very high level of chloride ions which come from the salt dissolved in it. It is those chloride ions which kill bacteria and make sea water much safer to swim in than ponds or rivers.