Pembrokeshire Natural Pool
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Pembrokeshire Natural Pool

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The pool has a swim zone is 64m2, a regeneration zone to the side of 31m2 and the filtered play beach and plant filter are 34m2.

An eco-build natural pool especially designed for a sloping walled garden.

Our client is a keen wild swimmer and was keen on the idea of a natural pool without chemicals. We were asked to construct the pool without concrete and using local materials to keep the carbon footprint of the build as low as possible.

The site is a listed walled garden, so first we assisted with a planning application for the natural pool, which was granted straight away. Next we designed a natural pool with an earth construction, and Biotop's recycled plastic wall units to form the pool's chambers.

The challenges we faced were considerable! The sloping site needed retaining to create a level space for the pool. We used gabions filled with local stone to retain the slope behind the pool, the gabions blend in with the existing garden wall perfectly.

Next up we excavated the pool, which was on the site of an old crew yard. We dragged out old concrete, bits of buried wall and debris, we did manage to construct the pool using the wall units but a small section had a concrete wall built for stability due to the made up ground. Another challenge was the bedrock- Pembrokeshire shale. This is sharp splintering rock which would pose a problem for the liner, so we applied a cement screed to the pool chambers, prior to lining.

We lined the pool using black TPO liner, welded in position and finished the internal walls with larch coping. We constructed a deck and long walk way which runs down the side of the swim zone. The beach and gravel path have the same soft ochre coloured filtration grit, this is nice to walk on with bare feet and blends beautifully with the surrounding stonework.

We finished the beach area using boulders from around the site, one boulder was drilled and the return water to the pool from the skimmer bubbles back into the pool through this boulder- popular with children. There is a small shallow end connecting to the beach and larch stairs into the shallow end. The main deck doubles as a diving platform and sun deck.

We finished the project with a naturalistic, meadow like planting scheme which wraps around the pool with narrow pathways snaking through leading you from the house up to the deck. A gravel scree planting scheme around the beach area includes patches of Thrift, a nod to magnificent the sea view when you stand on the deck and look out of the garden.

I love opening the main gates to the walled garden and walking into this beautiful pool. It sits easily in the middle of the sloping garden like it has always been there.

Our client swims all year, the pool warms up fast with temperatures of 26C in May. The wooden coping, beach and aggregates absorb heat from the sun which helps to warm the pool.
Swimmers in natural pool