A Natural Swimming Pool (a Poseidon free zone)

Come for a swim she said.  Anytime.  Just pop over.  Now you would think that given it was 34 degrees at the time, I would have been thrilled with such kind offer.  And indeed, I was, but it also raised a few issues.  Problem One:  it would require The Lardy Arse and I to squeeze ourselves into a swimsuit and then bare our lily-white blubber in front of company that was not family.  Problem Two: I am far from a natural swimmer.  I am able to keep my head above water with the liberal application of doggy paddle, but elegant it is not.  Problem Three: water weeds.  Cindy and Pete Barnes have a natural swimming pool (a pool entirely free from chemicals) and I have a vivid imagination.  Everyone knows that water weeds have been known to entangle bathing maidens and drag them down to a watery grave.
Anyway, I gave myself a stern talking to and off I went with my little rolled up towel, hold-it-all-in swimming costume and a voluminous kaftan "cover-up".  Any uncertainty I had about a natural pool was forgotten as soon as I saw it.  It is quite, quite beautiful a more inviting spot for a dip you could barely imagine.  Entirely screened from the houses and surrounded by tall reeds and other plants, with water lilies on the margins and buzzing with life.  And not a maiden trapping water weed in sight.
In this case, the pool was converted from the traditional turquoise, Poseidon mosaic-ed, chemically maintained type.  I now know that a natural pool needs two zones a deep swimming zone and then a shallow area, lined with membrane and filled with the filtration substrate, plants and friendly bacteria that become the pools biological cleaning system.  This is the (water) regeneration zone.  Cindy and Pete used the rectangular outline of the old pool for the deep swimming zone and then extended the margins to create a softer, irregular regeneration zone.  Then there is a little additional help from a pump pushing clean water through the system and a mechanical filtration device that removes larger particles such as leaves.  And dead flies. And mini beast poo.
Now I wont lie I did share my lap of the pool with some new friends.  I met at least eleventy billion water boatman and several dragonfly nymphs but to be honest, they are far preferable to some of the detritus I have bobbed into at the public swimming baths.  And thats just the people.
There are various considerations with each type of pool of course, and whilst if you go natural, you won't need the cocktail of chemicals that stabilise the water and keep it pristine, you will still need a balanced eco-system and zooplankton (yes, that really is a thing, I did not just make it up) to manage algae and keep the water clean.  So it takes commitment and time to understand the waters ecology in order to get it at its best.  But whilst you are out there, learning about your pools watery disposition, you can congratulate yourself on the fabulous habitat that you are providing for nature simply by indulging yourself!
For more information about natural swimming pools contact The British Association for Natural Swimming Pools (BANSP) here


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