Village Swimming Pool

Our community pool

“If you really love something, that never dies, and it never goes away. And that’s what it’s like with swimming”; Becky Adlington, (British Olympic gold medalist London 2012).

The 2020 season


Guidance on Covid-19 related health and safety implications for the re-opening of swimming pools has now been published by the national regulatory body for the operating of pools. The parish council hoped that there might be an opportunity to open up the pool for the later part of the year, but the control measures have not been sufficiently relaxed for this to be practical; new stringent measures for hygiene, distancing in the water including the installation of swim lanes, very reduced numbers at any one time, with consequent lifeguarding implications – these guidelines have all made it unrealistic to use the pool. Also, the council could not offer resuscitation courses at any time in the foreseeable future, and the pool has now lost considerable funds towards running costs, including fundraising from this year’s cancelled Swoosh. In addition to all of this, the school authorities are unable to allow non-staff adults and non-school children into the school grounds for the foreseeable future. These reasons have all combined to make opening the pool this year an impossibility.

Key information

Opening Times

A provisional date of the beginning of May is set for the pool to open, but this will depend on weather and water temperature (above 21′ is the standard minimum temperature required).

The exact opening date will be advertised beforehand on this website and on the community’s Aveton Gifford Facebook page.

Once open, the pool may be used out of school hours between the following times:

During term time:
  • Weekdays –  5pm to 9pm ;
  • Weekends – 10am to 9pm.
During the school holidays:
  • Weekdays  – 9am to 9pm
  • Weekends – 10am to 9pm.

Training Course dates for 2020

Please note – this year, booking training course dates, and paying for memberships will be done online only.

When the booking site is live it will be linked to this page here.

Training is held in the Fisherman’s Rest between 6:30pm & 8:00pm.

All previously arranged dates have been cancelled, and until there is further clarification and advice from government guidelines, no courses further will be booked.

However, should the situation improve, and the pool re-open, Nigel has offered to run a crash series of courses so that members could use the pool for the remaining part of the season.

Further details will be published here, and on the Aveton Gifford Facebook page, parish noticeboards, and at the shop to notify you in time if there are plans to open up the pool this year.

Further information

Pool History

The First Pool

Official opening of the first pool in 1965.

Living so close to the river and the sea it’s essential that our children learn to swim, and for many years swimming lessons have been an important part of the school curriculum. There wasn’t a public pool in Kingsbridge until the 1990’s, but there has been a pool here at Aveton Gifford Primary School for over 50 years. The first pool was built in 1965 in part of the playground by the original school buildings for the princely sum of £600! £250 of this came from Government funding, but the remaining £350 came from local donations – the Parochial Church Council gave half the proceeds of their Summer Fete, the Cricket Club held a barn dance and gave half the proceeds from that, and the rest came in from voluntary subscriptions.

The first pool was a raised wooden tank-like structure with a liner and a ladder to get in and out, and although it was very small it was just big enough for lessons and for children to swim a length without their feet touching the bottom. It was even big enough for an annual swimming sports day with races, although parents coming to watch did get fairly wet as well!

The New Pool

By 1991 the pool had served the school very well in the 26 years since it was built but it was requiring quite a lot of annual maintenance, also the original school building was about to undergo major work which would double its size and encroach on the site of the pool. It was obvious to Tony Bishop, the headmaster, that it needed to be replaced elsewhere with something more up-to-date. He enlisted the support of the school governors and the PTA, and over the next couple of years some land behind the school was acquired, funding was negotiated, and the new pool was built, mainly by a group of parents led by Paul Holmes who was PTA chairman at the time.

The intention right from the start was that this new pool would be for the use of the whole community; since it was opened on a lovely sunny afternoon in June 1993 by local TV celebrity Ron Bendall, many more of our children have learned to swim in it in the summer term, and it has been used in the evenings and during the summer holidays by local residents. For a small place we have been really lucky to have the pool, and one of the best sounds in the village during summer months is the sound of children’s voices really enjoying themselves!

Headmaster Tony Bishop running the school swimming sports 1993

Our community pool

In 2011 our primary school in the village became a member of a co-operative Federation. After several years the managers considered closing the pool down altogether, but at this point the parish council stepped in to negotiate a lease; it is now run by the community rather than the school for the use of residents in the parish, or families who don’t live in the parish but whose children go to either the primary school or the Hive pre-school, and the school will still be able to use it for lessons as it always has during term time.

Funding it

After paying for the legal fees involved in setting up the 7 year lease, the parish council oversaw the initial repairs and improvements, principally to the filtration system and to the solar panels which provide heating to the water. This ensures that the pool is now much warmer than in previous years, regularly in the lower 20 degrees range, often much higher during heat waves, and is enough to keep it open for an extra month during part of the autumn term as well. However it’s an expensive business for a small parish council to cover annual running costs and maintenance, to replace outworn equipment, and fund our annual resuscitation courses – the pool must cover its own running costs, but we have found ourselves very dependant on other fund-raising to keep the pool up to date and in good and safe condition.

Everything painted, mended, serviced, cleaned, and ready to go – Spring 2016

Tony Porter generously gave a large proportion of the proceeds of the 2015 Classic Car Show to pay for an automatic dosing system which tests the water throughout the day, and administers the right amounts of pool chemicals to keep the pH levels correct and the water safe and clean.

There have been many other improvements as well, and necessary replacement of various bits of the original equipment that have reached the end of their days. The parish council has been very grateful for the very generous input from the Outdoor Swimming Society’s Bantham Swoosh fundraising swimmers who have enabled us to make these repairs, especially those requiring speedy attention during the season so that the pool doesn’t need to be out of use for any longer than strictly necessary.

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