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You turn right at the T junction with your first sight of the sea and plunge down into a wooded cleft with five hairpin bends. Straight ahead of you is a signpost with Iceland and New Zealand on it, and a house straight ahead called TREES. Last hairpin to the left, the cluster of eight self catering units, separate buildings and the main property with five units is signed and there is a communal parking area before the main house.
The shoreline is now in earshot with a huge view of distant promontories. Ten minutes walk from the house down through densely wooded steep slopes, you can see the rocky foreshore and an old lime kiln with a domed inset space giving shelter. A couple had spent the weekend there with duvet, towels and bags of food. The Bay is actually narrow. The tide was out. No sand here but boulders and damp slabs of flat stone.
A waterfall spills down through the trees and trickled onto the beach. But where is the Pool? One of the ten best natural foreshore pools in the UK according to the Telegraph? While being watched by the campers and an another couple of young folk who had just arrived from Bathl, I teetered my way down to the waves and headed towards a natural barrier of sharp pitted rock.
And there it was. Filled by the tide every day and a perfect container for clear cold water. Looking closely there was distinct evidence of the shaping of the containing walls for parents to sit on while tots safely splashed and tumbled. At one extremity of the bay was a stretch of shaped rock approximating to a solid pontoon.
At one stage in the late nineteenth century an entrepreneur had invested in this unspoilt cleft of rock, building a Hotel and extensive Carriage Drive, with the beginnings of a leisure complex to be serviced by a branch of the railway (it never came) and a regular service from paddle steamers (they were not to appear). The Pool was the last clear remains of this grandiloquence whose edges had been blurred by the sea. Looking back the campers had placed their towel over a descending wall to dry. It reminded me of conventional motifs in nineteenth century landscape paintings where a small colour note (here red) was located in the middle distance. Like a gipsy’s waistcoat. I thanked the couple for adding to the picturesque lure of my snaps. The girl asked me to explain in detail Repoussoirs, foils and the 'privileged view'. “How fascinating,” she said.
The Pool was a formal perfection, still among the waves, clear and harbouring no anxious poisonous molluscs. It ratified my constant fantasies of the mirrored depths of the Rock Pool as a motif of the imagination.