Inside abandoned swimming pool hidden in dense woods where WW2 soldiers trained

Devon is renown for the number of beauty spots across the county but there continues to be hidden gems for locals and tourists to discover.

Devon has more than 30 National Trust sites but one secluded place that would surprise plenty of visitors is at Longtimber Woods in Ivybridge.

When you walk through the stunning greenery, it is easy to confuse the crumbling rocks for a part of nature that lines the footpath.

They could be just boulders, covered with moss and surrounded by trees.

But the layered bricks actually make up what was once a reservoir that supplied clean drinking water to the people of Ivybridge up until the outbreak of World War One.

It was originally built by the Ivybridge Local Board of Health, who were responsible for plumbing and sewage at the time.

You can still see the original carved stone marked with ILB – Ivybridge Local Board – on the path beside the remains of the swimming pool.

But during the outbreak of the Great War, the pool was replaced by the Butter Brook Reservoir in order to better suit the growing needs of the town.

Not long after, the old reservoir became the town’s outdoor swimming pool, complete with a springboard and changing rooms.

The American soldiers of the 116th Infantry Regiment used it to train prior to the D-Day invasions.

Soldiers would have to climb camouflage netting before wading through the pool and continuing their training on Dartmoor.

They were also praised for much of the pool’s upkeep during the time, as leaves were an obvious problem.

But it was not only soldiers who benefited from the pool, students from the local boarding school as well as the public enjoyed the pool right through to the 1960’s. Some Ivybridge locals even still remember swimming in it.

Now though, decades on, there’s little sign that it ever existed apart from the overgrown structure.

Instead, today’s youngsters prefer to swim in the river opposite the pool, where the council has installed a barbeque area for the public.

There is plenty of variety when it comes to National Trust sites in Devon, with the likes of Finch Foundry – home to the last set of working Victorian water-powered forge tools in England – and Castle Drogo.

Knightshayes brings the grandeur to the county while Overbeck’s Garden is a hidden paradise of subtropical gardens.