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  and we are forever drawn outside to sit, eat and entertain on the terrace. My friends often come over for a coffee and a swim. And we love our midnight swims when the stars are reflected on the clear water. It’s very liberating.”
Unlike a conventional swimming pool, a swimming pond uses no chemicals. Through an ecologically balanced and self-cleaning process which uses the plants as a living filtration system, the water is fresh, crystal clear and inviting. “The shallow water in the planted areas heats up rapidly on sunny days and because this water is recirculated into the bottom of the swimming area, there is a natural warming effect and the Hunters take the plunge in late spring, braving the water until the clocks go back.
“Not only is it wonderful to have the ability to swim in your back garden for
all the obvious health and recreational reasons,” says Nicola, “but it’s a magnet for wildlife and we can reconnect with nature. The plant life is varied and offers structure and colour; we have marsh marigolds, irises, water lilies and bull- rushes. We share the space with bats who swoop at dusk to catch insects, gorgeous dragonflies, beetles, newts and frogs. We’ve even had a kingfisher call by to check if there were any fishing opportunities!
“Obviously, we need to maintain the pond,” Nicola explains, “but it’s rather fun to do what we call pond gardening. There we are, swimming with our secateurs, cutting down the aquatic plants at the end of the year. This pond gives us an enormous sense of well-being.” Caroline Fardell
n All you need to know about swimming ponds, overleaf.

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