DevonNewton Abbot pool specialists, Westcountry Leisure, struck gold at the British Pool & Hot Tub Awards 2017, hosted by BISHTA and SPATA, with this magnificent pool in Devon. Built on the side of the cliff overlooking a bay in the Salcombe estuary, the pool is fully loaded with Certikin and Calorex equipment. 


Brief: The client, a keen swimmer, wanted a pool for all year round use with a deep swimming lane plus a shallow end for his children. The large linear pool had to sit within the confines of the area to the back of the house and embrace its mature and natural surroundings – namely, the extensive gardens, the breath-taking sea view and the seagull-nesting cliffs.

Installation: Using a terrace where a large ornamental pond was sited, the pool is an impressive 22m in length to compliment the surrounding architectural features. The 5m wide pool (with 1.5m shallow and 2.2m deep end) required planning permission as it is in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the house is Grade II listed. The owners were keen to ensure the project did not have any detrimental impact on the existing building.  Westcountry Leisure put together drawings and a specification to satisfy the local authority, which duly granted permission.
Once the pool had been excavated to the required depths, a structural engineer inspected it and, due to failure of the compaction tests, further excavation was required.

MD of Westcountry Leisure, Mark Gilpin says: “Our initial survey was based upon a surface inspection of the site and even though we carried out two trial holes before commencement, the extra works didn’t become apparent until the majority of the dig had been carried out. It was certainly a challenging job and not one for those with a fear of heights! The proximity of the 20m drop over the cliff, just 6m away on one side, and the foundations of the two wings of the historical building within 2m on the other, required extensive shoring and stabilization of the dig.”



Logistics: Access to the site was completely restricted on three sides with only a small, single vehicular access possible between the trees. To improve access, Westcountry removed the existing retaining wall between the upper and lower terrace to enable the shuttered concrete pool to be constructed. The reinforced concrete, stone-faced retaining wall was reinstated on top where the depth of the dig was over 3.5m.
All excavated material was removed from site and a further 300 tons of material then returned to backfill the pool. As the work was carried out mid-winter, Westcountry constructed a temporary scaffold roof to aid the finishing works.

Details: The existing York stone terrace was carefully removed prior to excavation for recycling, to help the pool blend in. The stones, some of which weighed over 500 kg each, were cleaned, sorted, re-cut and re-laid as coping stones, pit lids for the automatic cover chamber and cappings for the new stone-faced retaining wall that Westcountry Leisure constructed on top of and flush with the pool wall.
The inside of the pool is lined with slate-lookalike porcelain tiles, 1200 mm x 600 mm, to blend in with the environment as the local planning officer wanted to avoid a bright blue tiled pool.

The Certikin hallmark:  A Roldeck solar cover was chosen for its heat retaining properties. Hidden in a chamber when not in use, the cover features an in-roller motor and digital control.  Whilst not strictly classed a safety cover, the owner was impressed with Roldeck’s safety features. Westcountry cast a channel/safety ledge the length of each of the pool’s sides. One is sited immediately under the coping stones which overhang the pool by 70mm on the seaward side so the channel is not seen from above. The other ledge is constructed beneath a very large 316 grade stainless steel angle which was bolted on to the reinforced concrete wall. For extra safety, there is an automated locking device at the far end of the pool, which holds the cover firmly in position when covering the pool.

● Filtration: Triton 36 inch side mount (32m3/hr)
● Pump:  Viron eVo variable speed pump
● Anti-vortex main drains
● Six stainless steel eyeball inlets
● Autopilot digital salt chlorinator with pH control to maintain a free chlorine residual of 1ppm.

Heating: A pool plant room was created out of an existing summerhouse, to blend in with its surroundings. An oil fired boiler is used for mid-winter back-up to support two Calorex Propac heat pumps, operable from the owner’s mobile phone.



The Calorex ProPac

● The ProPac Y range has an Intelligent, electronically controlled defrost that allows the units to operate reliably in air temperatures as low as -15 °C!
The defrost system gives the unit exceptional early and late season
● High efficiencies: ProPac heat pumps are designed to provide an industry leading coefficient of performance, saving CO2 and reducing operating costs.
● Titanium full flow heat exchanger.
● High efficiency, sound insulated, rotary (PP 8 and 12) or scroll (PP 16 and 22) compressors.
● Fully ERP compliant
● Digital display controls which enable easy adjustment of the pool water set point temperature and clear symbols show the actual water temperature and operational status of the unit.
● "Smart pool pump control - ProPac can synchronise a pool pump to run only when the pool requires heating, significantly cutting down on pool pump running time. Used with a time clock that operates the pool pump for a block period, minimum pool water turnover rates are maintained.
● Small footprint - the ProPac range is designed with space in mind.
● Three year limited parts and labour guarantee. Five year guarantee against corrosion of the Titanium heat exchanger coils. 10-year anti corrosion warranty on the ProPac casing.
● Built in the UK under ISO 9001 accreditation
● Fully supported by a nationwide service network
● ProPacs comply with the size requirements for permitted development rights (models 8-22).


Owner, Deborah Weinreich says: “We are delighted with the pool and the work of Mark Gilpin and the architect Ed Barker (South West Studio). Bearing in mind it was winter we were fortunate to be blessed with reasonable weather. We were, less fortunate with historic pipe work that was discovered and needed to be re-routed. It also took a great deal more digging to find hard surface to build the pool on, so it had to be filled with aggregates before pool construction could start. In all it took 24 weeks to complete but it was well worth it.”

Westcountry’s Mark adds: “It was the most technically challenging project we have undertaken, especially as we had to work with such restricted access. The provision of extensive retaining walls and additional safety to the pool cover all added to the complexity of the job. We are delighted to win a SPATA Gold award and gain valuable industry recognition for our efforts.