A couple of European trends have crossed the Channel and are gaining momentum in the UK - Wild Swimming and Glamping.
Both fulfill our desire to spend time in green spaces, to wind down from hectic lifestyles and enjoy the simpler pleasures of life.
So it’s not surprising we are seeing a premium landscaping market emerging in the UK, catering for both trends – Glamping sites with bespoke Natural Pools.
Natural Pools have long been popular as an ecological alternative to conventional swimming pools on the greener continent, since Austrian company Biotop developed the first Natural Pool 30 years ago.
Harnessing the natural cleaning powers of aquatic plants to filter and purify the water, along with special water balancing equipment and hydraulics, Natural Pools have come a long way in recent years. Now widely accepted as a commercial alternative to conventional pools, there is an international, industry standard for water quality and hygiene, the German FLL, setting the benchmark high with quality assurance for pool users and owners.
The growing market for Eco-Tourism in Europe has seen an increase in demand for Natural Pools in Spa Hotels, with the Sauna/Natural Pool combination offering ultimate luxurious, relaxation.
Public Natural Pools like the popular 6300m2 Austrian Gaschurn, complete with whitewater raft ride, are widespread.
The Glamping sector is growing too, with complexes like Garden Village Lake Bled in Slovenia, with its Natural Pool as focal point of the campsite attracting international tourists.
In the UK, the 22-acre LovetoStay Glamping Resort in Shrewsbury is attracting media interest. Soon to open, with 20 Glamping lodges and 120 caravan pitches, the focal 400m2 Natural Pool, surrounded by sundecks and designed by Poolscape, is sure to be popular with visitors.
The UK’s first public Natural Pool, the ‘Kings Cross Pond’ opened in 2015, built by Kingcombe. This iconic Natural Pool in the centre of London, popular with swimmers from all over the country, sadly recently closed - always destined to be a temporary installation.
Here at Ensata, our own Ellicar Natural Pool attracts the public throughout summer.
We have seen enquiries for commercial Natural Pools increase in recent years, and have designed and consulted for projects including hotel spa pools; a large Natural Pool at the heart of a prestigious, residential development in London; and are currently designing an exciting new Glamping site in Yorkshire with a focal Natural Pool.
With 5 children of our own, we choose our holiday destinations close to water. From toddlers to teenagers, water restores and entertains us all. It is easy to imagine Glamping sites with Natural Pools will become popular holiday destinations for families in the UK.
Natural Pools have a positive, ecological impact for wildlife. They are chemical free, have low running costs, low maintenance requirements and are beautiful all year.
Contemporary or naturalistic in design, they challenge us to be creative in and around the water, with bespoke hard landscape detailing such as water cascades, rills, jetties, boulders, diving platforms, sundecks, beaches, terraced living areas with fire pits, outdoor kitchens, atmospheric lighting and of course there are such wonderful soft landscaping opportunities around the water’s edge.
We are excited about the future for Natural Pools in the UK, in the domestic, municipal and commercial sectors and look forward to creating more of these beautiful and diverse, living water systems to enrich people’s lives.