Wordless Wednesday – Byron’s Pool, Cambridge: A Literary Walk


Byron’s Pool is a nook in the river Cam where the poet, Lord Byron, was apparently fond of swimming.


Byron attended Trinity College, Cambridge from 1805 -1807. He was not enamoured of the place “… this place is the Devil, or at least his principal residence. They call it the University, but any other Appellation would have suited it much better, for Study is the last pursuit of the Society …” he wrote to a friend, after only one month in residence.


Sadly Byron’s Pool is the site of a rather ugly weir now. Roger Deacon, environmentalist and committed wild swimmer, described it as a ruined swimming hole … “the nymphs have departed and left no addresses.”


The pool exists at the site on a long gone mill. Behind the sluice, on the left, you can see the field of willow, grown as a crop, that I mentioned here.


The place is now a Local Nature Reserve (LNR, 2005) and is gradually being restored, with removal of non-native trees and the creation of a chain of wildlife-friendly small pools. It looks quite haunting and beautiful even in winter, with plenty of colour coming from ivy-covered trees whose new growth flash shades of red, yellow and orange in the sun. It is once again reminiscent of the river loved by Rupert Brooke. Brooke immortalised the Lord Byron connection in his poem The Old Vicarage, Grantchester (1912) … “Still in the dawnlit waters cool His ghostly Lordship swims his pool, And tries the strokes, essays the tricks, Long learnt on Hellespont, or Styx.”


About Frogend_dweller

Living in the damp middle of nowhere
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10 Responses to Wordless Wednesday – Byron’s Pool, Cambridge: A Literary Walk

  1. shoreacres says:

    It’s good to know some restoration is being done. Looking at your photos, it’s easy to imagine how lovely it was in the past. I had to look up ‘weir.’ Now I know that we have those, too, but I’m not sure whether there’s a particular term used for them. I’ve probably heard one, but paid no attention.

  2. Eliza Waters says:

    The reflections are lovely along the channels. I like the green scarves of ivy on the trees. 🙂

  3. Cathy says:

    What glorious shots Allison – thanks for sharing them, and not wordlessly either!

    • Ah, I know that I abuse that wordless tag, but I find myself wanting to give a bit of information about the pictures, because I often get frustrated myself not know the ‘when’, ‘why’, ‘how’ and ‘what’ in other posts. Captions can easily be ignored, so hopefully it strikes a balance.

      • Cathy says:

        Yes, a good point – I will add a tag and pop up caption to my WWs unless the content is obvious, but often eople still ask what something is.

  4. Trek in Cambridge says:

    Really nice pictures and description of this place. Hopefully, more nymphs and other species will be back soon!

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