By: Blonde Two
Dartmoor is the source of many of Devon’s favourite rivers, we have the Dart (two of them), the Teign and the Avon, to name only three. Walking along a stretch of river is a satisfying undertaking, especially if you have time to walk a section that shows how that river’s nature changes as it flows downstream. However, it is also possible to enjoy Dartmoor’s rivers in quick bursts, maybe a wild swim in a favourite pool or a photographic session by a waterfall. For this week’s Tuesday’s Ten we have our top 10 Dartmoor river spots for you (you will be needing a map to find some of these).
The River Meavy and the Devonport Leat Aqueduct
The joining of these two waterways can be found at SX 573 713 and you will definitely want to get the camera out to photograph the Devonport Leat as it flies over the more sedate Meavy. Park at the Sharpitor car park SX 560 708 and head east then north.
Dartmeet and the Badgers Holt Cafe
The Dartmeet car park SX 672 732 now has a parking charge so take some pound coins with you. Once you have made use of the loos and enjoyed a pasty or cup of tea, wander upstream to appreciate the beauty of this section of the East Dart away from the crowds.
The West Dart at The Dartmoor Training Centre
This pretty and very photogenic bridge SX 626 738 is a short walk down the lane from the wonderful (and very dog friendly) Princes Hall Hotel. Our recommendation would be to call for a cream tea first… and maybe again after. Parking is available for customers at the hotel.
The East Dart Waterfall
This one will definitely require a map and decent navigation skills but is worth the trek (around 4 km) up from Postbridge (parking charges in the main car park). Once you have appreciated the wildness of the East Dart Waterfall at SX 627 810, you can cross the river (carefully above the waterfall) and explore further upstream or access the more northern reaches of Dartmoor.
The River Lyd Ford
This ford in the River Lyd SX 532 851 has it all, a footbridge, stepping stones and, downstream, a lovely swimming hole. Turn down the lane by the Dartmoor Inn and go through the gate to park in the moor side car park. A short walk down the track will take you to the ford and you will find the swimming hole downstream, underneath the memorial on the right bank.
The Teign Footbridge below Sittaford Tor
Just a small stone footbridge SX 639 844 over the baby River Teign but one that offers plenty of exploration possibility. Climb Sittaford Tor, head off (with a map and compass) onto the high North Moor or explore the ruins at Teignhead Farm. Park at Fernworthy Reservoir and enjoy the walk through the forest and then out onto open moorland.
Mill House at Jordan on the West Webburn River
Mill House itself is just a house and the bridge here is pretty but unassuming SX 699 750 but the section of the Two Moors Way that runs south for just over a kilometre to Ponsworthy follows the river through pretty woodland and meadows where wild orchids can sometimes be found. Park in Widecombe or at the small Wind Tor car park SX 707 763 and take your map.
The West Dart Weir near Beardown Tors
At this lonely but beautiful spot SX 608 779 the West Dart meets one of Dartmoor’s many man-made leats, which is handy because the easiest way to find the West Dart Weir is to take the footpath that heads north-west just west of the Two Bridges Hotel (parking opposite the hotel) and, once you have negotiated Beardown Farm, follow the leat through woodland and out onto the moor. You will definitely need a map, especially if you fancy exploring Beardown Tors once you have found the weir (check for Army live firing if you do as the tors are on the edge of a range).
The River Avon at the Avon Dam
The Avon Dam SX 678 651 itself is not the most stunning of structures but the accessible walk up to it shows off the tumbling Avon rather well and, if you want to climb up above the dam (not accessible) the Avon reservoir is an impressive and truly peaceful location. Park at Shipley Bridge SX 680 628, where there are toilets.
The Fairy Bridge over the River Swincombe
We have sometimes found fairies at this magical riverside spot SX 641 725 but you will have to hunt hard if you want to do so, as they are shy (and sometimes cheeky) creatures. Park just above the cattle grid at SX 651 726 and follow the road dowhill and then left along the Swincombe. Once you have crossed the bridge (and if you have remembered your map) you can explore the ruins of the former abode of Dolly Trebble.
We hope you enjoy our Dartmoor River spots but we have a reminder about rivers. On Dartmoor they can rise very fast following rainfall so don’t get caught out (or in!)
If you are looking for accommodation or activities on Dartmoor, we thoroughly recommend starting your search on the Visit Dartmoor website. We work closely with the Visit Dartmoor team and, as well as where to stay, you will also find information about what to do during your time on our favourite moor.
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