GUIDE TO THE RIVER DART
(Buckfastleigh to Staverton)
NAME OF RIVER: Dart.
WHERE IS IT?: The classic SW paddle, this trip is on Dartmoor, would you believe it, not far from Ashburton and the A38 Plymouth - Exeter road.
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Launch below Kilbury Weir after parking on the Dart Valley Railway’s land (SX 747662); see the guide to the previous section for details.
Finish 6 km downstream at Staverton Bridge or continue to Totnes.
Staverton Bridge (SX 785637) has parking near recently re-developed mill buildings. Unfortunately, at time of writing there have been attempts by residents to restrict access on foot to the river here; Totnes Canoe Clubs are attempting to have a Right of way recognised here.
APPROX LENGTH: 6 km.
TIME NEEDED: At least an hour and a half.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: It should be paddleable throughout the winter months.
GRADING: Grade 1 and 2 with a weir.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: A weir.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: Directly downstream of the put-in, you encounter Salmon Ponds Weir (aka Kilbury Weir). This consists of small steps and chutes but is currently quite dangerous. Launch below as there is metal junk which offers a serious pin hazard.
The good news is that the rest of the trip is easy and danger-free, once you have portaged/ paddled the weir. Small rapids maintain interest all the way to Staverton bridge, where you can finish or carry on to Totnes.
CONTRIBUTED BY: Mark Rainsley, also Fogey, Graham Kirkham, Dart Access and David Pearson.
"pete thorn" wrote:
Glad you enjoyed the trip. Official access in Buckfastleigh is from the Salmon's Leap Cafe where we have an arrangement with the owner.
Peter this is not ideal to access this section of river as Buckfastleigh Weir has dangerous underwater metal and is very difficult to portage as land around has been fenced off, so bad advise IMO.
We at Totnes CC have always got in at Austens Bridge where access is perfect, there is sufficient parking in nearby laybys as well.
I would only advise Salmons Leap as a take out for the section above and always avoid the weir
Some of you may have spotted that the picture is not much like the River Dart! It's the Parrett, nearer home for me.