(Buckfastleigh to Staverton)


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.


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.


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.



Community Forum Comments on this Article
Re: River Dart - Buckfastleigh to Staverton -- pete thorn
2018 Mar 16 06:53:33 PM
I have been advised by the owner of the river bank that Dart Angling Association do not own the fishing rights of this bank (Riverford Bridge to Staverton Bridge, river left. Also he is not a member of DAA. His concern is one of liability for any possible injury when paddlers use this route to access or egress the river. British Canoeing will be working constructively with the owner to see if his concerns can be resolved.
Re: River Dart - Buckfastleigh to Staverton -- pete thorn
2018 Mar 14 03:41:26 PM
The take out at Staverton has become an issue. This relates to the minor stream bed upstream of the bridge on river left, which has been used to my personal knowledge by paddlers for over forty years. Dart Angling Assoc own the fishing and said some time back that they had no objections to access/egress there. Now the land owner, one of their members, has said he will not allow access after 1 April. No reason has been given. BC are asking for a meeting to explore this further.
Re: River Dart - Buckfastleigh to Staverton -- pete thorn
2017 Mar 05 12:41:52 AM
Access and egress at Staverton is best made river left upstream of the road bridge via a stream gully, which gives easy access to the road over a low steel pole fence. The owners, Dart Angling Association have no objections. Best to park in the Station car park so as not to congest the narrow road.

The older access point just below the bridge, used for decades by paddlers, where the old mill has been converted into smart apartments, is now the subject of an application to recognize a right of way. One local club is continuing to use that egress point to maintain their claim while it is processed.
Re: River Dart - Buckfastleigh to Staverton -- Environment-Agency
2015 Jun 25 10:54:57 AM
We at the Environment Agency are dealing with a serious outbreak of disease among migratory fish on many rivers in Devon including the River Dart. The Dart fishery has been in decline in recent years and this year a significant disease outbreak is estimated to have killed the majority of Salmon and Sea Trout that have entered the river so far.

We are asking for the assistance of all water users, including fishermen, dog walkers etc. to help the river recover. For canoeists this would include careful entry into and egress from rivers, paddling in good flows only and avoiding contact with river beds wherever possible. We also encourage canoeists to only paddle where there are agreed access arrangements in place.

We are currently trying to establish the extent and cause of the disease affecting rivers across Devon and Cornwall. Until we understand more and are able to implement any suitable measures, our only option to limit the impact of this disease is to protect the surviving salmon and sea trout and their spawn sites. Fish will potentially start to spwan from late September and eggs remain in gravels until around April, so this is a particularly sensitive period.

Thanks for your understanding and co-opertaion on this matter.
Re: River Dart - Buckfastleigh to Staverton -- MikeVeal
2014 Sep 13 06:43:58 AM
Thank you.
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