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.