GUIDE TO THE RIVER DART
(Staverton to Totnes)
NAME OF RIVER: Dart.
WHERE IS IT?: The classic SW paddle, this trip is south of Dartmoor, some way after the Dart passes Buckfastleigh and the A38 on it's way south to the sea.
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Start at Staverton Bridge (SX 785637) - however there are attempts to restrict access here right now.
Take-out in Totnes on the now tidal Dart. One option with convenient steps and slipways is the car park beside the rowing club on river left, downstream of the town centre at SX 809597.
Another possibility is to start upstream at Buckfastleigh.
APPROX LENGTH: 7 km.
TIME NEEDED: An hour and a half.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: This should always be paddleable in the winter months.
GRADING: Grade 1 with two weirs.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Weirs.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: This is a pleasant section for touring but with little whitewater interest. There is a weir about 5 minutes below Staverton Bridge. In low water there is a fast chute through a broken section on river right but be careful, as all sorts of broken concrete and metal lurk hereabouts. Portage should be easy on either side.
The river is now mostly flat as it flows towards Totnes. When the river bends towards the left on entering Totnes, look out for the huge horizon line that is Totnes weir. You can get out on river right to inspect and/ or portage. In low water , the river can be shot anywhere, with the salmon steps offering an exciting alternative. In high water the stopper and wave are monstrous...see for yourself!
Below the weir the river is now tidal. A small rapid lurks under a bridge and then you are in the centre of town with the takeout carpark on river left.
OTHER NOTES: See the guide below this to the sea.
CONTRIBUTED BY: Mark Rainsley.