Meandering all the way from Dartmoor National Park right down to the estuary mouth at Dartmouth, the River Dart takes a long and winding journey past a plethora of beautiful places, towns and villages. Here in Dartmouth we all appreciate what the Dart brings to the town but what about its journey to our gorgeous area and how best can you enjoy the river whilst you’re visiting the region? We’re going to explore the River Dart from its source to its mouth, what’s along the way, how the river impacts its surrounding communities and how you can make the most of it during your trip.
The River Dart is approximately 75km in length and begins high on Dartmoor National Park from two different sources as well as numerous smaller tributaries. The start of the West Dart River is around 2km north of Rough Tor, Yelverton and the East Dart River source can be found just south east from Cranmere Pool, Okehampton. Both rivers pass popular Dartmoor spots along their routes; the West Dart most notably flows through Two Bridges and the East Dart passes through the village of Postbridge, which is known for it’s often photographed Clapper Bridge, as well as running past Bellever Forest. The East and West Dart rivers then join together at the aptly named Dartmeet which is the perfect place to try your hand a white water rafting or kayaking.
From Dartmeet, the river continues south west in direction, weaving through the moors eventually passing by Buckfast Abbey on the edge of Dartmoor which is a working monastery most well known for their well-liked beverage, Buckfast Tonic Wine. After its course past Buckfast Abbey, the charming countryside settlement of Buckfastleigh is the next main town that the Dart flows past.
The next stage of the rivers journey leads through glorious South Devon countryside alongside the village of Staverton and right through to Totnes. The quirky town of Totnes is full of independent shops, boutiques, delis and eateries and is the perfect place to enjoy a day trip if you’re staying in Dartmouth. Visitors can hop on a river boat cruise up the River Dart from Dartmouth to
Totnes or vice versa giving passengers the opportunity to really see what the Dart has to offer and of course experience the magical scenery and wildlife.
Past Totnes is where the river really begins to open up as it weaves through the South Devon AONB passing Sharpham Estate as well as other significant villages such as Stoke Gabriel and Dittisham. The Dart’s final stretch of its journey brings us to our stunning home, Dartmouth.
In Dartmouth the river can be enjoyed in a number of ways including sailing or kayaking. Watersports providers and boat hire companies in Dartmouth are there for you to make the most of your time on the Dart. But if you’re the type of person who’d rather keep both their feet on solid ground, you can still appreciate the beauty of this river by simply enjoying one of the pubs or cafés on the waterfront or walking along the river, either towards the coast or further inland.
We hope that you are able to maximise your stay in Dartmouth by taking some time to explore the fabulous River Dart, either by staying in the town or venturing further afield along the river.