One of the most popular white water paddles in England, the River Dart in Devon is a great paddle for those looking for some white water for all levels of experience and skill.
The three white water sections of the River Dart
The river is split into three main sections when it comes to white water paddling. The first is the upper Dart and is considered grade 3-4+ depending on water levels, and so generally considered an advanced run.
Second is the loop section. This runs from Newbridge to Holne Bridge is graded 2-3. It is more suitable for intermediate and beginner paddlers with the right skill set and group.
Finally, the lower section is grade 2, which is suitable for beginners looking to practice their first white water skills.
Holne Bridge on the Dart – part of the ‘Loop’ section – is British Canoeing owned places to paddle. The strip of woodland where the land is provides a convenient access and egress point.
The Dart is also a great place for flat water touring, especially in the lower reaches. Banks of ancient woodland cover the lower stretches and the river becomes tidal at Totnes before emptying into the English Channel at Dartmouth.
Paddlers on the Dart must take care as it is popular with anglers. In drier weather and low water, the upper sections should be avoided so as to avoid any damage to the environment.
There are many sensitive spawning grounds for fish that must not be disturbed, so paddle responsibly when conditions are appropriate.