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30 The River Dart


30 Running Head


THE RIVER DART


It’s hard to visit Dartmouth and not fall in love with the River Dart. Visitors can walk among the ancient trees which line its banks, catch a glimpse of its gleaming waters through the window of a steam train or enjoy a cup of tea on board its historic paddle steamer. The beautiful stretch of waterway starts as a tiny trickle from sources high up on Dartmoor and finishes 52 miles later at Dartmouth Castle. Along the way it passes by Buckfast Abbey, carves through the medieval town of Totnes, meanders past Sharpham Vineyard and flows through picturesque Dittisham. The Dart’s narrow exit to the sea made it a safe port for merchants trading in wine and wool in the 12th century. The Dart is as active as ever with fishermen and naval cadets sharing the bustling estuary with floating restaurants and stand-up paddle boards and all types of sailing and power craft. Passenger and car ferries tootle back and forth between Dartmouth and Kingswear each day. The Higher Ferry is guided by wire ropes and the historic Lower Ferry is operated by small tugboats. The river’s exceptional depth of 25


metres, allows it to welcome large cruise ships, superyachts and naval vessels. Its steep valley sides were created during the Ice Age making it one of Britain’s few rias or ‘drowned rivers’.


Castle Paddle Steamer


Aboard the Kingswear


TOP 5 THINGS TO DO: On the Dart


• Take a nostalgic trip on the Kingswear Castle - the last remaining coal-fired paddle steamer in operation in the UK.


• Take the historic Lower Ferry across to Kingswear and return by the Higher Ferry.


• Take a guided kayak or SUP trip and discover caves and local wildlife up close.


• Hire a self drive boat from the Embankment and pootle up to the Ferry Boat Inn, Dittisham for lunch.


• Take the 9 mile river cruise along nearly all of the navigable part of the beautiful River Dart all the way up to the unique town of Totnes.


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