Paddle Boarding on Dartmoor is either a once in a lifetime thing you try once and can tick it off your bucket list, or it becomes an obsession. For us at The Adventure Diary it has become an obsession after Sea Lion Boards let us test out one of their boards on some of the rivers and the reservoirs.
Rules and regulations of Paddle Boarding on Dartmoor:
Before we set off to Dartmoor we made sure we researched the rules and regulations around where we could, or in some cases, couldn’t go paddle boarding. It was difficult to find any useful information on this. So we delved into this subject further so we can share the necessary information with you.
There are places you can and places you can’t Paddle Board on Dartmoor. This is both for the preservation of the moors itself and for your safety. It is imperative that you follow the guidelines of the place you are considering paddle boarding, you will often find this on the signs at the entrance to the location. Paddle boarding may have become more popular recently, however most signage doesn’t mention anything about paddle boarding specifically so you have to be careful!
Where to go Paddle Boarding on Dartmoor:
We spent the day exploring the moors and finding the perfect spots to paddle board, these are just a handful of places you can check out. A great resource to use is wild swimming spots to help you, as paddle boarding on Dartmoor is fairly new!
A beautiful location with easy access, being right next to the road, which means you can easily get your board in. The pool itself is directly by the bridge and you are able to paddle underneath it, there are some shallower sections and a shingle island in the middle. Due to its location it can get busy and the parking area is very small. Be prepared for this if you are heading there during peak tourist time!
If you are feeling a little more adventurous on the day, you will see some rapids a few meters up from the bridge. Depending on the condition of the river and your experience these are worth a go. Make sure you wear a helmet and life jacket just in case.
Spitchwick is a very popular location for water sports, picnics and general exploring! It can get very, very busy here during peak times and we do recommend heading down earlier in the day to get your spot or to adventure before the crowd gathers. We visited ourselves early on a sunny Autumn day, we had the place to ourselves for a good few hours before anyone turned up!
To get your board to Spitchwick be prepared to hike for around 10 minutes (1/4 mile) from the closest carpark. We took our wetsuits, bbq, food and Sea Lion Board between the two of us. It is one of the shorter hikes to river and one we definitely recommend. When you arrive there’s a beautiful field situated on the rivers edge, you can spend the day sunbathing, swimming and most importantly paddle boarding! If you want an adrenaline fix, there are rope swings into the water and a jumping spot.
As Venford Resorvoir is off-limits this is the closest part of the river you can get to, which is also a beautiful spot to spend your day! It is a bit more difficult to get to and is about a 40 minute hike. When you do get there, you will understand why we recommend it. An 100 meter crystal clear pool in the River Dart, which always glistens in the sunshine.
The perfect place to spend a day with family and friends. Whilst adding that adrenaline factor in by wild swimming, paddle boarding and of course BBQing. Just remember to take all of your litter with you!
Drogo’s Weir/salmon leaps:
This paddle boarding spot is located on the River Teign, where the river cascades into 3 vintage victorian pools. Originally one pool which was built in the 1920’s, which had the salmon leaps added at a later date to enable the fish to get upstream.
Accessible from Castle Drogo there are a few different routes down to the river. The walk down is beautiful and you can understand why someone would build a castle in this particular location. The pool is 75 meters of clear water, shaded by the trees and perfect for paddle boarding.
With close access to the road Holne bridge is a great spot for a quick paddle board. Situated on the edge of Dartmoor to it is easily accessible from the A38. The deep water also makes it popular with adrenaline junkies who like to jump off the bridge. If you are planning on jumping make sure you check the water levels before you go!
A few hundred meters downstream from Holne Bridge is the weir. Which if you can access by travelling down the river if you are feeling confident. Despite it being so close to the bridge it is often an oversight of people passing by. SO it is a great spot for a paddle boarding adventure.
Even during Dartmoor’s busier seasons Haytor Quarry is usually one of the quieter spots. Due to its big brother Haytor Rocks taking the lime-light. That being said it means it is a spot to behold for the locals and adventurers. We always strive for a place to ourselves and with Haytor Quarry you have a chance for this!
The pool their is idyllic, surrounded by high rocks covered in flowers which will treat you to some beautiful colours, depending on the time of year you visit. Also, if you are new to paddle boarding on Dartmoor then it can be a great place to dip your toe in, as unlike the rivers you are not effected by the current.
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Why we fell in love with our Sea Lion Paddle Board:
- The Design: The beautiful wood pattern and colours of the board stand out. Leaving everyone in awe of you. We had a lot of attention whilst we where paddle boarding.
- Sustainability: The company values itself on using sustainable materials, and every process focuses on this. Which for us is biggie!
- Quality: The Boards are built to a high standard and come with a 3 year warranty. Most other paddle boards only come with a 2 year guarantee. So if you are looking for longevity from your money you should definitely consider Sea Lion Boards.
- Contribution: Sea Lion Paddle Boards contribute 5% of each sale to Sea Lion Conservation, that’s pretty cute! We love nature and love it when a company shares our vision.
- The extras: It comes with a wet bag, waterproof phone case, SUP paddle, pump and carry case! Everything you need all in one.
- The ease: A simple blow up design which when deflated rolls up into a bag which can fit easily into any car and is easy to carry to these hard to get to spots!
Where to NOT go Paddle Boarding on Dartmoor:
Dartmoor can be difficult for the first-timer if you don’t know the places to go. It’s important to know where not to go too, as you can get in trouble with the rangers or the locals, the locals are the worst people to annoy! So here’s what we found:
Venford reservoir really is a beautiful spot. The water is still and reflects he surroundings perfectly, on a sunny day you can easily forget that you’re in England. We made a mistake on the day and did go paddle boarding within the reservoir, which you can see made for some beautiful shots! Despite this, you’re not meant to paddle board here. Although, if you are discrete and go early or late in the day you may get away with it! The sign only has a picture of no boats… not paddle boards.
To get to the dam there is a short walk of around 30-45 minutes. The path itself is tarmac and a pleasant flat walk. However when you get to the dam you will have to hike up the side through a muddy path in order to get to the flat water. It is important for you to know that Avon Dam has a steep fall with no protection, so this is why we are recommending you don’t paddle board on this particular part of Dartmoor.
Dartmoor Danger Areas:
If you are not local to the moors you may be unaware that there are areas where live firing still occurs as the military still use the moors for training. These are marked by red flags during the day and red lights at night. For more information and firing times see the GOV website.
Kennick, Tottiford and Trenchford Reservoir- Heaviliy Fished/no Swimming
Located in close proximity these three reservoirs are heavily fished in and it is against the rules to paddle board here. Which is the same across the majority of reservoirs on Dartmoor.
Again as stated above it is against the rules of many reservoirs to paddle board or swim in them. Burrator is no exception to that rule, which is a shame!
Keeping yourself safe on Dartmoor:
Dartmoor is considered a dangerous place, even when you are not paddle boarding. Here are our top tips to keep yourself safe whilst Paddle Boarding on Dartmoor.
The weather conditions here can turn instantly and you need to be prepared for this. Ensuring you pack the correct items for both paddle boarding and for keeping yourself warm, watered and fed! If you plan to go down the rapids on your board then we recommend you also wear a helmet and a life jacket. Also, when going for a long walk on the moors to find your paddle boarding spot then make sure you check your route out.
It’s important to check both the weather and for flooding before you go. Despite this the weather can change quickly and you need to be both prepared and adaptable to this. Ensuring you know what to do in different situations and knowing when you need to head back to safety.
Looking for some beaches to go Paddle Boarding?
Check out our best South Devon Beaches.
This is a sponsored post from Sea Lion Paddle Boards.