Middle Dart - The Loop trip details

Canoe Kayak test teamer Steve lines up on triple falls

A classic stretch of fun whitewater
Region: South West
Discipline: Whitewater
Difficulty: Intermediate
Grade: 3
Length: 7 km
Average Time: 2 hrs
Start: Put-in at New Bridge where there is a large car-park. Please don't use the section of the car-park reserved for non-paddlers. Carry your boat down the steps and put in from the ledge
Finish: Take out at the River Dart Country Park

The Dart Loop as it's more commonly known is one of the most popular runs in the UK. From the get on at New Bridge, it's not far to a set of small play-wave which gets better at higher levels. This gives paddlers a chance to warm up, surf around and thrw a few moves. When the water is high though this becomes a big, foaming, awesome wave-hole.

The river now imbles round to the right and drops over a small ledge producing a small stopper across most of the river. Below this is a long Grade 2 wave-train leading to a left bend in the river. The river mostly flows right of an island, but keep an eye for over-hanging trees here.

 The river now flows down to a small rapid before a right  hand bend. This is an ideal spot on for learning how to do tail squirts. From this bend, an easy series of rapids leads you down past another island and past a footbridge you'll see the River Webburn coming in on river left. This confluence is also brilliant for pulling tailies and other eddy line moves and is a favourite with squirt boaters. There's still plenty of action to come below with more trickier rapids waiting for you downtstream. Round the corner you'll come to an island with most of the water flowing to the right of the island and formimg the Grade 3 Washing Machine rapid. This rapid is formed by a ledge which forms a small hole. The  stopper  can be easily avoided by staying on the green tounge just to the right of the island, or you can boof of the ledge. In higher levels the hole gets big, but the line is the same. If you're feeling sporty you can even take a ride in it
Trundeling on downstream, you'll come across a series of steep Grade 2 rapids. The river continues flowing fairly straight until you reach a bends right. The river steepens into a very long rapid, this is the signpost for Lover's Leap. This name describes the cliff at the end of the rapid which the inexperienced will find difficult to avoid as the water flows into it. There are many stoppers and rocks to negotiate in the rapid above this point.

Next up are several wide and rocky rapids. The river flows left of a long island, keep a look out for the horizon line which marks the approach of Triple Falls a fun Grade 3. The three small rapids are easily scouted. The first is a small drop, which washes through. The second drop of the triple falls is a simple chute through a wave into a  calm pool, easy to collect any gear if you need too. The final fall is a trickier rapid with some small waves and stoppers to navigate around. This section becomes a sporty  wave-train in flood.

After the thrill of Triple Falls, flat water gives you a chance to wind down. Up next for on the whitewater fron is the Spin Dryer which is marked by a a left hand bend. A fun read and run section with a fun surf wave to play on.  And finally a steep wave-train gives fairly simple paddling through the last rapid before arriving  at the get out at Holne Bridge.


Accommodation: There's plenty of accommodation nearby. The Dart Country Park has a bunkhouse and campsite. And in Ashburton and Buckfastleigh you'll find plenty of B and B's and hostels.

Food and Drinks: There's mixture of good pubs in the area and a good pizza place in Ashburton.

Canoe Shops: AS Watersports.

Guidebooks: English Whitewater published by Pesda Press.

Useful Websites:

Kayaking and canoeing are assumed risk sports and you should take every effort to become aware of any dangers involved. These guides are not intended as instruction manuals they are just as the name suggests... guides. They can give you access and egress information and give you a flavour of the water you'll encounter, but water is an ever-changing environment. Rivers change with varying water levels, trees get stuck, and banks can collapse. Never assume a river is safe just because you read it in a guide. You must use your own judgement and experiences to make the decision whether to paddle, or not. And as rivers change so to at sea can the weather conditions and tides change. All information has been checked to the best of our ability, is given in good faith, and we hope will be helpful, but all information should be checked locally and you and you alone are responsible for your decisions to undertake any of the paddling trips contained within it. The authors and publisher can accept no responsibility for any inconvenience, injury or loss sustained by any persons as a result of information given in this guide.

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1 comments so far...

22 Jan 2014 10:58
Hi, I would be grateful if you could add Sparrowhawk Backpackers (www.sparrowhawkbackpackers.co.uk) to the list of accommodation available and welcoming to kayakers and kayak clubs visiting Dartmoor National Park's rapid runs, ie. The Dart Loop, Middle Dart, The Teign, Tavy, West/East Okement etc. The well established hostel has bunkbed accommodation in a converted barn and self catering facilities. Kayaks and canoes can be brought into the courtyard for security and has proved popular with Kayak Clubs. Sparrowhawk is conveniently placed in Moretonhampstead, The Dart, half hour drive and The Teign, 20mins. Many Thanks. Ali.
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