Family Day Out and Walk on Dartmoor at Canonteign Falls

Dartmoor has a lot to offer for all ages, even if you are not very adventurous. For many people the region conjures up images of hikes across desolate moorland or a scramble to the top of  a tor. However there is a softer side to Dartmoor, especially around the outskirts.  If you are looking for a family day out and walk on Dartmoor,  one such place that easy to explore and a real hidden gem is Canonteign Falls.

[AD] We were invited to explore Canonteign this summer and it was a lovely day out.

England’s highest man made waterfall

Set on the eastern edge of the moor, Canonteign boosts England’s highest man made waterfall,  set in a glorious private woodland.

The lower level of this attraction near the entrance and cafe is set around a series of pretty lakes and a wetlands trail.  There are easy, level walks around these and the chance to spot birds, butterflies and even otters. Sadly we ran out of time to visit all of this part of the park, but it would be perfect if you take a picnic and have more time to relax.

 

Another walk takes you though the woods on an accessible track, past babbling brooks with the sound of the waterfall in the background. Meanwhile keep children engaged by searching for delicate fairies hiding in the trees.

Canonteign Falls Lake view

Lady Exmouth Falls

If you are relatively fit then you will be able to enjoy the short but more challenging hike through the woods. Meander past the exotic giant ferns and enjoy views of the Lady Exmouth Falls that cascade 70 metres down through the valley.

The waterfall is technically man-made as it was diverted to the new height. Ferns were imported and planted to make this an even more impressive feature –  the Victorians seemed to enjoy improving on nature!

Family Day Out and walk on Dartmoor Canonteign Falls Woodland Walk

There are rough stone steps dug out of the valley up to the viewing platform and wayward tree roots. This upper level walk is not suitable for pushchairs. 

The route was pretty steep in places and not to be undertaken lightly,  but you can take your time and it’s not that far.  If it has been rainy the path could become slippery (especially on the way down) so trainers or boots would be definitely recommended.

Once at the top catch your breath and enjoy the look out across the Devon countryside.

Current restrictions meant that the route was a one way system. Only one family at a time was allowed on the viewing platform. We were lucky and only had to wait a short time to take our turn,  but on a busy day I have heard this can be a while.

Family Day Out and Walk on Dartmoor at Canonteign Falls Victorian Steps
Family Day Out and Walk on Dartmoor Canonteign Falls Victorian Steps

Adventure Playground

 

The children were delighted to come across a fantastic adventure playground with a zip wire and mini assault course. There is also a second play area ideal for younger children with a pirate ship.

As well as the defined paths there is plenty of space for children to play or to sit and relax on a picnic blanket in the grounds.

 

A Cream Tea at the Cafe

Finally we enjoyed a well earned rest and a cuppa at the cafe. This season the usually busy cafe had a more limited menu,  but there were cakes, sandwiches and drinks on offer. We were treated to a tasty complimentary cream tea. The scones, usually made on the premises, were supplied by the local Teign Valley Bakery.

 

I was also delighted to see that Canonteign has adopted one of the rhinoceros from the Great Big Rhino trail set up a few years ago and a has one of the gorgeous painted otters from the Moor Otter trail.

 

We spent a happy afternoon at Canonteign Falls and I can recommend it for anyone looking for a new place to explore.

Devon Cream Tea at Canonteign

For a view around Canonteign take a look at this short video. 

Useful Information – Booking and Entry

Booking is not required. Due to Covid 19 there were a number of one way systems in place around the park. The site was card only payments. Hand sanitizer was in place around the facilities and the cafe menu was restricted.

The site is dog friendly (dogs on leads everywhere).

Check their website here for all opening details and entry prices.

Canonteign Falls is about a 10 minute drive from Chudleigh off the A38 (the Devon Expressway).

 

Disclosure: we were gifted tickets for entry to the attraction and a cream tea. All pictures, video and opinions are my own and it was a genuinely lovely place to explore.
Canonteign Lady Exmouth Falls

 

More to Explore on Dartmoor

Dartmoor is a place that I have visited many time over the years but ironically less so since I started this blog.

We had a great mini trip a few years ago following part of the Moor Otter Trail. A series of painted otters placed around Dartmoor that we followed (returning in 2021).   That led to a post for ideas on Days out on Dartmoor – (link here with updated information) including the House of  Marbles,  Parke National Trust and Hay Tor.

Recently I published a post on the Standing Stones at Merrivale, a fascinating short walk near Princetown.

Days out On Dartmoor

There are lots of fabulous walks to enjoy, tors to climb and rivers to splash in on Dartmoor.

You can also visit Castle Drogo (National Trust) which has recently undergone a huge restoration. Find your inner monk at Buckfast Abbey, groom Miniature Ponies, see exotic butterflies or visit the Zoo. Take a train ride on South Devon Railways or hire bikes from Tamar trails.  I’ve no excuse not to get out and see more.

Have you got a favourite day out on Dartmoor?