Devon Wildlife Trust's Dart Valley nature reserve
Dartmoor at its most rugged and wild
A very large and wild nature reserve. River, wooded valley and upland moor - this reserve has it all.
Devon doesn't get much wilder than at Dart Valley nature reserve.
Here the River Dart tumbles through a series of white water twists and turns, between steep-sided, oak covered valley sides. After heavy rain the power of the water can be fearsome.
Your work will be rewarded
Paths through the reserve are narrow and require clambering over moss-covered boulders and lichen-encrusted tree trunks. Walking the full length from end to end will take more than half a day, but the rewards are great.
Beautiful demoiselles and silver-washed fritillaries dance near the water's edge, while dippers search for food in amongst the rapids. Kingfishers are also often seen, while signs of otters can be found at regular intervals on the banks and boulders.
Night time sounds and sights
At dusk, to a backdrop of the calls of tawny owls, this is a great place to spot bats foraging. Both lesser- and greater-horseshoe bats rely on the woodland's edges as important feeding places.
Climbing out of the valley above the New Bridge entrance and you'll find another side to the reserve. Leaving the rush of the river behind and you'll walk through bracken and pony grazed patches of moorland. These are the places to see yellowhammers and butterflies including the rare high brown fritillary.
This nature reserve is owned by the Spitchwick Manor Estate and managed by Devon Wildlife Trust.
Dart Valley's wildlife is special. We ask that visitors keep disturbance to a minimum by not lighting fires/BBQs and keeping noise-levels down.