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Dart Valley

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

Beautiful Demoiselle Damselfly by Neil Bygrave at Dart Valley nature reserve


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.  



Devon Wildlife Trust's Dart Valley nature reserve has been supported by Viridor Credits Environmental Company.


Dart Valley nature reserve is one of our wilder and more remote sites. Paths into its interior are not maintained and contain challenging sections with steep climbs and unguarded drops. Care needs to be taken at all times of year.


The River Dart is fast-flowing as it passes through the nature reserve and it contains obstructions including boulders and tree trunks. Caution needs to be exercised in and around the river.


Species and habitats

Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Wood Warbler

Nearby nature reserves

2 miles - Devon Wildlife Trust
Higher Kiln Quarry
3 miles - Devon Wildlife Trust
Emsworthy mire
4 miles - Devon Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

Eastern entrance from New Bridge Dartmoor National Park car park
Between Ashburton and Princetown
PL20 6SG
Map reference
SX 712 708
Great for...
getting away from it all
Best time to visit
Jan - Dec
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Opening Times
Open at all times
290.00 hectares
Initially a track followed by rough paths which involve clambering in places. Allow a whole day to walk the full length of the reserve and back. Short walks are also possible.
Walking information
Allow a whole day to walk the full length of the reserves and back. Short walks are possible.
Car parks at Newbridge (eastern) entrance and also at Dartmeet (western entrance) close to the Badgers Holt pub, Poundsgate.
Dogs under effective control
Grazing animals
Reserve manager
Devon Wildlife Trust
Tel: 01392 279244