Know before you go
Allow a whole day to walk the full length of the reserves and back. Short walks are possible.
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.
When to visit
Opening timesOpen at all times
Best time to visitAll year round
About the reserve
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.
How to get to Dart Valley
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
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.
You can combine a visit to Dart Valley with an exploration of our nearby Blackadon nature reserve.
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.
Safety at the Dart Valley
Dart Valley nature reserve is one of our wilder and more remote sites. Paths into its interior are unmarked 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.
Dart Valley nature reserve leaflet
We've got four other wonderful Dartmoor nature reserves for you to explore.
Become a member and support our work
The vital work we do for nature depends on the support of people who care about the future of Devon’s wildlife and wild places.