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Holne Bridge, River Dart

Thousands of canoeists descend the Dart each year, It's arguably one of the best white water rivers in England. Many clubs in the southern half of the country base their winter programme around visits.

Expand Overview


In 1991 British Canoeing and local paddlers purchased the land on the Dart to ensure a legal right of access to and from the river. The strip of woodland now provides a convenient access and egress point. 

Maintenance is managed by the volunteers of British Canoeing South West Regional Development Team. Donations towards the upkeep are sought annually from clubs and individuals to pay for essential work.

Expand Location


Located on river left below Holne Bridge, it extends from the first bend in the road to the meadow. It includes all land between the river and the road. Access is available by parking in the wider part of the road, closest to the river. Volunteers periodically cut back the hedge and clear mud so cars can be parked closer in. A short carry past the field gate finds a footpath access to the wood. A fixed sign shows the downstream limit of access and egress. Use of the meadow further down has caused aggravation with a supportive land owner and paddlers are urged to avoid this.

Click here for the location on Google Maps.

Expand Usage


Pedestrian access is freely available at all times. The limited parking is the main problem, with care required to avoid traffic hazards. The 'layby' is not an official one and great care is needed when getting changed, loading boats etc.

The weir on the lower part of the site is owned and maintained by River Dart Country Park on the opposite bank. Machinery access has been granted to them to maintain or modify the weir, via a locked gate which has a combination lock. (Code available from RWA, SW). This weir can be run in low water conditions but has a powerful keeper in medium to high flows and should be treated with caution. Portage is easily available on river left.  There are plans (2017) to install a Larinier fish pass which is 'canoe friendly'.

Note this facility is not locked and is extensively used by wild swimmers in the summer, at their own risk.

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Maintenance of the land is done purely through money raised from donations. Essential work in the last year has included:

· a complete survey of trees and removal or trimming of dangerous branches

· removal of a huge Oak which fell and blocked the river

· new pedestrian access, paths and signage

· cutting back the hedge and clearing winter mud where people park

Responsibility for this land rests with the South West Regional Development Team, made up of volunteers.  In the last few years we have spent nearly £4,000 on essential maintenance, which has cleaned out our funds.  We are currently unable to give grants for training.

The South West Region seek contributions from clubs and individuals to help us keep the site safe and attractive.  

To contribute, scan or click the QR code.