DARTMOUTH AND KINGSWEAR... FAR MORE THAN PICTURESQUE RIVERSIDE TOWNS
MEETING POINT: OUTSIDE THE STEAM RAILWAY STATION TQ6 0AA
Sea Safaris running April to November.
Inshore and Estuary Trips Running Year Round.
2 Hour, 4 Hour, 8 Hour, Photography Tuition and BIG 3 Trips.
Departure point for Guided "TWITCHERS" Walks.
Dartmouth is one of the most popular and picturesque tourist destinations in Devon, as it’s not only close to the sea, but it’s also situated on the River Dart. Its location on the river means it has historical importance and was the former home of the Royal Navy. It was also the sailing point for the Crusades in the 12th century.
Dartmouth, a beautiful historic town situated on the west bank of the stunning River Dart in an area of outstanding natural beauty. This ancient market town is steeped in history and is the perfect destination for all-year-round day visits, short breaks, and holidays. Now a popular tourist destination - with a tidal river running inland as far as Totnes and beyond. It lies in the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and South Hams District and has a small resident population of just 5,500 inhabitants. With numerous festivals and events taking place throughout the year, as well as a great range of attractions and activities both in Dartmouth and nearby, and a rich maritime heritage, there is always something happening in this vibrant harbour town.
Nowadays, Dartmouth has a busy town centre with many attractions for tourists, including its shops, restaurants and galleries. Within a short distance from the town, you can visit two fortified castles, Kingswear built between 1491 and 1502 as a coastal artillery tower for use with heavy cannon and Dartmouth the older of the castles having been built by John Hawley in 1388, the latter being open to the public. Also nearby are various beaches and areas of natural beauty, such as the coves along the coast and the expansive Dartmoor National Park.
Foodies will love visiting this town, providing the best that Devon has to offer, you’ll find everything from freshly caught sea food, to ice cream, fudge and of course amazing fresh produce from fruit to veg and locally grown meats.
Dartmouth is the ideal place for anyone looking for some fresh air and a holiday out in the open and a great spot for family holidays, there are plenty of local attractions in and around the town that are perfect for keeping children amused and of course, many of the trails and activities that take place around the town and the river are all suitable for all the family. It is part of the stunning South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty which is a must for anyone interested in exploring this beautiful countryside. You are also well placed to explore the South West Coast Path, which will take you around some gorgeous coastline.
Set on the opposite bank of the River Dart from the town of Dartmouth, Kingswear is a charming characterful village that has some of the most beautiful and picturesque views across the River Dart. Kingswear village is well worth a visit or a stay to take full advantage of the beautiful South Devon countryside. Whether you prefer travelling around by car, foot, bike or boat, you have plenty of choices. There are ferries that can take you to Torquay, Salcombe or Totnes and there is even the Paignton and Dartmouth Steam train that runs trips along to Kingswear for anyone wanting a nostalgic trip through the south Devon countryside., allowing you take the unique passenger ferry across to Dartmouth - or vice versa.
Outside of the hub of the village, there are two nearby National Trust properties, Greenway Estate and Coleton Fishacre. Greenway Estate lies upstream from Kingswear and is predominantly known as crime-writer Agatha Christie’s holiday home, whilst Coleton Fishacre is an Arts and Crafts style property with beautiful gardens to explore. Not far from Coleton Fishacre you’ll also find The Daymark. An 80 foot, octagonal stone tower built in 1864 as a navigational aid to Dartmouth Harbour. The Daymark can be found just above Froward Point and is a popular walking area with the WW2 Brownstone Battery nearby to.
There are such a lot of beautiful wildlife walks you can do from Dartmouth and Kingswear... Here are out top ones.
Kingswear, Dittisham, and Dartmouth Loop
Just a short 11 mile circular walk along both sides of one of the loveliest river estuaries in England, taking in Greenway, Agatha Christie's country home, and punctuated by a great lunch stop overlooking the river Dart, either as a picnic or a pub lunch at The Ferryboat Inn or Anchor Stone cafe in Dittisham. Or if the lunch gets out of hand, stop at the 5.3 mile point at the Ferry Boat Inn and catch the ferry back to Dartmouth
Dartmouth Castle and Church of St Petrox
Dartmouth Castle and Church of St Petrox is a 7.6 kilometer loop trail located near Dartmouth, Devon, England that features a river and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
Brownstone, Froward Point&Coast Path Circular
A delightful, yet in places steep and rugged, walk taking in Dartmouth "day mark", the Coastguard Lookout Point (including the disused WW2 gun batteries) and a fairly demanding stretch along the South West Coast Path before returning uphill across fields to the starting point.
A very picturesque walk around Waterhead Creek in Kingswear south Devon. Walk around the creek and through the woods above the creek. Look out for wildlife on the creek, boats on moorings and of course the stunning views across the creek to the River Dart. A short stroll which can be extended through Long Wood. This extended walk takes the total distance up to just 3 miles....well worth it! If you do keep your eyes peeled for both Goldcrests and Firecrests, both of which have decent numbers in the wood. Also a great walk for Kingfishers and even the occasional Common Seal or Otter.
The Marine Life here from Dartmouth and Kingswear is outstanding, as in Brixham and Weymouth, from May to the end of September large amounts of Common dolphins move from the warm waters of Bay of Biscay along the south coast of the U.K and into Lyme bay and Torbay. Some of these pod are truly massive with sightings of over 200 animals at a time and it being nothing to encounter several hundred animals in a day. These animals are frequently found between Start Point and Berry Head, as well as regularly been observed feeding off of the back of the Skerries Bank. This area also holds several resident pods of common dolphins that if we are lucky, can be found 12 month of the year. Lyme bay also holds a resident population of around 150 White Beaked dolphins, this is about the furthest south they are recorded and make them quite a rarity and unique along the south coast, we usually find some of these pods several times a year and run special days trips looking for them further offshore. These large and playful animals truly are one of my favourites.
Risso and Bottlenose dolphins are regularly encountered, and although these are normally in offshore encounters, as in the case of the Minke Whale that we snapped less than 100 yards from Berry Head early 2021, both have been found within a few hundred yards from the shore in the Torbay area.
Dartmouth's Grey Seal population is always a highlight of our trips, the low-lying rocks at the Mew Stone (the rocks that mark the entrance to a river) provide the perfect haul out spot for these gorgeous animals, its nothing to be able to observe upwards of 20 individuals at the lowest of the tide, pups are frequently seen towards the Autumn, bring your binoculars and a half decent 70-200 lens on your camera and your sure to get some fantastic shots. If we are lucky we might even find a couple of the much smaller Common seals that have turned up in the last few years, the River Dart now holds the south wests largest ( Now Breeding) group. Its great to be able to see the 2 species side by side so you can truly appreciate the differences.
Some of our other Large animals seen are, Minke Whales, Basking and Thresher Sharks, GIANT Bluefin Tuna, Sunfish, Harbour Porpoise and as in this year (2021) a Leatherback Turtle. Humpback, Fin and Pilot Whales have also been recorded numerous times in recent years.
Our Dartmouth trips also see's masses of birds life. There's a host of breeding and nesting Pelagic and Wading birds. Berry Head holds a staggering breeding population of around 1400 guillemots, hazardous shelves and crags attract the largest breeding colony (also known as a 'loonery'!) of guillemots on Britain's south coast, earning the site its status as a National Nature Reserve. Their choice to breed here is so special, that the surrounding waters are protected by a Parliamentary Act. Fulmars, Shags, Cormorants and for the first time in several years Kittiwakes have all used the site for nesting and rearing chicks.
Peregrine Falcons and Kestrels frequent the area both for nesting and hunting, the fledged chicks can often be heard during the summer months calling to there parents. We have our resident Raven pair and we often stop to look at the size of there ever growing nest. Out to sea, Gannets, shearwaters (including Manx, Beleric, and Sooty) and Storm Petrels also regular seen as well as many Skewers towards the end of summer and autumn.
Up the river on the mud flats we search for and observe many of the Waders the river holds; Jack snipe, Purple sandpiper, Red-necked phalarope, Snipe, Woodcock, Whimbrel, Curlew, Bar-tailed godwit, Black-tailed godwit, Greenshank, Redshank, Common sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Dunlin, Sanderling, Turnstone, Lapwing, Ringed plover, Oystercatcher, Coot, Moorhen, Kingfishers, Little Egrets, Shelducks and Grey herons are seen frequently as well as the occasional migrating Osprey. Also keep your eyes peeled for Kingfishers, Goldcrests and Firecrests.
Check out the photo gallery below on just some of the animals we hope to find...