By August 21, 2020 August 17th, 2022 No Comments

Devon is the perfect scenic spot to explore endless rolling countryside and charming villages via the water, on a kayak. This River Dart kayaking trip is perfect for beginners looking to embark on their first kayaking adventure in a peaceful, picturesque setting. This route takes you from Stoke Gabriel to Dittisham, two scenic villages that are worth a walk around to appreciate the sleepy laid back pace of life along the river.

River Dart kayaking guide


Start & Launch, (own equipment) Stoke Hill, Stoke Gabriel TQ9 6RD

Start & Launch, (hire) Totnes Kayaks, Stoke Hill, Stoke Gabriel TQ9 6RD

Route, Stoke Gabriel, Dittisham (roughly 5/6 miles round trip) 

Return, come back the way you came

Safety, check out the weather and tide times

Wear the relevant safety equipment (recommendations on this page) 

Pub stop, The Ferry Boat Inn, Manor Street, Dartmouth, TQ6 0EX


The starting point for this route is the same if you are hiring or using your own equipment, situated in Stoke Gabriel: Stoke Hill, Stoke Gabriel TQ9 6RD. Home to Totnes Kayaks, where you will be able to hire a kayak, also useful if you have your own kayak as they will also be able to answer any questions you may have before setting off. Totnes Kayaks offer a range of kayaks, paddleboards and canoes, they will provide you with all the kit you need, and are also on hand to help you build your itinerary for the day, you can’t beat local knowledge! Stoke Gabriel is the perfect starting point to kayak the River Dart, you’ll be able to park close to the water, this makes it easy to launch your kayak down the decked area and into the river. 


Stoke Gabriel is a quaint little village and parish situated on the River Dart, it’s a popular little tourist spot, although dosen’t feel overcrowded like some other well-known hot spots can. You can find two pubs in the village, The Church House Inn and The Castle Inn, perfect if you’re after somewhere to re-fuel pre or post kayak.

River Dart kayaking guide

The beauty of this route is its simplicity, taking little to no navigation skills when you are out on the River. Simply drop your kayak into the water at the launch spot in Stoke Gabriel, and embark on your adventure down the river. Pack a picnic for when you arrive at Dittisham, or why not check out the local pub. The Ferry Boat Inn is a traditional community pub with a family friendly bar and stunning views. (It’s bright pink and impossible to miss.) ⁣When you arrive at Dittisham be careful of the muddy river banks, make sure you navigate your kayak to a suitable dry area of land to avoid getting unnecessarily muddy. 


Dittisham is situated on the west bank of the River Dart, and is said to be one of the most attractive villages you’ll come across in South Devon. You’ll know you’ve reached the village, as you’ll be met with pretty pastel coloured quayside buildings, It’s a great location for a relaxing break, with unbroken views of the scenic River Dart.


Check the tide times before heading out, the estuary of the River Dart is tidal up to Totnes. As a gage, the least safe tide state for beginner kayakers to paddle in is mid-tide. During high/low tide the water current will be weaker. During mid-tide the water will be moving quicker, this is great if you are going with the current, not so good if you are fighting against it! Check the weather forecast for the whole day before setting off, and make sure you wear a buoyancy aid at all times. It’s also worth taking a phone with you, handy in the unlikely event you need to contact someone for help.

River Dart kayaking guide
River Dart kayaking guide


Check out the below kit to ensure you have everything you need for a safe and exciting adventure on your River Dart kayaking trip. Please note that this blog contains affiliate links. If you buy something through these links, Destination Downtime earns a small commission (at no extra cost to you). Thanks in advance for your support. 

Buoyancy Aid

New lifejackets sold in the UK, Ireland and Europe are required to meet the international Standards Organisation standard ISO12402. For kayaking you need a buoyancy aid at level 50. Make sure the lifejacket is a good fit, comfortable and non-restricting.

Helly Hanson Buoyancy Aid

Waterproof Phone Case

A cheap purchase that brings hours of piece of mind! The exact model I use is no longer available however, this is extremely similar. I would recommend testing your case out before you hit the water by popping something inside and submerging it in water.

Waterproof Phone Case

Waterproof Dry Bag

To ensure your personal belongings are kept dry on your kayak consider investing in a good quality waterproof bag. This bag features 2 adjustable shoulder straps and buckles to make it easy to carry. To free your hands you can use it as a large volume backpack, it also comes in plenty of cool colours to choose from.

Dry Bag

Water Shoes

It’s a great idea to purchase a pair of water shoes to ensure you don’t ruin your trainers form submerging them in water. These water shoes are quick drying, lightweight, and fit snuggly on your feet.

Water Shoes

Have you been on a River Dart kayaking trip? Post your route in the comments below.

Share your adventures on social media using the hashtag #destinationdowntime.