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.
Start & Launch, (hire) Totnes Kayaks, Stoke Hill, Stoke Gabriel TQ9 6RD
Return, come back the way you came
Wear the relevant safety equipment (recommendations on this page)
STOKE GABRIEL – START & LAUNCH
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.
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.
RECOMMENDED KAYAKING KIT
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Have you been on a River Dart kayaking trip? Post your route in the comments below.
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