Stoke Gabriel to Greenway Canoe Trail
Greenway House, Greenway Road, Galmpton, nr Brixham, Devon TQ5 0ESRoute details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
The River Dart is a beautiful river that runs through Dartmoor and South Devon. This short trail takes in a wonderful section of the estuary between Stoke Gabriel and Greenway. It follows the river past farmland and woodland taking in the views of the Greenway estate from your canoe.
Before you set out make sure you have the right skills and equipment for this trip and that you have checked the tide times and weather conditions, click here for more information on paddling safely and responsibly.
Information correct as of February 2014.
- Bus stop
Start: Stoke Gabriel
Launch onto the river at Stoke Gabriel and paddle downstream towards Dartmouth keeping to the left or east side of the river. The vast majority of the estuary is flanked by woodland or farmland which gives way to small stony beaches on the foreshore.
Stoke Gabriel is a small village on the northern shore of the estuary whose primary existence is down to salmon fishing which is still done today using rowing boats with seine nets that are drifted out across the river. By the car park there is a tidal mill pool which was used to power the local mill but now creates a beautiful lake with a large variety of birds and wildlife.
Galmpton Creek and Flat Owers: The river opens out into a wide lagoon as you reach Broad Reach and on your left is Galmpton creek and boat yard which is partially hidden with an old quarry. If the tide is high you will be able to keep close to the shore and paddle along side the first section of National Trust land at Lower Greenway farm. At low tide Flats Owers mud flat dries out completely and it is very easy to get stuck even in a flat bottomed canoe. Stick to the main channel if you have any concerns at all.
As you round the headland from Galmpton creek the river narrows considerably and during the summer there are large numbers of moored boats in the river as well as passenger ferries both crossing the river and going from Dartmouth to Totnes. Take care and give way to ferries and other water craft.
The narrows at Greenway have been a crossing point on the Dart for thousands of years and the only reason there is no bridge at this point is due to the determination of local landowners during the late Victorian and Edwardian era who obstructed the building work. The quay provides an access to Greenway house via ferry and was the birth place of Sir Walter Raleigh’s half brother Humphrey Gilbert who went on to claim Newfoundland for England on the far side of the Atlantic. One of his boats was called the 'Hope of Greenway'.
You are now paddling along below Agatha Christie's holiday home, owned by the National Trust since 2001. You will see a gun battery on your left complete with canons built in Napoleonic times to deter French attacks up river.
The gardens are a fantastic wild woodland garden with a renowned Camellia collection and fernery. This garden has been built up by numerous owners of Greenway and as such has an eclectic mix of plants from all over the world. As Agatha Christie’s holiday home the garden was allowed to grow and hide the house from the river and surrounding area. This is still the case now and you will only be able to catch glimpses of the house through the trees.
Continuing downstream you will come to Greenway boathouse, quay and plunge pool. If you would like to stop and land here to visit the house and gardens please phone in advance to arrange on 01803 842382. Having enjoyed the landscape retrace your paddle strokes to Stoke Gabriel. You may wish to stop off at Dittisham for refreshments. Be aware of ferries and other watercraft in this area.
Greenway boathouse sits on the bank of the river and provides wonderful views both up and down the river. There is a small quay and built in plunge pool below the conservatory and balcony. It is very popular with our visitors and volunteers as somewhere to come and contemplate and watch the wildlife. These can include seals, herons and little egrets.
End: Stoke Gabriel
- Trail: Canoeing
- Grade: Moderate
- Water Type: Estuary
- Distance: 7 miles there and back
- Time: 3 hours depending on tides and currents
- OS Map: OS Explorer OL20
- Launch and Recovery:
Stoke Gabriel (not NT) - entry and exit point for canoes and kayaks. Free launching either from the pontoon or beach, this is difficult to access at low tide but water craft can be retrieved from the low tide point and carried back to the car park. Plan your trip with the tide so you are not caught high and dry on the mud at low water.
- How to get here:
Follow A385 towards Paignton for 4 Miles, at Collaton St Marys turn right onto Stoke road (by the Parkers Arms) after 2.5 miles the car park is in front of you by the mill pool and tearoom (not NT).
Follow A385 towards Totnes until you reach Collaton St Marys,turn right onto Stoke road (by the Parkers Arms) after 2.5 miles the car park is in front of you by the mill pool and tearoom (not NT).
Postcode: TQ9 6RD
At Stoke Gabriel (not NT):
- Parking (charges apply)
- Refreshments, tearoom, pubs
- Launch point
- Contact us