One Magazine’s Esther Baker discovers the magic of the lakes and waterfalls in the Teign Valley

As a family with a dog, we are always on the lookout for places to visit that are canine friendly. So when we heard about Canonteign Falls, it sounded like the perfect solution for all of us. So one sunny Saturday, my husband and I, our two boys, my parents and of course the family dog, headed off to explore.

Canonteign Falls is a dramatic combination of waterfalls and lakes located in the beautiful Teign Valley in Dartmoor, set in 90 acres of ancient woodlands and wetlands. Being easy to locate, situated just off the A38, meant that no time was wasted taking wrong turns nor was the journey filled with ‘are we there yet?!’

Our first impressions were excellent, as we drove up a tree lined driveway and parked in a lovely wooded area. Upon entering, we were offered the chance to do a Children’s Trail (an additional £1.99 fee), which consisted of a lovely quality map and 20 questions that children have to find the answers to along the walks. I would really recommend this, as it gave our boys (aged 8 and 11) something to look for on the way around and was a lovely memento to take away.

The main attraction is of course the waterfalls. The waterfalls are the highest manmade waterfalls in England, measuring some 70m. The climb to the top of the Lady Exmouth falls is not for the faint hearted and is quite strenuous. It consists in part of 90 Victorian steps and much of the ground is uneven with exposed tree roots and can be slippery. But there was plenty to see on the way and there was no hurry to get to the top. There were many informative signs about the nature in the area, the falls themselves, the history (and answers to the kids quiz!) and lots of benches to stop and catch your breath. The effort is more than worth it, for looking out at the top from Buzzard’s View was breathtaking. Although this walk wouldn’t be suitable for prams, I did note that they hired out baby carriers for £2, should you wish to do it with very young children.

Apart from the falls, there are three distinct walks to cater for everyone, whatever their age or ability. There are also seven lakes to discover, complete with black swans, ducks and their ducklings, which continued to delight and amuse us all day, as well as a Poet’s Corner; designed as a peaceful area with a round sitting bench and 12 poems around an ancient oak tree for young and old alike. And if the children haven’t expended all of their energy walking, there are two large play areas for them too, consisting of a zip wire, trampolines, a mini assault course and even a wooden galleon.

There were plenty of picnic tables and benches available to sit and rest or have your packed lunch, or the on-site Home Farm Café provides well-earned delicious breakfasts, lunches, coffees, cakes, ice creams and cream teas.

We had a fabulous day – it was the perfect location for a tranquil day out for all the family, even with such an age range with us, everybody left feeling happy with their day out. Including Max the dog who slept all evening!

For more information on Canonteign Falls, visit the website:

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