Reconnecting with a special place: A hard won viewpoint of Dartmoor

  • Contributor information: CNP

As we invite you to share your story of National Parks as part of our Big Give appeal, one of our National Parks: New Perspectives bursary holders David Hill tells us more about his love of Dartmoor National Park… 

I’m a white water Kayaker. In June 2019 I moved to Bristol, from London, to be a little bit closer to my favourite rivers in the west country and South Wales. I haven’t been white water kayaking much in recent times. I went for only the second time in 2 years to the dart in Mid-march 2022, the experience was riveting and reminded me of how water bring life to the land and to individuals who seek solace in waters healing properties.

Dartmoor is most knows for its up lands and torrs. The moors are criss crossed by small streams and brooks many of which eventually pour into the major water course in the National Park. These elevated wets boggy hills are the source of name sake Rivers East Dart, West Dart and Dart.

The upper section the river Dart, which begins at Dartmeet is seldom seen is often overlooked, literally. Look South from the top of Sharp Torr and one barely knows the river is in the valley below.

After Dartmeet, the river enters a deep high sided valley before its seen again at Newbridge. For 5 miles the diver drops 150m in elevation and is lined by ancient temperate woodlands and flows granite bedrock. The river has shaped beautiful rock features in the flow and on the bank which are covered in the most fascinating moss and lichen.

This combination of geographical factors creates the one of finest and most challenging river sections for White Water Kayaking in England, and a wonderful natural habitat for Beautiful Demosille, Paid Flycatcher, Otter and my favourite bird; the Dipper.

The unique river level view of the ancient and breath-taking valley is hard won. I’ve only been there a handful of times as it takes many years of dedication and training to navigate the river safely and confidently and for me this is one of the most special places on these, I feel blessed to be able to visit this place.

Each time a go I see a little bit more, I only hope I visit this place more than twice over the next 2 years and add to the memory bank.