Canonteign Falls - Dartmoor with kids
Stunning waterfall, walks, playgrounds and café in Dartmoor National Park, South Devon
Book tickets in advance – timed entry slots* (at time of writing – Aug 2021)
Card payments only – no cash
Main waterfall walk not buggy or toddler friendly
Dogs welcome on leads
Two adventure playgrounds, trampolines
Café and snack bar
Open Daily March - November
If you’re looking for a family day out in Dartmoor National Park, check out Canonteign Falls in the Teign Valley – it has something for everyone, with acres of beautiful woodland, miles of well-marked walks and just the right amount of adventure playgrounds and trails along the way to motivate even a reluctant young walker!*
(*Although, I should say here that the circular walk to the top of the waterfall and back again is not buggy or toddler friendly – lots of steps and uneven, rocky pathways wind up and down the face of the hill so walkers will need to be confident on their feet. Baby carriers are available to hire from the entrance for £3.)
At the centre of this beautiful estate is the South West’s highest waterfall, which tumbles down through picturesque surroundings and one of the UK’s last remaining Victorian fern gardens. (The girls said the fern garden felt very ‘Jurassic Park’.)
Grab a trail sheet (small extra charge) and a map from the entrance kiosk and challenge the kids to get to the top of the Falls – the circular Falls walk took us about 45 minutes from start to finish with a 5 & 8 year old. There are clues to be found to answer questions on the trail sheet, as well as the odd dinosaur, fairies, snakes and bugs to spot in amongst the trees and ferns!
Signage marks the way around and the route is quite intuitive, though it’s steep and rocky in places so do take care. The website and on-site signage advises proper walking footwear is worn all year round. We got around fine in trainers but on a wet day / after rain it would be slippery!
Back at the lakeside café, you can refuel with a range of drinks and snacks (ice creams, kids lunch boxes, sandwiches, cakes etc) with lots of indoor and outdoor seating to choose from. Please note the whole site is cashless and takes card payments only.
The kids enjoyed the adventurous walk but for them, the jewel in the crown was the playgrounds! You'll find two cleverly placed playgrounds at the start and the end of the walk - the ideal reward for young walkers - with a wooden galleon play structure, trampolines, swings and an obstacle course with zipwire suited to children aged 5-12 years.
On the way back from the obstacle course, you can wander through the hives in the bee garden, and on drier days roll down the grassy slopes back towards the café and gift shop (just make sure the kids stop short of the lake!)
Check out the website events page for details of school holiday special events – an annual amateur photography competition for photos taken at the Falls runs throughout the season with prizes for each entrant age category. Follow Canonteign on Facebook here.
Entry costs £25 for a family ticket to include 2 adults & 2 children (small amount extra for a trail sheet) – full pricing information can be found here.
Canonteign Falls is open daily, 10.00 – 17.30 from March to November, unless high winds or poor weather forces closure. At the time of writing, tickets needed to be pre-booked online with timed arrival slots.