There are two sets of waterfalls at Canonteign today: the natural falls which have existed in this valley since time immemorial and the spectacular Lady Exmouth Falls, named after the 3rd Lady Exmouth and built under her direction in 1890.
An impressive feat of engineeering, the Lady Exmouth Falls were created by local miners under the direction of Lady Susan Exmouth after they had been made redundant following the closure of the estate's silver mines. The waterfalls are the highest manmade waterfalls in England, measuring some 70m; they provide one of the most breathtaking photographic and painting opportunities in Devon today.
As you climb towards the Lady Exmouth Falls, first into view is the glorious spectacle of Clampitt Falls, part of the natural waterfall course that originates high up on Dartmoor, travels through Canonteign Falls and ends in the River Teign valley below. Particularly beautiful on a summer's day when the water sparkles in the dappled sunlight, Clampitt Falls are named after two brothers who built the dam (to create a header pond for the leat to the then sawmill) in the 1830s for the 8th Viscount Exmouth. The 8th Viscount was an eccentric charcter who had a medical practice in Pau in the south of France; he used ot travel between Pau and Canonteign on horseback.
As you pass by Clampitt Falls, you will walk upwards through the Secret Garden and the Victorian Fern Garden to reach the top of the Lady Exmouth Falls and Buzzard’s View. Buzzard's View offers the most spectacular view across South Devon and Dartmoor. The path down takes you through ancient woodland to the Lily Lake, old Orchard and Bee Garden and to the 30m Zip Wire and Mini-Assault Course.
Activities & Facilities
Canonteign Falls is a unique, family attraction in the heart of the Devon and Dartmoor countryside. Away from the crowds and set in over 90 acres of ancient woodland and wetlands, Canonteign Falls is the perfect place for all kinds of outdoor adventure and the ideal attraction for a more tranquil family day out with children. Dogs on leads welcome!
With so many adrenalin-filled ‘family’ tourist attractions in Devon to choose from, Canonteign Falls provides an alternative, more relaxed day amidst beautiful natural surroundings. Listen to the birds tweeting as you picnic on the lawns overlooking the Lily Lake whilst the children play nearby in one of our two dedicated play areas.
Or discover facts you never knew as you and the children follow our information boards around the Falls walk on our Children's Nature Trail. Climb up through the Secret Garden and the 90 steps to the Victorian Fern Garden and on to the top of the waterfalls where you will be rewarded with breathtaking views of the Devon countryside for miles around. Canonteign Falls is a real 'family’ experience, combining outdoor play and adventure with relaxation and sightseeing.
A hidden gem just waiting to be discovered, Canonteign Falls is a family day out with a difference. With over 90 acres to explore, there is something to suit everyone.
Zip Wire and Mini Assault Course
Our 30m zip wire is a firm favourite with our younger visitors. Zoom through the air on this flying fun adventure! Combine this with a timed race around our mini assault course where you can practise your climbing, swinging and balancing skills on the various obstacles on offer. Suitable for children from 5-12 years.
Children's Play Area
In honour of the estate's original owner, Admiral Pellew (1st Viscount Exmouth), in 2014 we built a huge wooden galleon in our children's play area, the 'Indefatigable' named after the Admiral's most famous ship. Perfect for those budding sailors amongst us, the ship is a great place to make believe and provides lots of fun with climbing walls, slide poles and rope ladders. You can also enhance the experience with pirate hats and other toys available from the Gift Shop!
But even if pirate ships aren't your thing, we also have two large trampolines, swings and a climbing frame with slide. So whilst the kids are playing on the play equipment, you can keep a watchful eye whilst sitting back to relax and enjoy the spectacular views across our Devon lakes and national parkland scenery.
Giant Bunnies: Basil & Clarissa
As well as the walks, nature trails and play areas, we also have some furry friends to amuse both young and old in the shape of Basil and Clarissa, our delightful giant rabbits.
Basil is a French Lop rabbit. French Lops are a popular breed of domestic rabbit, first bred in France in the 19th Century through selective breeding between the English Lop and the Flemish Giant.
Clarissa is a Flemish Giant and she is HUGE! Flemish Giants originated in Flanders in the 16th Century. They are believed to have descended from a number of meat and fur breeds and are the ancestors of many breeds all over the world today.
Black Swans: Dame Margot & Rudolph
Dame Margot and Rudolph, our two black swans, joined us last year and now glide around on their very own 'Swan Lake'! We are hoping that this year they will have cygnets.They share their lake with a number of Mandarin ducks and two Shelducks.
Hector, the Esate Hound
'Hector the Protector' is Canonteign's estate hound. He is a Harlequin Great Dane and over the years he has become a familiar sight with many of our regular visitors to Canonteign. Always a talking point, Hector's sheer size and colour mark him out as something special and his friendly, gentle nature has made him many an ardent fan over the years.
Hector is now an old gentleman of almost 11 years old but he still enjoys his walks around the Falls. In his younger days he attended all management meetings with our late estate manager, John Voisey, although these days he's just in it for the biscuits. Finally, he is also a wonderful 'front of house dog' when it comes to showing prospective wedding couples around our venue!
Canonteign Falls provides the perfect environment to sustain and promote a healthy colony of bees. No artificial fertilisers are used on our land and consequently wild flowers, particularly clover, thrives. A few years ago we introduced 10 hives to the estate and planted a dedicated bee garden in the old orchard at the Falls under the guidance of our apiarist, Tim Hall, and his team.
There are now 6 working hives in the Canonteign bee garden itself alongside a dozen old apple trees in the orchard. Four of the hives are National hives and two horizontal topbar hives.
The locations of the hives mean that our bees have flowers to forage from for as much of the year as possible, March through to October. The hives up near the house are also situated next to extensive lavender hedges. Honeybees can struggle to find early or late flowering plants, at these important times of year. Early forage such as willow and crocus means the bees can start raising their young on the collected pollen and nectar. Plants that flower late into the autumn such as ivy and gorse mean that they can ensure their honey stores are stocked up ready for a winter inside the hive.
The bee garden includes native wildflowers such as ox-eye daisy and musk mallow, culinary and medicinal herbs such as thyme and mint, climbing plants like hops and honeysuckle, as well as a sea of bee-friendly flowers like phacelia, borage, geranium and roses.
The garden is a calm haven, with the gentle sound of buzzing bees and the breeze in the apple trees as well as a place to find out what you can do in your own garden to support these special insects.
Tim Hall from Embercombe in Higher Ashton is our apiarist and manages our bees. Tim runs beekeeping and 'Life cycle of Bees' courses for groups, individuals and schools by prior booking. Contact our Events Co-ordinator, Mrs Lianne Bell, at email@example.com further details.
Home Farm Cafe
Our new menu now offers breakfasts from 10am to 11.30am including bacon sandwiches, scrambled eggs with smoked salmon, bagels and pancakes with maple syrup whilst for lunch we offer locally made 'Cockleshell Deli' filo pastry pies in mouthwatering flavours, fresh daily salads, hearty homemade soups, ploughmans, freshly cut sandwiches and jacket potatoes, to name but a few. And enjoy a Cappuccino or latte made with freshly ground Italian coffee and a slice of one of our delicious homemade cakes or perhaps a traditional Devon Cream Tea. Wherever possibly we use locally sourced ingredients and all our cakes and scones are home baked on the premises. Click here for sample Breakfast and Lunch menus.
Our gift shop is situated in the Estate's original 'Home Farm' milking parlour and this year features a whole new range of wondeful and imaginative gifts for all the family. Much of our pottery and many of our wood products are made by local crafts people whilst our other gifts all share the theme of Canonteign's outdoors activities and love of nature. We stock children's gifts with a woodland theme, jewellery, pretty scarves, colourful bags and wonderful smelling soaps, gardening gifts, ornaments and a new men's range. Our branded merchandise includes Canonteign Falls tea towels and bags as well as a wide range of fudges, chocolate and preserves.