Coast and Country
The Teign estuary
Devon's rivers: The Teign
The River Teign winds its way down from Dartmoor to Teignmouth on the South Devon coast.
The River Teign flows for some 30 miles, rising on Dartmoor, near Cranmere Pool west of Chagford, and reaching the sea at Teignmouth on the South Devon coast.
The river skirts the northern side of the moor, flowing down a steep-sided valley and then meanders southwards at the east edge of Dartmoor.
It's a hugely diverse waterway. Tidal from Teignmouth to Newton Abbot, it has mudflats which are loved by birds, and habitat which encourages an array of wildlife.
This particular stretch is important for local shellfishermen, who have worked on the estuary for many years.
Birdlife includes herons, kingfishers, dippers, grey wagtails and mallards, as well as cormorants and goosanders. Otters are also making a comeback.
The Teign Valley
The heathland up river attracts birds such as the nightjar; the farmland has cirl buntings, woodlarks and skylarks; while butterflies and orchids can be seen on the meadows.
Salmon live along stretches of the Teign - you can often see the them leaping at Drewe's Weir - and there are also dragonflies and rare water beetles.
Where the Teign is tree lined, there are bluebells, daffodils and a wide variety of flora and fauna.
Industry and the Teign
Yet much of the Teign Valley has been scarred by the clay pits which dominate parts of the landscape.
The industry has been vital to Teignbridge's economy and the export of the high grade mineral - together with granite and limestone - has been largely responsible for the development of Teignmouth Docks.
In the early days, the minerals were transported down the Teign to the port - where exporting has taken place since the 13th century.
In the 1790s, James Templer built the Stover Canal from Ventiford to Jetty Marsh in Newton Abbot, to help carry minerals down to the river.
Boats on the Teign
Places along the Teign include the village of Shaldon, which lies on the opposite bank of the estuary to Teignmouth. There's a passenger ferry linking the two communities, and Shaldon Bridge for cars.
The first bridge, built in 1823, was replaced by the existing Shaldon Bridge in 1931. It has recently undergone a £3m strengthening programme.
Other places along the Teign are Newton Abbot, Kingsteignton, Teigngrace, Christow, Dunsford, Drewsteignton, and Chagford.
The Teign Valley is one of Devon's most beautiful areas, and it's dotted with little hamlets such as Trusham and Hennock.
It's also where you'll find England's highest waterfall - the 220ft Canonteign Falls, which cascades down a gorge into the River Teign.
Other attractions further up the valley is the 16th century Fingle Bridge and England's most modern castle, Castle Drogo.
Centuries ago, Fingle Bridge was a major crossing point over the Teign between Drewsteignton and Moretonhampstead. It was used by packhorses transporting produce such as corn from Fingle Mill, and wood products.
Ode to the Teign
Perhaps we should leave the last word about the beauty of the River Teign to the poet John Keats, who stayed in Teignmouth in 1818.
You can read his poem on the right of this page.
last updated: 06/02/2008 at 13:49
Here all the summer could I stay
There's arch Brook
There is Wild wood,
There is Newton Marsh
There's the Barton rich
And O, and O
Then who would go
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