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Riverside walk to picturesque village
Lopwell Dam
Lopwell Dam on the River Tavy in West Devon

This four mile (ish) walk which begins at Lopwell Dam on the River Tavy takes you through woodland to the pretty village of Bere Ferrers.

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This walk is great for people who live in the Plymouth area and fancy a breath of good old country air!

The starting point is Lopwell Dam (map ref LR201 475649), which is just a short drive to the north of Plymouth - you could even cycle there if you're feeling energetic.

Go through Tamerton Foliot take the narrow lane down to the River Tavy, where you can park at the Lopwell Dam car park.

Now, this bit is very important, so we'll highlight it: Check the tide times!

Path through the woods
The path through the woodland beside the River Tavy at Lopwell
You won't be able to walk across the narrow at the dam at high tide. Start the walk at a time which will give you ample time for the one hour walk to Bere Ferrers, a pub lunch, and the walk back.

The dam is navigable up to two hours either side of high tide.

Walking on the water - which is what it feels like - was quite disorientating, and you'll need to take care.

This part of the River Tavy is highly important, as its saltmarsh provides vital habitat for a wide range of birdlife.

It's administered by the South West Lakes Trust, and has been designated a Local Nature Reserve. The protected area takes in the Dam, the saltmarsh, and the adjoining ancient woodland.

Once you cross the river, you walk up through the wood, before dipping back down again.

Bere Ferrers boats
Little boats at Bere Ferrers
There is more than one path which goes to Bere Ferrers - one runs close to the river, and can be very boggy, so be warned and prepared.

The higher route is drier and gives you fine views over the River Tavy.

Across the river, you can see the grand Maristow House.

On reaching Bere Ferrers, you'll immediately see the village pub, The Old Plough Inn.

It's got a great reputation for food - but, at the time of writing, it doesn't open on Monday lunchtimes during the winter.

View of the River Tavy
The view of the River Tavy
Bere Ferrers also has a great "all you'll need" little store, which doubles up as the village hairdressers as well!

The village has pretty cottages, a lovely old church, and of course, it has its riverside location.

Just a bit further along, the Tavy estuary meets up with the Tamar, if you prefer a longer walk.

The Lopwell Dam to Bere Ferrers walk - about two miles each way - is easy going for those who are reasonably fit, and if you're lucky you'll also get to see some lovely birdlife on the river.

Article first published: 2nd January 2004

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