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Devon's rivers: The River Teign
The River teign at Shaldon
Boats at Shaldon on the River Teign

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.

The Teign
Looking across the Teign to Shaldon

Birdlife includes herons, kingfishers, dippers, grey wagtails and mallards, as well as cormorants and goosanders. Otters are also making a comeback.

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 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.

The Ness at Shaldon
The Ness at Shaldon

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. Here's a section from the poem:

Here all the summer could I stay
For there's Bishop's teign
And King's teign
And Coomb at the clear Teign head -
Where close by the stream
You may have your cream
All spread upon barley bread.




SEE ALSO
Devon's rivers: The River Dart
04 Jan 10 |  Nature & Outdoors
Devon's rivers: The Exe
05 Jan 10 |  Nature & Outdoors
Devon's rivers: The River Otter
01 Feb 10 |  Nature & Outdoors
Devon's rivers: The Tamar
04 Jan 10 |  Nature & Outdoors
Devon's rivers: River Taw
03 Feb 10 |  Nature & Outdoors
Devon's Rivers: The Torridge
27 Jan 10 |  Nature & Outdoors
A-Z of Devon's natural world
16 Dec 09 |  Nature & Outdoors


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