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 are very 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.
We hire out baby carriers in the gift shop so that even the youngest visitor can enjoy the lovely walks. We aso have a baby changing facility in the disabled toilet.
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.
Over the summer we are running various fun activities for children ring reception for daily events.
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.
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.
Hector, the Estate 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.
Unfortunately Hector passed away in March 2016. He will be greatly missed. You may however spot his friend Thor, the not so miniature daschund out about, as he has decided to carry on the Estate Hound tradition, albeit in a more diminutive way!!
Whilst we try to make Canonteign Falls as accessible as possible to our visitors, it is a natural environment and some parts of some walks are steep and/or have naturally exposed tree roots. We recommend stout walking shoes or trainers.
Wheelchair users are free of charge and carers receive a £1 discount off the entry price. Entrance to the Cafe and Gift Shop alone is free of charge.
Our Disabled car park is situated on the left hand side of the entrance drive just before you pass the path down to Reception. Our main car park is situated directly opposite the path down to Reception. Access to Reception from this car park is either down a set of steps or, if you walk around the longer way, down a gentle slope at either end of the car park.
Walks: Our 'Grandad's Way' walk is accessible to wheelchairs although there are the occasional mild slopes and exposed tree roots: the path surface is made of hardcore and the path takes you around the main lake (Lily Lake) and to the foot of Clampitt Falls. The walk itslef is about a quarter of a mile and takes about 20 minutes.
The Lower Lakes are accessible dependant upon weather conditions: if it is dry, the ground is usually hard and accessible but if it is wet, it can become muddy and at times very difficult to navigate with a wheelchair. There are slopes is some places. Access to the Cafe and Gift Shop is one one level through Reception. Inside the Cafe itself, there is one small step. We have a Disabled Toilet with access up a slight slope.
Pushchair access is similar to Wheelchair Access (see above). We hire out baby carriers at £2 each. The route is reasonably steep at certain points (more particularly the 90 Victorian Steps) and is, as stated above, a natural environment with corresponding natural hazards such as exposed tree roots in certain places. Care must be taken with footing and sensible walking shoes or trainers should be worn. We have walking poles which we are happy to loan out if you are unsure of your footing. There are changing facilities in the disabled toilet.
Heart or Lung Conditions
Those with a heart or lung condition may find the 'Waterfall Walk' quite strenuous. However, the walk around the main lake and down to the wetlands is of a more gentle nature. There are plenty of places to sit and rest.