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Avon Dam – an easy Dartmoor walk with children

Avon Dam – an easy Dartmoor walk with children

The walk to Avon Dam on the South East side of Dartmoor is a super easy route for families, with tarmac paths that are ideal for pushchairs, scooters and bikes. It’s also very scenic with the river tumbling through the valley from the dam, moss covered trees and open moorland.

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Avon Dam features in the South Hams Colouring Book for Kids

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Here’s what you need to know about this three mile, easy Dartmoor walk:

The Avon Dam walk route

The route we recommend takes you from the car park at Shipley Bridge to the base of the Dam and back. There is also a circular route.

From the car park take the footpath beside the toilet block to find the tarmac path beside the river. This winds its way through the valley all the way to the bottom of the dam.

Children walking along path beside Avon River

Bear in mind that there’s no barrier between you and the water, so keep an eye on young children. Cyclists and horse riders also use the path.

As you wander along the river you go under moss covered trees and past the ruined remains of Brent Manor.

Family walking past stone ruins
Ruins of Brent Manor

Beyond this you cross a bridge and come out into a more open valley where you might spot ponies and sheep grazing. 

Ponies in the distance on Dartmoor moor land
Dartmoor ponies in the distance
Children using coats as sailed on Avon Dam walk
If you want a longer walk a gravel path splits to the right here

We continued on the tarmac path towards the base of the dam. You cross a small bridge and can then climb up to the left side of the dam to see the reservoir. This last section is off the tarmac, on an uneven gravel and grass path.

Water cascading down the Avon Dam sluce
Avon Dam

Altogether it’s a three mile walk to the reservoir and back along the same route.

Read my guide to more things to do in the South Hams for plenty of days out inspiration.

Child walking along South West Coast Path in Devon

Hungry for more Devon hikes?

Check out the walks recommended by Devon with Kids including pram-friendly strolls, adventure trails and challenging hikes for nature-loving adventurers.

Stomp this way for more walks in Devon.

Handy things to know 

Here’s some information that will help with your visit to Avon Dam:

Avon Dam car park

Toilets, information sign and parking machine in the Avon Dam car park at Shipley Bridge
Avon Dam car park, Shipley Bridge

You can find the Avon Dam car park at Shipley Bridge near South Brent. Use the What3Words location: ///looked.sizzled.husky.

Here it is on Google Maps:

The car park used to be free but a parking machine was installed in 2022, so don’t get caught out if you have been before! You can pay for parking for two hours or a full day. The full day costs £4.80 when paying on the Ringo App.


There’s free toilets in the car park at Shipley Bridge and a couple of picnic benches on the route.

If you fancy a cuppa I’ve been told there’s often a coffee van parked in the car park. However, it wasn’t there when we visited in February.

How long do you need for this walk? 

Allow at least an hour and a half. Our kids were on their scooters nearly all the way so there was no dawdling and we didn’t stop to picnic.

More Devon walks with kids

If you are looking for more walks to do in Devon with kids check out these posts:

For more ideas for days out take a look at my guide to things to do in Dartmoor with kids and easy Dartmoor walks.

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