The Best Way to Explore
One of the best ways to explore the Tamar Valley is by boat. Once a very busy thoroughfare serving the mines, quarries, brick works, lime kilns and market gardens it is now peaceful. Very occasionally a tripper boat from Plymouth passes by on its way to Morwellham but now it is mainly used by canoes, dinghies and the local rowing club.
Above the Boathouse the river winds through a deeply incised valley with steep wooded slopes and craggy rock outcrops. Ducks, heron, cormorant and sometimes kingfishers will accompany you up river while buzzards circle mewing overhead. Otters are there but seldom seen. Upstream landing is possible at Morwellham (fee payable) – about 1/2 hour in a canoe – and the weir and entrance to the old manure canal is reached in 1 hour.
Downstream you can land at Calstock (20 min), Cotehele (40 min) and then Halton Quay, Weir Quay, Cargreen, Saltash and so past the Dockyard to Plymouth Sound. A long day on a Spring Tide will take you to Cawsand and back. Below Cotehele the valley widens with flood plains and sailing is possible.
There is a tidal range of about 2m at Neap tides – high water midday- when the Boathouse slipway is useable all day. At Spring tides – high water morning and evening – the range is 5m, the current strong and launching is restricted and muddy! at low tide. A pressure pump can be used to wash mud off the slipway.
The slipway is quite steep and only suitable for dinghies and canoes. Dinghies with small outboards are fine but fast motor boats that shatter the tranquillity are not welcome and jet skis are banned!
The quay can accommodate yachts provided they can dry out alongside. Please consult owner first.