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Canonteign Fern Garden Rocks

Magnificent rocks can be discovered by walking into the Fern Garden, within the Canonteign Estate, where a footpath weaves its way under huge outcrops either side of the watercourse which is the original stream that carved this valley. The rocks span both sides of it, the northern a more compact outcrop of pale, non-granite rocks with irregular jointings. The southern are equally as pronounced and span a longer part of the valley side where at their conclusion, you can stand atop the beginning of the original waterfall and gaze down at the seemingly endless drop down the hillside. Their dark colours and jagged faces are quite a sight to behold.

This is another magical place laid out with ferns under the instruction of Lady Susan Exmouth in 1880 through what Peter Boyd (2017) describes as 'a small, quarry-like hanging valley through which the original waterfall stream still flows.' Around this time the water from the stream was diverted into a leat to cascade through and over the nearby rocks in spectacular fashion. This can be seen outside of the attraction much further up the hillside at a point where a track leading through Birch Cleave Wood comes to a sharp bend near Shuttamoor Mine, which is open access land.

As with other areas of the Estate, information boards dotted around the attraction enable the visitor to gain both appreciation and understanding of the special landscape we have here. These rocks really are worth seeing and no visit to Canonteign Falls would be complete without paying a visit to the Fern Garden, especially in summer where a proliferation of foxgloves add colour to the scene.

Canonteign Fern Garden Rocks
The map above is not a navigation tool and we recommend that the grid reference shown below is used in conjunction with an Ordnance Survey map and that training in its use with a compass is advised.
Grid Ref:
SX 8312 8247
Tor Classification:
Valley Side
Private (but a fee to visit)
Rock Type:
Devon Slate
Peter Boyd
Peter Boyd: Canonteign Falls
Tim Jenkinson (2021): Bridford and Christow: Some Tors and Rocks Explored Dartmoor Magazine number 144 Winter

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