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Canonteign Secret Garden Overhangs

Easily the most impressive of the huge rock masses that lie within the Canonteign Estate, the Secret Garden was so named by a former owner on account of its secret enclosed nature and dark brooding outcrops, with overhanging vegetation and crevices with dripping water. The Secret Garden Overhangs can be easily reached by continuing along the path uphill via a series of Victorian steps from Bruce's Pond towards the summit and viewpoint of the waterfall.

The rocks here are not of granite but are a form of Devon Slate. The jagged cliff faces of the Secret Garden rear up from the riverside and are a breathtaking sight of unparalleled beauty that dominate anyone standing at their feet. They were captured in a well-known painting from around 1804 by the artist John White Abbott who was so fascinated by the area that he completed several Canonteign scenes in his work. The walkway here has been vastly improved by the present owners and there are a good number of information boards to consult along the way.

The crags are nestled beside the original waterfall where a huge natural excavation can be seen on the south side, this gorge being known locally as the Devil's Leap. Evidently, much more water used to pass through this narrow causeway but since the celebrated manmade waterfall nearby was created, less water makes it to this romantic spot, but what water does reach this point creates a special scene that is among the most wonderful to be found on Dartmoor. It is well worth a visit.

Canonteign Secret Garden Overhangs
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 832 824
Tor Classification:
Valley Side
Private (but a fee to visit)
Rock Type:
Devon Slate
Peter Boyd
Reference / Further Reading:
Peter Boyd: Canonteign Falls
Tim Jenkinson (2021): Bridford and Christow: Some Tors and Rocks Explored Dartmoor Magazine number 144 Winter

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