There are two sets of waterfalls at Canonteign today: the natural falls which have existed in this valley since time immemorial and the spectacular Lady Exmouth Falls, named after the 3rd Lady Exmouth and built under her direction in 1890.
An impressive feat of engineeering, the Lady Exmouth Falls were created by local miners under the direction of Lady Susan Exmouth after they had been made redundant following the closure of the estate's silver mines. The waterfalls are the highest manmade waterfalls in England, measuring some 70m; they provide one of the most breathtaking photographic and painting opportunities in Devon today.
As you climb towards the Lady Exmouth Falls, first into view is the glorious spectacle of Clampitt Falls, part of the natural waterfall course that originates high up on Dartmoor, travels through Canonteign Falls and ends in the River Teign valley below. Particularly beautiful on a summer's day when the water sparkles in the dappled sunlight, Clampitt Falls are named after two brothers who built the dam (to create a header pond for the leat to the then sawmill) in the 1830s for the 8th Viscount Exmouth. The 8th Viscount was an eccentric charcter who had a medical practice in Pau in the south of France; he used ot travel between Pau and Canonteign on horseback.
As you pass by Clampitt Falls, you will walk upwards through the Secret Garden and the Victorian Fern Garden to reach the top of the Lady Exmouth Falls and Buzzard’s View. Buzzard's View offers the most spectacular view across South Devon and Dartmoor. The path down takes you through ancient woodland to the Lily Lake, old Orchard and Bee Garden and to the 30m Zip Wire and Mini-Assault Course.
Lakes & Poets' Corner
Canonteign has a total of 7 lakes including the Lily Lake and Swan Lake, the latter being home to our pair of Black Swans, Dame Margot and Rudolph. The Lower Lakes provide a fascinating walk in themselves, giving you the opportunity to visit wildlife in its natural habitat and spot kingfishers, bats, butterflies, wildfowl and otter. In the early 1990s the current Lord Exmouth constructed these lakes and here, particularly in spring and early summer, carpets of yellow buttercups and orchids adorn the grass meadows surrounding the lakes. We have recently added a round sitting bench and 12 poems around an ancient oak tree, which we have named Poets' Corner. Poets' Corner is designed as a peaceful area where you can sit and dream away a sunny afternoon surrounded by some of the most beautiful views Devon has to offer.
Woodland Wildlife Walks
We have 3 distinct walks available at the Falls designed to provide something for all ages and abilities. Ask at the Reception desk for details. In spring and early summer you will see an abundance of primroses, bluebells, wood anemonies and wild garlic. There is every chance of spotting Roe or Fallow deer, which are prolific in our woods. The woods also provide a perfect habitat and places to nest for robins, blackbirds, finches, woodpeckers, nuthatches and wrens. Once coppiced for a variety of uses, the last time the woodland at Canonteign was managed for commercial purposes was during the 2nd World War, when wood was felled for the war effort; some of this wood was never in fact collected.