LopWell Dam

Key features of site:
Freshwater marsh, saltwater marsh, butterfly meadow, ancient crossing point (ford), upper tidal limit of the Tavy,  information boards, salmon ladder, Wildlife conservation areas.

Map location:
BNG; SX 475 649

On the East bank of the river Tavy at the point of tidal limit is this historic crossing point. Access off the A386 to Yelverton from Plymouth. Turn off at Yelverton and follow signs for Buckland abbey and carry straight on past this point. Alternatively turn off before for Bickham & Blaxham and turn left and left again to get to Lopwell

Distance from Plymouth University (miles):

Time from Plymouth University (minutes):

Site nature and status:
South West Lakes Trust site.

Summary of educational interest:
An excellent site for comparing saline and tidal influenced areas with fresh water habitats. Good botany can be seen in the wild flower meadow, with wildlife conservation areas can also present.

The woodland, on the west bank, has an area of management for dormouse population study where Sycamore has been removed. The weir has a salmon ladder with a viewable window in the new pump house yet this is closed to public access. Archaeology at the site includes a disused uncapped mine and a ruined cottage (home of the brothers who used to run the ferry at this site). Biology which may be seen at the site includes; the Little Egret, Otter, Atlantic salmon, Silver-washed Fritillary and the Atlantic Grey Seal. Problems with knot weed from an ecology point of view. Habitat types include freshwater marsh, saltwater marsh, wildflower meadow, mixed woodland, and freshwater and saltwater estuarine habitats. 

Buildings present include an old pump house (to be converted into an education/Art centre) and new pump houses (with Salmon viewing window not open to the public). There is also a salmon ladder, ford, tidal causeway for access by foot to the far bank, fresh and salt water marshes.

Tidal causeway can cut off visitors from the road and East bank.  Read the tide information before visiting this site to avoid disappointment.

Parking and Access:
The lane to the site is very narrow and coach access is difficult. There is a small car park on the east bank of the river with access to the far side of the river via a causeway until two hours either side of high tide Hours there is also a ford crossing which can be driven across at low tide but this would not be recommended without a 4x4.

Toilets, info boards, car park. There is a plan to convert the old pump house into an education/art centre. There is a web cam at the site but it is currently out of repair. The old youth hostel is now an artist’s studio.

Contact and links:
South West Lakes Trust; Neil reeves neilreeves@btconnect.com (01822 855700), based at Burrator offices and Jo Simpson, education officer based at Roadford.

South West Lakes Trust - Lopwell Dam

Tide timetables


Lopwell Dam Photos

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