Environmental Practice | Canoe Adventures

Environmental Practice

  • Rubbish collected from the banks of the Dart Estuary, 2014
    Rubbish collected from the banks of the Dart Estuary, 2014.

From the day it opened in 1999 Canoe Adventures has been committed to good sustainable environmental practice and we contnue to work towards this on many levels. 

Practically we have organised litter collections in the River Dart estuary where we operate.  As a business we operate with environmental awareness in all our decision making; from buying local and organic  as much as possible, to working to minimum impact principles when we land ashore, to keeping our road mileage low. 

In terms of the experiences we deliver, we totally appreciate the privilege and opportunity we have of operating in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty; enabling many people who would not otherwise be able to, to have some quality time in nature.  Connecting people with the natural world and inspiring them to consider their place there is at the heart of our delivery.  Our staff work hard to develop the right skills to facilitate this in a way that is appropriate to every different group we take.

  • Our aim was and is to make canoeing accessible as an environmentally-friendly, fun, inclusive and healthy activity.  Whatever one's age or ability it is an excellent way to become acquainted with the natural environment of watery places.  By innovating the use of 12-seater Voyager canoes, each with its skipper-guide,  the age range of people who can join is extended from babies to those in their 80s. 

  • Canoes use no fossil fuel and create no pollution.  Since opening for business we calculate some 37,000 individuals have paddled with us.  At an average of 6 miles per outing this gives 222,000 pollution free miles over the ground.

  • Canoe Adventures innovated and employs the ‘Hotsam’; a small, lightweight flatpacking campfire brazier, often lit using flint and steel (great for kids!) to make no-trace campfires and barbecues, thus demonstrating and encouraging no-trace methods to guest-crew.   

  • We have a zero-tolerance litter policy and usually run a volunteer annual litter-picking event on the Dart Estuary.

  • We recycle, re-use or compost all the waste we can, use washable beakers and picnic-boxes, compostable bags and refillable water bottles. All operational batteries are rechargeables, charged by renewable energy. 

  • Our 9 metre 12-seater, 'Longbow' canoes are designed and built by local craftsmen. We regularly commission handmade Dartmoor ash paddles; locally grown, locally made.

  • The silent canoe gets close to wildlife, seals often follow us. The Company canoe steersmen all share their knowledge of estuary wildlife and how to enjoy nature and follow the Country Code without detrimental impact on the environment.

  • Canoe Adventures serves all Fairtrade tea, coffee and hot chocolate on its outings, and usually local, organic milk.  

  • We joined the Green Tourism Business Scheme in 2003 and achieved our first Gold Award in 2005.  


Green Tourism Business Scheme  a national sustainable tourism certification scheme for the UK

Visit Totnes and Dartmouth Information Centre  for information on public transport, interesting local walks and of course local accommodation and activities 

Transition Town Totnes  a dynamic community-led charity that is a pioneering force in the movement to bring living and livelihoods back to a more local, community-orientated, human scale. They offer tours of our fascinating town throughout the year.

Futurebound - organise study visits, teambuilding and engagement programmes that inspire purpose, vision and action, using the local environment, towns and communities as a living, interactive classroom.

Hot Pursuit  in Totnes for bicycle hire and information on local cycle routes