Lopwell Dam

Lopwell Dam

Where salt and fresh water meet

Popular with families, walkers and bird watchers alike – Lopwell Dam is well worth a visit at any time of the year. Keep an eye out for an amazing range of wildlife in and out of the water and learn about the long mining history for lead and silver. There’s ample things to do –try pond dipping, go on a mini-beast hunt or bring your bike and cycle the Tamar Discovery Trail.

At low tide you can walk across the Tidal Ford and encounter nature face to face in the Local Nature Reserve. Explore Lopwell’s nature trail and discover Wheal Maristow, an impressive mineshaft, dating back to the 13th Century. Walk through ancient semi-natural woodlands, cross the wild flower and butterfly meadow. At the waters edge keep a look of for Kingfishers, Atlantic Salmon or you might be lucky enough to see an Atlantic Grey Seal.

Lopwell is open all year round, although access to the nature reserve (via the ford) is restricted by the tide. Tide tables are provided on both sides of the dam.


Visitor Centre

Disabled Toilets & Access

Picnic Area

Toilets (open seasonally)

Car Park (please leave a donation to help our charity)

Dog Friendly

The Old Pump House, Lopwell Dam, Plymouth PL6 7BZ

By Road: From the A386 Plymouth – Tavistock road follow the brown signs to Lopwell Dam, indicated by the duck symbol, passing Buckland Abbey. Take care, this road is narrow in places.

By Bus: Take the 55 service (Mon-Sat) from Yelverton (regular connections from Plymouth/Tavistock) to Milton Combe. There is then a ½ mile walk to Lopwell.

By Rail: Take the Tamar Valley line from Plymouth to Bere Ferrers. Lopwell is a 2 mile walk from the station (N.B. The ford at Lopwell is not passable at high tide – check tide times in advance).
Lopwell also lies on the route of the Tamar Valley Discovery Trail between Plymouth and Launceston, and the Lopwell Dam cycle link from the Plym Valley/National Cycle Route 27.


Lopwell Dam lies within the Tamar Tavy and is a SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) – Sites of Special Scientific Interest are established to protect the most valuable areas of the country for wildlife and geology. Lopwell Dam is an important saltmarsh habitat site for species such as common saltmarsh-grass, red fescue, sea couch, sea purslane, sea aster, sea arrowgrass, sea club-rush and English scurvygrass.


Lopwell Dam is rich in wildlife with several distinct habitats. In 2004 the site was designated as a Local Nature Reserve in recognition of its unique environment.

Wildlife at Lopwell includes Little Egret, Otter, Atlantic Salmon, Silver-washed Fritillary and Atlantic Grey Seal. This is one of the best areas in Devon for Kingfishers!

Did you know?

Before the dam was built a ferry used to
run from one side of the estuary to the other.
If you walk around the nature reserve you will come
across the ruins of the old ferryman’s cottage
which used to house the Vivian brothers who ran
the ferry (a wooden rowing boat!)

Lakes nearby

Burrator Reservoir


Fernworthy Reservoir


Roadford Lake


Meldon Reservoir