A beautiful sunset captured from a Tamar guided Canoe Trip with Stuart Watson Stuart Watson

Wet and Wild !

Adventures in and around the water, are our favourite thing at Melrose Cottage! Why not get a taste for it with one of our suggested water based adventures.

Guided Canoe Trip down the River Tamar

Taking a guided canoe trip on the River Tamar is a fantastic way to venture off the beaten track and see the Tamar Valley, a designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This picturesque and peaceful river forms most of the border between Devon and Cornwall

You do not need any prior experience to book onto one of the guided canoe trips and it is a fantastic relaxed way to take in some amazing views, spot a rich variety of wildlife and see some of the historic landmarks.

We know Stuart Watson personally and can highly recommend him as a guide. Stuart is the type of gentle giant who is loved by kids and adults alike. He is an expert guide who will make sure that you travel safely down the river, but also have the most fun possible! He will introduce you to travelling in open Canadian canoes, a fun activity for all abilities and ages (5+) to enjoy. Whilst on the water Stuart will often point out a great variety of wildlife such as leaping salmon, herons, seals, otters, birds of prey and many more. Click here to book!

Sean at Simply Outdoors also provides guided trips for families and groups. He is another outdoor expert we know personally. He has been running outdoor activities on Dartmoor for over 25 years and our kids loved getting on the water with him!


We love to support a local business, and Keith Putman of GoCoasteering lives in Okehampton, right around the corner from Melrose Cottage. If you enjoy being in the water and experiencing the best nature has to offer, why not try coasteering – it is a true adventure sport. It involves swimming, climbing, scrambling, jumping, exploring, caving and seeing sea life right up close. Keith quite literally wrote the guidebook so you will be in a safe pair of hands whether you are celebrating a hen party or want to give the kids an experience to remember! Book here for this activity if you want to explore Devon’s beautiful coastline in the most exciting way possible.

A family group jumps in with GoCoasteering!

Open Air Swimming

Chagford Swimming Pool is the largest river fed, open air swimming pool in the South West. Enjoy incredible views over the Dartmoor countryside at this delightful 1930s lido. You won’t find a pool like this anywhere else! Entice your younger kids into the dedicated toddler pool with the toy boats, watering cans and ducks. You can even bring a picnic to enjoy on the poolside of this community-run pool.

Another not-to-be-missed outdoor pool is the Bude Sea Pool  a semi-natural pool built in the 1930s and filled with natural sea water, located at Sumerleaze Beach in Bude. This provides a sheltered swimming opportunity for children and those not keen on the waves! In 2020, it received the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice, awarded to attractions in the Top 10% worldwide.

If you’re feeling really adventurous why not consider Crazywell Pool on Dartmoor. The legend has it that this pool is bottomless. It is certainly well off the beaten track and you will need to work to get to the beautiful pool with impressive views across the moor. However, be aware that the pool is also very much exposed to the elements and you will need to take your own view on the risks of wild swimming.


If you do head up to Bude Sea Pool why not book in for a surf lesson? It is a classic coastal activity, and you may well catch the bug and be back for more. You might feel like you’re in Point Break (for those old enough to remember what I mean),  you cannot beat the rush of catching a wave!! Several excellent providers offer surf lessons for all ages and abilities, such as Big Blue Surf  or  Atlantic Pursuits.

Gorge Walking

Gorge Walking with Sean at Simply Outdoors https://simplyoutdoors.co.uk/

Another personal recommendation, we can highly recommend Sean at Simply Outdoors. Gorge Walking with Sean is a way to experience Dartmoor which is truly off the beaten path. This exciting activity involves making your way up or down a river gorge by means of climbing, rock hopping, scrambling, jumping in to water, swimming and squeezing your way up a gorge- loved by kids and adult groups alike. For example, Sean might take you to the River Plym, a short drive from Melrose Cottage.