The best trip, if you can time things right, is to head up river on a rising tide, then come back down to Dartmouth as, it falls again. The river is very picturesque, with narrow areas overhung with ancient Oaks and wide spaces where you can practice your points of sail, the shore is strung with pretty boatbouses, larger modern residences and a few mansions too. About 2 miles inland lies Dittisham, where you can moor up and enjoy a great fresh crab at the Anchorstone Cafe
or a beer at the next door Ferryboat Inn. Dittisham makes a good place to meet non-waterborne friends.
A mile or so further upstream is Stoke Gabriel (pretty, but with little to offer ashore besides the cafe), and just after that Bow Creek forks off to the left. If you can make it up the creek, you can enjoy a meal at Maltsters
. I have sailed from the Pottery to the Maltsters in a little under 2 hours, had a gourmet burger and a beer, and still had time to get back to the main river to sail back.
The last point of interest on the river is probably Sharpham House
– a vineyard, cheese factory and a lovely cafe. They have a jetty for small boats. Past Sharpham, the river is a little less interesting; although Totnes is well worth a visit, you might be better taking the river taxi!
One last point about sailing in the river: be prepared for the breeze to shift significantly as it funnels down valleys and over hills or disappear completely just when you thought you were doing well – the gap at the Greenway can be especially “entertaining”!