Tamar Lakes are located on the border of Cornwall and Devon. The lakes are split into two distinct areas – Upper and Lower Tamar. Upper Tamar is where you’ll find the watersports action while Lower Tamar is protected as a nature reserve. A dam separates the two stretches of water.

Tamar’s watersports facility is recognised by the BCU (British Canoe Union) and as such offers a full tuition programme with qualified instructors. This is great news if any paddlers are looking to improve their skills as you can do so in a safe and contained environment.

For paddlers wanting to launch their boat then a day’s kayaking will cost £6.50. You then get access to all the onsite facilities which include hot showers and changing rooms.

It’s worth noting that Tamar Lakes stipulate paddlers must have third party insurance in place for anyone wishing to launch. You’ll be automatically covered if you take out an annual BCU membership.

How to get there:

Just off the A39 next to Kilkhampton.


Changing rooms, showering facilities and onsite café are all available for visiting paddlers to use after paying the launch fee (the café can be visited anytime without additional cost).


The dam that separates the two lakes is worth avoiding. Care should be taken to not interfere with local wildlife, although again, they’ll no doubt get out of your way first.

Ins and Outs:

Once you’ve paid the launch fee then it’s possible to ‘drop in’ almost anywhere along the banks of the lake. You’ll need to keep the main slipway free, so don’t linger, but using this to access the water is fine as long as it’s not busy.


Sitting in a sleepy corner of the north Cornish countryside, Tamar Lakes offer both a peaceful and tranquil nature reserve environment, for those looking to get away from it all, while also being suitable for the more adrenaline minded visitor.

Being close to Bude, which has even more paddling options, kayakers looking for a diverse set of ‘dropping in’ points will be well served by a trip here.


Tamar Lakes



South West Lakes Trust
Tamar Lakes tourist information