Many rivers arise on Dartmoor including the East and West Okement, Taw, Teign, Bovey, Dart, Avon, Yealm, Erme, Plym, Walkham, Tavy and Lyd. These rivers and streams are characterised by being fast-flowing and rise rapidly in response to rainfall.

The rivers support few water plants but the banks are often covered in luxuriant mosses and ferns.

They provide a special habitat for some of Dartmoor’s most characteristic species. Salmon and sea trout can be seen migrating up many Dartmoor rivers to spawn. Dipper and grey wagtail are a common sight on all rivers and streams. Kingfisher and goosander are present in the lower valleys. Otters have made a come-back in England, and Dartmoor rivers are an important stronghold.