Nestled within the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), the Yealm Estuary is also a Site of Special Scientific Interest, a European Special Area of Conservation and lies within the South Devon Heritage Coast.
The River Yealm rises 430 metres above sea level on the Stall Moor mires of south Dartmoor and makes its 15 mile journey to the sea here. The tidal part of the river, the estuary, reaches up as far as Puslinch, 4 miles inland. The estuary is a drowned river valley or ria, with high sides keeping some of the wind at bay while the sand bar across the mouth of the estuary dampens the incoming waves. This deep and wonderfully picturesque estuary makes a sheltered harbour and habitat.