The River Torridge rises near Hartland and flows in a huge horeshoe before reaching the estuary, shared with the River Taw, at Appledore. The main tributary, the Okement, flows down from Dartmoor joining the main river below Hatherleigh.

For most of the time the river runs clear but being a spate river it responds quickly to heavy rainfall, rising quickly and becoming a muddy brown colour.

The river is famous for its salmon and sea trout, but brown trout are plentiful and provide excellent fishing particularly in the upper reaches.