The River Taw is one of two major rivers in north Devon. It rises at Taw Head, a spring on the central northern flanks of Dartmoor. Then it crosses north Devon and runs close to the sea at the town of Barnstaple, formerly a significant port. Then it empties into Bideford Bay in the Bristol Channel. It has a large estuary of wide meanders which is joined by the estuary of the Torridge.