Located in the Lyd valley, Dartmoor National Park, Lydford Gorge is the deepest gorge in the whole of the south west of England.
It lies within enchanting ancient woodlands and has produced some of the most amazing rock formations from over 10,000 years of River Lyd erosion.
Lydford Gorge quick facts:
Deepest Gorge in South West England
Whitelady Waterfall – 30 metres (98 ft. approx.)
Length of walk – 3 miles
Located in – Lyd valley, Dartmoor National Park
River – Lyd
Area of the mountain range – 93 square miles
Length of trip – half day to full day
Main attractions – walk, Whitelady waterfall, Devil’s Cauldron
Lydford Gorge postcode – EX20 4BH
Now managed by the National Trust, the gorge has been appreciated and enjoyed by visitors over the centuries, especially in Victorian times for its splendour and beauty.
An even more spectacular link with history is it’s connection to the infamous 17th Century Gubbins family, who as outlaws used Lydford Gorge as a hideout from terrorising the local people and stealing sheep from local farms.
The walk around the gorge
There are various walks around the gorge catering for a range of abilities and the National Trust staff are on hand to advise which may be best.
However, it is really worth doing the whole 3 mile walk around the gorge to soak up the majesty of the 30 metre high Whitelady Waterfall, the tranquil beauty of clear water pools and the roaring potholes of the Devil’s Cauldron.
The walk starts out through dense woodland with views at every turn of sheer rock face, trickling streams down the steep slopes and masses of wild garlic plants strewn by the paths. About half way round, there is a refreshment stop or a way out for those doing the shorter walk and then onto the waterfall.
There are two routes from here, ‘long and easy’ or ‘short and steep’. The ‘short and steep’ walk is down steep steps where the sound of the waterfall gets louder and louder.
The waterfall itself is the highest waterfall in the south west, a stunning, almost vertical drop of raging water over the cliff face. It is definitely worth spending some time here, taking pictures and just taking in the atmosphere.
Onwards after the waterfall takes you through tranquil pools of water, climbing over slippery bare rock, through the tunnel falls potholes and resting at the Pixie Glen picnic area. Picnics can of course be enjoyed at the many strategically placed benches or exposed rock throughout the walk.
The final must see attraction is the Devil’s Cauldron, where the slopes steepen and narrow and forceful water whirls round a giant pothole.
There are steep slippery steps leading into the cauldron where you can stand and take in the overwhelming sound and power of the water. Finally, a short walk from here takes you back to the starting point.
Tips for visiting Lydford Gorge
The walk can be steep, rugged and slippery in places so strong walking boots are recommended. The whole walk is 3 miles long and can take approximately 2 hours (depending of course on how long you want to stop and take in the scenery).
The reception provides a free map of the walk as well as signposts throughout the walk, you really can’t get lost.
Dogs are allowed but need to be on leads for safety reasons.
Farm shop near Lydford Gorge
On the corner of the main road, just before turning off to the gorge, is the excellent Lydford Farm Shop. It is open 7 days a week and sells a variety of local produce from fruit and vegetables to pickles, jams, meats, biscuits and cakes. A great stop over after a visit to the gorge! Use SAT NAV code EX20 4AU to get there.
How to get to Lydford Gorge, postcode and driving directions
Getting to Lydford Gorge by car
Use the GPS/SAT NAV postcode EX20 4BH.
There are clearly marked road signs too.
Full address – Lydford, near Tavistock, Devon, EX20 4BH
Lydford Gorge is only 7 miles south of A30 and half way between Tavistock and Okehampton connected by A386
There is also the Waterfall entrance car park (clearly signed) which has a reception, tea-room, toilets and a picnic area.
Getting to Lydford Gorge by bus
There are regular bus service from Tavistock
Car Park at Lydford Gorge
Free parking available
Custom Google map of Lydford Gorge car park near National Trust reception/ticket hall
Facilities at Lydford Gorge
The main entrance car park has a reception, National Trust shop, toilets, and tea-room, picnic and play area.
Lydford Gorge entrance fees
Adult – £7.40
Child – £3.70
Family – £18.50
One adult and upto 3 children – £11.10
Group adult – £6.30
Group child (minimum 15 in group) – £3.15
There is a reduced rate in winter
Adult – £3.50
Gorge – 10:00 – 17:00
Devil’s Cauldron tea-room – 10:00 – 17:00
Prices and opening times are correct as of April 2016
Please visit Lydford Gorge National Trust website for most up to date details before making any travel arrangements at: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lydford-gorge