Gorge is one of Devon's gems...it's the deepest gorge in the whole
of the south West, and it's surrounded by ancient woodland.
The river Lyd at this stretch is fast flowing, and the gorge features
two "must see" attractions - the White Lady Waterfall
and Devil's Cauldron.
To take everything in, it's best to do the entire walk - but this
is only suitable for fit, able-bodied people. There are alternative,
easier, and shorter routes for disabled people and those who are
less fit - but even these aren't exactly easy walks.
The full route is around three miles long, and takes approximately
two hours. If you want to stop to take in the views and fresh air
- or to make use of the much-needed seats - the walk could take
three to four hours.
start is sign-posted from the National Trust's entrance and shop
at Lydford Gorge.
There is also a free map of the route, which helps you to make your
way around the gorge by following the numbered posts.
The first section of the walk takes you through Lambhole Wood -
a mix of lime, elm, hawthorn, cherry, laurel, and horse chestnut
trees. The flora around the streams here make it a real haven for
You're completely surrounded by the trees in this section, and it
can feel almost dark even on a bright day.
Passing through the dense Watervale Wood, you enter the gorge...and
at the bottom of the steep slope is the White Lady Waterfall. The
waterfall is 90ft high and the rushing water comes down almost vertically.
The birds love this spot, and if you're lucky you'll catch a glimpse
of a heron, or a kingfisher.
course, the problem with walking down a steep slope is that at some
point, you'll have to go up a steep slope too. So be prepared...
First of all though, there's Oldcleave Wood - full of oaks - and
Tunnel Falls, where a series of potholes have been formed by erosion.
The walk here is next to the river, and takes your over slippery
granite, so you have to hold on to the rail which is provided. Depending
on the river height, the water can be quite close to your feet!
The secret here is to take things carefully. Pixie Glen offers a
rare moment of calm, before The Devil's Cauldron. The potholes and
black rock take a battering from the white, foaming water, which
is heard long before it's seen.
This is the highlight of the walk for many people, so make sure
you take in the view before negotiating the climb back to the top:
the end of the walk.
The National Trust, which manages Lydford Gorge, stresses this walk
can be arduous and dangerous - so you must wear suitable footwear.
The opening hours vary according to the time of year, and some sections
can be closed to the public in certain conditions.
It's a good idea to phone ahead first for details. The National
Trust at Lydford Gorge is on 01822 820320.