Lydford Gorge – Dartmoor
In the winter only the short walk to the White Lady Waterfall is opened between 11 a.m. and 3.30 p.m. Devil’s Cauldron and the gorge can get closed by a gate.
In spring and summer, the whole gorge is opened from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Check the opening hours first. The gorge can get flooded and is closed after several days of heavy rain.
The short waterfall trail is very popular and gets crowded during weekends and bank holidays and especially in the pleasant summer months. Also, the gorge trail can get busy. Fewer people hike the trail mid-week and rain keeps the crowds away. Luckily, the hike is arranged in a one-way system clockwise due to the narrow and often slippery path. Start the hike at the waterfall entrance on weekends at 10 a.m. to enjoy the White Lady Waterfall before it gets too crowded.
Throughout spring and summer wildflowers like the bluebell and wood anemone both in May and also wild garlic are in bloom along the trail.
- Often they leave the gate open. This enables you to start the hike early morning before or in the evening in summer after the crowds. There is a donation box to put in the entrance fee.
- We recommend staying in Lydford for one night to hike to Widgery Cross which is still a hidden gem. Check out the place just around the corner. We highly recommend the Lydford Country House 15 minutes walk from the gorge.
Climate Tavistock (south of Lydford)
Lydford experiences a temperate climate. July and August are the most pleasant months with almost 20°C on average, but 30°C can occur in the summer. May, June, September, and October are cool with temps between 10°C and 17°C. November to mid-April are cold on average 3°C to 8°C. Usually, the temps in winter are above 0°C. The wettest months with drizzle and precipitation are October to March. Anyhow, don't forget your rain jacket. Rain may occur throughout the year.
It’s a National Trust property which means an entrance fee is requested if you are not a member, but it's worth to do.
The waterfall is 30 meters / 90 feet high and the trail 3 miles / 5 km long plus Tucker’s Pool off the main route around 500 meters in total. We started the hike at the waterfall entrance. The steep ascent to the waterfall was slippery from the rain the day before. After heavy rainfall, the waterfall is at its peak. From here you cross the river Lyd on a suspension bridge, the same river as on our hike to Widgery Cross on Dartmoor. The narrow trail leads along the river through lush vegetation and passes tunnel falls a series of potholes.
Handrails are installed where needed. The gorge gets narrower, and Devil’s Caldron is, in our opinion, a must. Several people were not brave enough to enter.
After Devil’s Caldron and Tucker’s Pool you get to the main entrance and the tea room. It's nice to sit outside drinking a tea on a sunny day. Afterward, the trail leads through the forest back to the car park. If you visit the gorge with children shorter, alternate routes are existing.