A winter walk to blow away the cobwebs

River in winter with snow covered wooded banks

The Whitelady waterfall can be very dramatic in winter, whether it is cloaked in frost and mist or gushing after heavy rain. The gorge under a heavy frost or (fingers crossed) dusting of snow can be truly magical.

The Whitelady waterfall can be reached by three routes all of which can be turned into a circular walk by taking a different route back to the entrance.

A frosty looking Whitelady waterfall
Whitelady waterfall with ice and frost on the surrounding rock

The short and steep path has over 200 steps, so if you are planning on taking this route you might want to go down the steps to the waterfall rather than up. Admire the views that open up as the leaves fall from the trees and listen out for the crashing of the river Burn as it joins the river Lyd creating the Whitelady waterfall.

The long and easy path, as the name suggests, takes a longer route to the waterfall with no steps. The path meets the river Lyd and follows it up stream to the waterfall; look out for river birds such as dipper and grey wagtail. Along the way have a peep into the old mine shaft, it is believed to be an exploratory working for copper and is the longest shaft in the gorge. It is barred with a gate to keep people out but allow other residents in. Due to the conditions in the shaft, which stays dry and at a relatively constant temperature, it provides a safe habitat for a number of bat species.

A dipper ready to forage for food in the river
Dipper on rock in the river

The waterfall can also be reached via the old railway track which links up with the long and easy path. The railway played a big role in putting Lydford Gorge on the map, bringing visitors from cities such as Plymouth and Exeter quicker and cheaper than ever before. At the end of the old railway track is a bird hide, a great place to rest and look out for woodland birds such as the beautiful nuthatch and great spotted woodpecker.

A nuthatch climbing a moss covered tree
Nuthatch climbing moss covered tree