Summer picnics and wildlife at the gorge

Family picnic on the grass

There are plenty of wild creatures at the gorge and taking time to sit and rest is one of the best ways to spot them. Why not plan a relaxed summer picnic and see what wildlife appears while you munch your lunch.


Whether you have a whole day to take your time and fully explore the gorge or whether you only want a short walk and somewhere peaceful to rest - the gorge can provide it all.

The orchard has lots of space to spread picnic blankets and a children’s play area to tire the younger ones out with a zip wire and climbing frames. Being close to the Devil’s Cauldron car park you can picnic before or after your walk. Or even half way round if you start your walk at the Waterfall entrance. The orchard is a great place to spot dragonflies and damselflies zipping about, and a wander through the long grass will get the grasshoppers leaping out of your way.

Play park in the orchard
Play park in the orchard
Play park in the orchard

The Pixie Glen picnic area is a secluded spot down in the gorge, off the main track just before you reach the Devil’s Cauldron. Here there are picnic tables sheltering under the canopy of Oaks, a good place to see what woodland wildlife appears when you are patient. 

If you are planning to stop for a picnic by the river then a waterproof picnic blanket would be highly recommended. Part of the charm of the gorge is the lush growth which is sustained by the constantly damp atmosphere. There are wider sections at Pixie Glen and Whitelady Waterfall where you can sit and listen to the sound of flowing water while you picnic. Look out for brown trout in the deeper pools, and dragonflies, damselflies, dippers and grey wagtails patrolling the river.

Picnic under the shade of the trees
Picnic under the shade of the trees
Picnic under the shade of the trees

The picnic tables at the Waterfall entrance are great if you need to stay near the facilities. They are gently shaded by beech trees and the bird feeders attract lots of the more common garden birds whose antics can be very entertaining.

You could also treat yourself to an ice cream or purchase some top-ups for the picnic hamper from either tea-room. As always we would ask that you take responsibility for your own litter and take it home, then the gorge can remain special for everyone who visits.

Cool off with an ice-cream this summer
A girl eating an ice cream
Cool off with an ice-cream this summer