Things to see and do at Lydford Gorge

Moss covered rocks in the river Lyd, Lydford Gorge

Nestled on the edge of Dartmoor, the impressive landscape of Lydford Gorge offers an opportunity to immerse yourself in the wonders of nature. Winding walking trails take you through ancient woodlands with cascading waterfalls and fascinating rock formations carved out by the River Lyd.

 

Visit the Whitelady Waterfall

This 30-metre high cascade is a spectacular sight and makes for a great photo opportunity. It formed when the River Lyd captured the headwaters of the River Burn, the Lyd’s greater strength meant that it could erode the bottom of the gorge faster than the River Burn, resulting in the huge difference in height you see today. Whitelady Waterfall can be seen on the Waterfall and River trails.

Whitelady Waterfall, Lydford, Devon
Whitelady Waterfall, Lydford, Devon
Whitelady Waterfall, Lydford, Devon

Traverse Tunnel Falls

A long wooden bridge takes you up and over a series of potholes formed by the action of the River Lyd eroding down through the bedrock. This is Tunnel Falls which gets its name from the tunnel cut into the rock by the Victorians, which is still part of the path today. You can see this on the River Trail.

Take a time out

A trip into the gorge is a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of modern life. Look out for the chalkboards dotted around the trails to try out some fun nature-inspired activities that help you reconnect with the natural world.

You may wish to try some forest bathing, proven to help reduce stress, by letting your senses engage with the woodland around you. Find a spot away from the path and listen to the sound of the water, smell the damp earth and vegetation, and observe the smaller details of the scenery that surrounds you. 

Explore a very green scene

Lydford Gorge is a temperate rainforest, a habitat that is becoming increasingly rare in the UK. Nearly every surface is covered with plants, moss, lichen, and liverworts. As the River Lyd and Whitelady Waterfall crash through the gorge they release moisture into the air and help to keep the gorge lush and green. Why not take a minute to look around and try to count how many different greens you can see?

Spot wildlife

Summer is the best time of year to look for butterflies, dragonflies, and damselflies. Keep your eyes peeled for a keeled skimmer dragonfly in the orchard meadow, catch a glimpse of a speckled wood butterfly in a woodland glade, and delight in the beautiful demoiselle damselflies as they flit along the riverbank. For more information about the species that live at Lydford Gorge, pick up a free spotter sheet from visitor welcome.