Our work at Lydford Gorge
From clearing fallen trees to surveying the rare, pied flycatchers, there isn’t really an average day for the rangers at Lydford Gorge in Devon. Discover what it takes to keep Lydford Gorge safe and open for visitors, while also looking after the wildlife that call it home.
What we do day-to-day
Throughout the year we have a dedicated group of volunteers that help us with everything from car parking - to winching logs hundreds of metres to mend path edges.
There are three rangers at the gorge and around eight volunteers, who usually help out around one day a week. Because of the steep terrain of the gorge and with very limited vehicular access, the work can be very physical.
‘I love being outside every day surrounded by such beautiful scenery. It is also great to work with such a lovely, friendly team.’
Demelza, ranger, Lydford Gorge
Some of the regular jobs include litter-picking and emptying the dog waste bins, fixing steps and handrails, checking the gorge trails and trees for safety, feeding the birds, and surveying some of the rarer inhabitants.
Fallen timber is often reused to create path edging and revetments. These jobs require lots of heavy-duty machinery such as chainsaws and winches, all of which have to be carried into the gorge on foot, and back up at the end of the day.
The work is completely different between the summer and winter seasons.
In summer, the duties are varied, however, the team usually need to focus on keeping the gorge safe and looking smart, jobs such as litter-picking, safety checks, and trimming the hedges.
The winter season runs from November to February and so the team have lots of work to fit into a short amount of time.
In winter, most of the paths in the gorge are shut for safety. While there are no visitors the team check and repair all the handrails, steps and bridges as well as dealing with fallen or dangerous trees.
This is also the time that we get contractors in to survey the steep rock faces over the footpaths. A specialist team hang from ropes to remove loose rocks, that would otherwise fall in the coming year.
The section of cliff over the Devil’s Cauldron is surveyed every year and the rest of the gorge is surveyed on rotation.
Working with local schoolchildren
Lydford Gorge rangers have strong links with the local primary school, who visit six times a year.
In return for helping the rangers out by clearing leaves and cutting back rhododendron, the children get to spend a day at the gorge with the rangers doing all sorts of fun activities.
With your ongoing support, we're able to continue our vital conservation work. Thank you for helping to protect these special places.
Discover the history of Lydford Gorge from its earliest fossil formations and importance to the Anglo Saxons and Vikings, to how it influenced the Picturesque and inspired artists.
Immerse yourself in the wonders of nature and escape the hustle and bustle by enjoying a winter woodland walk to see the towering Whitelady Waterfall at Lydford Gorge.
Lydford Gorge is a one pawprint rated place. Discover how to have a dog-friendly visit, including where to walk, what to be aware of and what facilities are available for your four-legged friend.
A Tramper can be hired to access Whitelady Waterfall and the bird hide in the gorge, thanks to Countryside Mobility South West. Available again from spring 2024.
At Lydford Gorge the best winter adventure is to see Whitelady Waterfall. After heavy rain it’ll be at its roaring best. Get wellies on to splash your way around some fun ’50 things’ activities.
We believe that nature, beauty and history are for everyone. That’s why we’re supporting wildlife, protecting historic sites and more. Find out about our work.
Read about our strategy 'For everyone, for ever' here at the National Trust, which will take the organisation through to 2025.