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Our work at Lydford Gorge

Rangers clearing fallen trees from the footpath at Lydford Gorge, Devon
Rangers clearing fallen trees from the footpath at Lydford Gorge, Devon | © National Trust Images/Mel Peters

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.

Changing seasons

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.

Safety checks

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.

Young visitor mini raft making at Lydford Gorge, Devon
Young visitor mini raft making at Lydford Gorge, Devon | © National Trust Images/Mel Peters

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.

Thank you

With your ongoing support, we're able to continue our vital conservation work. Thank you for helping to protect these special places.

The bare rock footpath that takes hikers along the River Lyd at Lydford Gorge, Devon


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