The Dartmoor Village of National Historical Importance
in operation since 1999 at no cost to public funds.

Web-Master: Derek W Palmer


Lydford Gorge showing the River Lyd Waterfall The Mysterious Lydford Gorge

The Gorge and its Location

Just south of the centre of Lydford, at the bottom of the hill that acted as part of King Alfred's defences of the Saxon town is a stone bridge over the Lyd, a river that flows fast and southwards from the hills of Dartmoor.   Immediately below the bridge the river falls sharply down into the deep and beautiful, tree-lined ravine known as Lydford Gorge.

This is the deepest gorge in south-west England, and stretches a distance of about 2.5 km (1.5 miles) from the spectacular "Devil's Cauldron" whirlpool at the bridge end to the very fine 30-metres-tall "White Lady Waterfall" at the other end.   There are excellent beautiful walks from one end of the Gorge to the other, alongside the River Lyd and on the winding upper path that gives a view steeply down into the Gorge through the very tall and slender trees that stretch upwards to find the light.

During the 17th Century Lydford Gorge was infamous for being the hide-out of a large family of outlaws, the Gubbins, who terrorised the neighbourhood and stole sheep from the farms of Dartmoor.   In the years at the beginning of the 19th Century during the war against Napoleon of France, Lydford Gorge became, for many travellers, a replacement for the Grand Tour of Continental Europe, and was much appreciated and valued for its grandeur and beauty.

Visiting the Gorge

Lydford Gorge is owned by the National Trust and is open to the public throughout its length during the Summer months, and open at the White-Lady (southern) end in the Autumn, Winter and Spring. There is an entrance at each end of the Gorge, and a refreshment-room / restaurant at the Devil's Cauldron (northern) end.

Please note that walking in the gorge is strenuous, with steep, narrow and uneven and sometimes slippery paths, especially along the river-side path. Effective walking boots are essential. Due to its rugged nature and steep vertical drops it is essential that children are supervised at all times.

Information about access for pushchairs and wheelchairs is given below.

Opening Dates and Entry Prices
To find out the current opening dates & times and the entry prices,
please telephone to the Lydford Gorge office on 01-822-820-320 or 01-822-820-441.

Access with Pushchairs and Wheelchairs
The southern end of the Gorge that leads to the Waterfall, and the northern end (main entrance, shop and tea-room) are completely accessible with a pushchair, and very worthwhile. However it is not possible to walk the whole length of the Gorge with a pushchair because, although the top southerly-going path is suitable for a pushchair, the return northwards along the river is a narrow rocky path with some steep awkward parts. But from both the southern and northern ends you will have a good view of the river, and at the northern end there is the spectacular "Devil's Cauldron" which is easily reached (but you will need to leave the pushchair a little way back). For wheelchairs, some of the main southerly-going path is accessible but it has many ups and downs. A new path suitable for wheelchair access is being brought into use; please enquire about this via one of the Gorge telephone numbers stated below.

Contact: Lydford Gorge
The National Trust telephone numbers at the two ends of the Gorge are 01-822-820-320 and 01-822-820-441 respectively.

General Enquiries to the National Trust
The telephone number for enquiries to the National Trust is 08-704-584-000, its e-mail address is , and its internet web-site is at

The BBC Page about Lydford Gorge

Lydford Web-Site Home Page

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Copyright D W & A P Palmer, 1999 and Onwards
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