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Lydford Gorge

dog at lydford gorge waterfall

An Action-Packed Day Out at Lydford Gorge in Devon

Owned by the National Trust, the magical Lydford Gorge just outside the town of Lydford offers visitors the chance to explore deeply wooded gorges along the River Lyd, follow scenic walking trails to thunderous 30-metre-high waterfalls, and try river scrambling and gorge climbing adventures amongst nature’s dramas.

With accessible paths catering for all abilities, scenic trails, a riverside cafe and interactive play opportunities, Lydford Gorge promises a varied and active day out surrounded by wildlife. It is justifiably included in the list of the 12 Best Waterfalls in Devon. Here’s everything you need to know to plan your visit.

path down to lydford gorge

Getting There

Lydford Gorge is located just outside the village of Lydford, around 14 miles north west of Tavistock. Well signed from the A386 between Tavistock and Okehampton, free parking is included for visitors once inside the main entrance.

By Car

It takes just 20 minutes to drive to Lydford Gorge from Tavistock. Simply follow the A386 towards Okehampton. Brown National Trust signs direct you to the entrance just past Lydford village.

By Bus

While less frequent, you can also catch the 118 bus from Tavistock towards Okehampton and alight at Lydford village. From there, it’s just a short walk to the Gorge entrance.

Opening Times

The main gorge trails, cafe and parking area are open daily from 9.30am until 5 or 6pm depending on season. The gorge remains open for walking year-round during daylight hours.

Entry Prices Standard admission includes the trails, parking and facilities:

  • Adults £11.00
  • Children £5.50
  • Family £27.50
  • National Trust Members Free

Additional Activity Pricing:

  • Guided Gorge Experience £18 adults, £60 family of 4
  • White Lady Waterfall Abseil £22
lydford gorge waterfall

Walking the Gorge Trails

Well-marked walking trails of varying lengths allow you to explore the gorge at your own pace. Some highlights include:

  • The easy Access Route – Follows the River Lyd from Lydford bridge past dramatic cascades to the lip of the top waterfall. Suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs with assistance.
  • The Main Circular Trail – Bridges, tunnels and staircases take you deep into the gorge with rainforest-like surroundings.
  • The Whitelady Waterfall – A steep 10 minute woodland walk to the base of the tallest 31 metre high waterfall.
  • Hideaway Hut – Nestled above a serene pool perfect for a picnic pitstop.

With waking routes from 20 minutes to a few hours, Lydford suits all hiking abilities.

lydford gorge bridge

River Scrambling and Gorge Climbing Adventures

For more intrepid explorers, bookable gorge activities provide adventures:

  • Guided Gorge Experiences – Scramble up the river gorge with helpful guides pointing out nature and stories. Tailored to different abilities.
  • White Lady Abseil – An exhilarating 11 metre controlled abseil down the waterfall into the plunge pool below.

Qualified instructors provide equipment and deliver insightful education into the gorge’s unique geology and ecology while ensuring safety.

Interactive Family Fun

The National Trust incorporates engaging trails and zones perfect for kids:

  • Puzzle Posts – Complete wooden jigsawchallenges winding through the forest.
  • Natural play areas – Build dens, balance beams and willow structures.
  • Plunge pool – Paddle in the chilly waters below the waterfall.
  • Boulder Stacking Trail – Little ones can start their own mini cairns.

With so many inviting play opportunities, kids will be kept busy for hours. Pick up explorer backpacks and activity sheets from reception.

whitelady falls at lydford

Facilities and Food

The Riverside Cafe provides hot meals, sandwiches, pastries and Devon cream teas in a tranquil spot overlooking the river. Toilets and baby changing facilities available.

Serving everything from morning coffee and pastries to lunchtime snacks and homemade cakes, it’s the perfect place to refuel and relax. The light and airy cafe has indoor and outdoor seating, so you can soak up the views over the gorge.

Tuck into a cream tea with freshly baked scones, clotted cream and preserves or try one of their hearty sandwiches or salads made with locally sourced ingredients. The cafe is open daily from 10am to 5pm in summer and 10am to 4pm in winter, with last orders for food 30 minutes before closing. With its friendly service and scrumptious homemade cakes including carrot cake, lemon drizzle and chocolate fudge.

The shop stocks nature-inspired gifts and souvenirs like waterfall photos and geological keepsakes.

Lydford Gorge offers scenic strolls, adventurous scrambles and accessible paths to suit all abilities. With intriguing trails and family-friendly nature play, an active day surrounded by the magic of rushing waters awaits.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How long do you need at Lydford Gorge? – The full walk around the gorge is approximatley three miles and usually takes about 2 hours, depending on how long you stop to take photographs!

Is Lydford Gorge dangerous? – No, it is not dangerous as long as you are sensible and careful. You should be aware that the terrain is treacherous in places, with several steep inclines and narrow, sometimes slippery paths. Having said that, it is fine for anyone who can walk comfortably.

What equipment do I need for a walk at Lydford Gorge? – A sturdy pair of walking shoes is advisable

Other nearby attractions

There are many great places in Dartmoor and around to visit if you are close to Lydfrod Gorge.

  • Castle Drogo – Impressive 20th century castle near Drewsteignton built by Julius Drewe. Offers guided tours of the interior and walks in the grounds with scenic views.
  • Morwellham Quay – Living museum that recreates a historic port and copper mine from the Victorian era. Ride on the mine railway and visit the farm.
  • Dartmoor Railway – Vintage steam train rides along scenic Dartmoor National Park, departing from Okehampton. Step back in time aboard beautiful heritage carriages.
  • Roadford Lake – Large reservoir in Lifton with walks, cycling, fishing, water sports and outdoor adventure activities available. Cafe and visitor centre onsite.
  • Lydford Gorge Cafe – Relaxing spot to refuel after exploring the gorge, serving delicious homemade cakes, light lunches and Devon cream teas.
  • Finch Foundry – Historic 19th century working water-powered forge open to visitors to see blacksmiths demonstrate traditional techniques.
  • Honeycombe Farm – Family adventure park with pony rides, tractor tours, den building, archery and more set on a scenic Dartmoor farm.
  • Tamar Otter and Wildlife Centre – Rescue and conservation centre in North Petherwin where you can see otters, owls, deer and other wildlife up close.
  • Launceston Steam Railway – Heritage steam railway running narrow gauge trains along the Tamar Valley from Launceston to New Mills. Great for train buffs.

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