Lydford Gorge (National Trust), Lydford, Dartmoor National Park

Lydford Gorge (National Trust), Lydford, Dartmoor National Park

Family attraction/walking

Lydford Gorge is a major visitor attraction in Dartmoor National Park. On the outskirts of Lydford, running down the western border of the Park, the gorge is managed by the National Trust. The gorge is home to the thunderous Devil's Cauldron and what is said to be the highest natural waterfall in South West England. The circular walk around the lip and floor of the gorge is an extraordinary experience.

The River Lyd rises on Dartmoor's high north plateau between Corn Ridge and Great Links Tor. It flows fast down the flank of the moors to Lydford where it has cut a gorge and steep sided wooded valley into the landscape. Waterfalls cascade from the valley walls. Water thunders and rolls across polished rock.

To visit, head for Lydford. As is the case with most National Trust properties, Lydford Gorge is well signposted. There's a car park next to the visitor centre, shop, tea room and kids' play area.

Once you have your ticket, we'd recommend following the full circular walk around the gorge. This route runs clockwise along the lip of the gorge before descending sharply to the riverside by the gorgeous White Lady Waterfall. From there, you follow the west bank of the Lyd on a dramatic path. *Be careful as it can get slippery when wet and, in parts, there are pretty big drops by the side of the path.* As you head up the river, you move through breathtaking scenery. Gorge walls tower above you. The river roars below. The highlight, arguably, is the Devil's Cauldron at the upper end of the gorge. The river rages through a narrow stretch of rock. Metal walkways run above the water. The power and noise of the water is intoxicating. From the Devil's Cauldron area, a path ascends to the tea room. We've walked this route on many occasions. Depending on your pace, it takes between two and four hours. Cream tea or ice cream is obligatory afterwards.

Once you've finished at the gorge, pop up to English Heritage's Lydford Castle. There's a pub next door.

Lydford Gorge is one of many amazing gorges or wooded valleys that fringe the plateaus of Dartmoor National Park. Also visit Dart Gorge and Teign Gorge, Lustleigh Cleave and Tavy Cleave.