Lydford Gorge – 3 autumn videos

I went for a short walk around parts of Lydford Gorge yesterday. The Gorge is not fully open now and is operating under its winter hours opening – if you plan to visit check our website first to ensure you are not disappointed. NB access to the White Lady Waterfall is possible all year round. See here for further details.

Upstream from the Pixie Glen bridge


In the Devil’s Cauldron

Lydford Gorge – My favourite walk

Ursula Mann, one of our  Visitor Reception Assistants at Lydford Gorge runs our Facebook site too and has recently been trained to record videos and make short films. Here is one she has made featuring Katie Glew, another of our VRAs at Lydford talking about walking her dog at the Gorge.


The National Trust centrally really liked the video and posted it on our national YouTube Channel- good effort – well done to everyone involved.





New interpretation at Lydford Gorge

We have recently installed some new interpretation for our visitors at Lydford Gorge – I really like it.

LG iinterpretation 4
Bright new map showing you the routes and things you might see on your walk

LG iinterpretation 7
Banner at the entrance  – lots for kids to do over the summer holidays

LG iinterpretation 6
Where else can you go on Dartmoor?

LG iinterpretation 2
Information about the ancient village of Lydford – lots to see in the village too -including a Norman motte and bailey castle

LG iinterpretation 1And the infamous Lydford Castle

LG iinterpretation 3
Thank you for your support – it costs a lot every year to keep the paths open and safe

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And finally a thank you to our members – without you it wouldn’t be possible

LG works1
Here is where we spend some of the money – the Ranger team (staff and volunteers) repairing a flood damaged path and river bank

LG worksIt takes time and a lot of muscle power – we can’t get vehicles into the Gorge ….

A rare moth discovered at Lydford Gorge

Our Ranger at Lydford Gorge, Steve Phillips found a really rare moth on Tuesday at the bottom of the White Lady Water Fall. The moth is called a clouded magpie. The caterpillars feed on various species of elm and has always been very local in Devon.

The Clouded Magpie – photo by Steve Phillips

Clouded magpieThere are a few records from the 1880s and early 1900s but there a very few recent sightings. There are a couple of records from the Lyd Valley more recently. It is really good to know that the clouded magpie survives at Lydford Gorge. The species must have had a very difficult time as a result of Dutch Elm Disease but fortunately Wych Elm which is found at Lydford Gorge has fared better than the smaller leaved elms in the East of the country.

A great find by Ranger Steve – well worth keeping your eyes open – you never know what you might find next.

Lydford Gorge is well worth a visit at this time of year – it is a magical place swathed in green from the sessile oaks and bubbling with noises from the River Lyd. For details on how to visit Lydford Gorge – see here.

Lydford’s grey wagtail chicks take to the wing

Yesterday lunchtime I had a quick walk down into Lydford Gorge. I was lucky to find a noisy family of grey wagtails –  in the last couple of days the chicks have left the nest and are now flying around the river but are still being fed by their parents. Here are a few photos

Grey wag 3Grey wagtail fledgling (the name given to a chick which has now learnt to fly)

Grey wag 4Lots of light grey and a hint of yellow around the tail

Grey wag 2Every 5-10 minutes the adults would come and feed the birds who were constantly calling

Grey wag 1I saw two fledglings – one on each side of the river


LydLydford Gorge and the Lyd – its like going up the Amazon!

CauldronThe Cauldron was quite lively yesterday

FrondA male fern frond unfolds

Lydford Gorge’s health and safety

My job can be very varied. Yesterday I spent the day at Lydford Gorge with our Area Ranger Adrian Shaw, a couple of people from the Trust’s Operational Risk Team, a lady from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and another lady who is an Environmental Health Officer (EHO) representing local authorities with regard to the National Trust in England. The aim was to detail our approach, at Lydford Gorge and therefore the National Trust as a whole, to visitor safety. I suppose it is natural to be anxious whenever the HSE or an EHO visits one of our properites but on this occasion it was for a fact finding visit opposed to an enforcement one!

Gorge 1 On the viewing platform in the Devil’s Cauldron
Scarlet elf cup On the way round we found some scarlet elf cups (Sarcoscypha coccinea) which are becoming rare in Britain and Europe and as a result have been red listed!

Fungus_We also found this rather splendid and common bracket fungus on a fallen tree by the White Lady Waterfall
Gorge 2The White Lady Waterfall
Gorge3The White Lady again accompanied by one of our winter reindeer

All in all the meeting was very successful. However I had to mention to the four Health and Safety specialists as they left the Gorge that they had in fact been rather fortunate as the Gubbins tend not to like their type and couldn’t have noticed their visit!

Lydford Gorge’s Spirit of Place

The Dartmoor team along with a number of Regional colleagues have just completed our Spirit of Place statement for Lydford Gorge. It is based on how we all feel about the place and what our visitors like about it too. I hope you like it too – we will now use it to bench mark everything we do at Lydford Gorge thus ensuring we keep it a special and magical place.

Walking through the gorge is a challenging but rewarding adventure. The only way through is on foot where you will discover mystical woodlands with cascading waterfalls, tranquil pools and gurgling streams, a timeless treasure which has ignited the imagination since Victorian times and before.


The river Lyd has carved potholes and whirlpools over thousands of years, sometimes thundering and tumbling and in other places gently gliding with its moods ever changing in rhythm with the seasons and the weather. The sound of dripping water, birds singing and trees and rocky crags towering above you makes you feel you are in a primeval world.


The gorge defended all who lived in Lydford with the deep chasm acting as a natural barrier to any invading threatening forces. Imagine people who over many hundreds of years harnessed the natural power of the river through milling and tin streaming with their history and lives now shrouded by layer upon layer of vegetation.


Mysterious yet romantic and enchanting; myths, legends and folklore abound. Wild flowers, fungi, garlic and bluebells mixed with the scents and sounds of wildlife in their natural habitat capture your senses as you walk. This is a ‘temperate English rainforest’, luxuriantly green and humid, cut off from civilisation yet available for visitors to experience and enjoy.



Lydford Gorge – spring approaches

We were at Lydford Gorge yesterday afternoon with various National Trust colleagues at meeting where we are beginning to look at improving the marketing of the property.

Some people had never been to the gorge before so we gave them a whistle stop ‘behind the scenes’ tour.

Part of the Gorge is open to the public for half term this week – you can get to the White Lady Waterfall and walk the top path but you can’t do the riverside walk or get to the Devil’s Cauldron (we are still removing dangerous trees and carry out rockface inspections)

Frogspawn LydfordFrog spawn in the pond on the old railway track – first I’ve seen this year



Wild garlic LydfordWild garlic coming into leaf



LG1The gorge just below the Devil’s Cauldron

LG2The Devil’s Cauldron – note the flooring is not in place – will be ready for the next season in March though

LG3Under the road bridge

Perhaps you are surprised that this is one of our busiest times of the year?

Maybe you think that all National Trust places are closed in February so it must be pretty quiet for us all at the moment?

Well – think again  – lots of our ‘pay for entry properties’ are actually open – check out the NT website for details  here and of course our countryside is always open – that’s approaching 8000 acres on Dartmoor…. we are always busy!

It is also a time when we are getting ready for half term – which is next week (it only seemed that Christmas was last week?) Here are a few photos from Lydford Gorge today where lots of people were busy sprucing the place up.

IMG_3110In an hour’s time both the door and the down pipe will be Lydford green

IMG_3108Some clever patching work on the entrance to Visitor Reception – the Dartmoor weather does take its toll and we need to keep on top of it!

IMG_3109So why am I showing you this? A gate post by the Tearoom entrance?  This is a new post replacing the one which was ‘destroyed’ last year by solitary wasps…. Don’t believe me – look at these two blog posts from last summer – here and here.

Ectemnius6This is the culprit!

FullSizeRenderAnd finally ….. February is a big month also for planning meetings in the National Trust – we had such a meeting this morning at Lydford Gorge and very kindly, my partner Caroline baked this ‘dual’ tart – fruit on one side and treacle on the other to help us through the .. detail in the agenda. Much enjoyed and appreciated by the Lydford (and later in the day Parke) teams – thanks Caroline :))

Maybe this is the beginning of a ‘Test Match Special’ Cake Thing – let’s hope so!

Feel free to email me for delivery details.