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Lydford Gorge in Dartmoor National Park

Hi all,

Has anyone hiked the Lydford Gorge in Dartmoor National Park?

I have GOOGLED around alot, and have not found answers to my questions below.

I have read on the WEB that there are 2 entrances. I believe one entrance is the Devils Cauldron. Some folks say that it is better to start at the Devils Punchbowl.

I am a little confused. Is there a circular hike around the Gorge?

How many miles would it be to do a roundtrip hike?

How many waterfalls are there in the Gorge?

Thank you very much for any and all information you might have.


Posted by
32 posts

Lydford Gorge is lovely, it stretches about 1.5 miles from the Devil's Cauldron to the White Lady Falls. The Devil's Cauldron (Devil's Punchbowl is the same place) is definitely worth the rather strenuous walk on narrow, steep, often uneven and at times slippery paths. There are two entrances, the first one is closest to the Devil's Cauldron and refreshments, loos etc. It also has the bigger car park. The second entrance (also has refreshments) is further along the same narrow Devon lane and is much nearer to the White Lady Waterfall. From the A386 (Okehampton to Tavistock road), Lydford is signposted - drive past the Castle Inn, the Lydford castle ruins (free access) and the church then the road bends and narrows and not far after this, the entrance to the Gorge is signposted on the right hand side. This is the main entrance and it's the one closest to the Devil's Cauldron. There is a circular walk to visit the White lady's waterfall, the Tunnel falls and the Devil's Cauldron and will take a little over 2 hours. However the path to the Devil's Cauldron is narrow, slippery and uneven and can be very busy, particularly at weekends, so allow nearer to 3 hours if you want to visit all three. A leaflet map detailing the various walks is available at each entrance and the paths are well signposted. Parking is free but there is an entry charge to the gorge. Make sure you have suitable hiking boots!

Posted by
203 posts

Hi Berg,

Thank you so very much for your information about the gorge!! I am entranced by the amazing pictures I have seen of this place. I am so happy to hear your personal thoughts, however. In my mind, there is nothing like knowing 'real' experiences of a place.

Thank you also for telling me about the specific waterfalls. It's so good to know how much time to allow for this, also.

All of the links you listed are just TREMENDOUS!!!!! They provide such EXCELLENT information!!

One final question, if you don't mind. Can a person walk around the gorge after 5 PM? The National Trust site says that it closes at 5 PM. We are planning on visting this in May of this year, when I believe the sun will not set until around 9 PM.

Thank you again,

Posted by
32 posts

Officially no! I think they used to allow 30 - 45 minutes after the official closing time before the car park gates were locked. It's a big wooded site so ensuring everyone is out before the gates are locked is problematic. But you certainly used to be able to hop over the fence/gate at the White lady waterfall end of the site, without too much problem. If you plan on using the on site car parking then you may find your car locked in. There use to be a FREE car park directly opposite the Castle Inn in Lydford (a short walk) with no time restrictions, so that maybe a better choice if you want to risk being on site after hours. But I haven't been down there for a few years now, so things might have changed.