Last week we had a great week exploring Devon. We try to go a few times a year to visit family and there’s always somewhere new to explore. We took the opportunity to meet up with some friends and met half-way from where we were staying at Lydford Gorge. This is the deepest river gorge in the South West with a 30m high waterfall, owned by the National Trust.
Exploring Lydford and Lydford Gorge with kids
Due to the current pandemic restrictions you can only visit certain parts of Lydford Gorge such as the waterfall car park, the circular walk to Whitelady Waterfall, the tea-rooms and toilets. You can also only buy tickets in advance of your visit.
I think we must have visited on one of the hottest days of the year but we had a lovely drive through the Devon countryside along the edge of Dartmoor. Our tickets were timed so we arrived on time and were shown where to park. We walked down to Lydford Gorge which was a lovely shady walk under the canopy of the trees. The water was shallow and perfect for the children and puppy to cool off. We’ve been trying to introduce the puppy to water and he loved playing in the water, and drinking it!
There was plenty to spot along the way and we all loved this wooden toadstool with copper coins pushed into the wood.
It wasn’t a very long walk to Whitelady Waterfall but it was spectacular. I was so glad that we had early morning tickets as we had the place to ourselves. the kids paddled in the water and loved learning about the waterfall.
The paths were pretty narrow and impossible to socially distance which is why much of the walks are closed off for now. We were so glad that we could still visit the Whitelady Waterfall though as it was worth the walk.
Sadly the beauty of the gorge meant we had to climb back up again! We took it slowly with plenty of stops for some water. It was a bit of a climb on a very hot day but we did it. We rewarded ourselves with a picnic in the shade of the trees and an ice cream from the tea-rooms.
As we were in the area we decided to head off to the pretty village of Lydford. Someone had recommended the Castle Inn and they had the prettiest pub garden to stop for a drink and a chat with views over Lydford Castle.
The tiny village of Lydford boasts three defensive features. Near the centre is a 13th century tower on a mound, built as a prison. It later became notorious for harsh punishments, with one of its inmates calling it ‘the most annoious, contagious and detestable place within this realm’. To the south is an earlier Norman earthwork castle and to the north, there are Saxon town defences. It’s definitely worth stopping to explore if you are visiting Lydford Gorge.