Lydford Gorge is the deepest gorge in the South West of England and is home to ancient woodlands, cascading waterfalls and fascinating rock formations carved out by the River Lyd. The gorge was created by melting ice waters from the retreating glaciers at the end of the last ice age, around 11,500 years ago. The present river continues this process, eroding and cutting into the rocks through the gorge.
Owing to the value of its outstanding biological value and geological history, Lydford Gorge has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) by Natural England. There is an abundance of wildlife and plants found in the gorge, and this guidebook describes and illustrates much of what you might see.
As well as what you might see in the undergrowth and in the canopies overhead, there are stand-out attractions, such as the 28.2-metre high Whitelady Waterfall, which after heavy rain turns from gentle cascade into raging torrent. In one of the deepest sections of the gorge you will find the Devil’s Cauldron, in which you can walk out over the water to a viewing platform, as the first Victorian tourists would have done. From the tumbling Tunnel Falls to the serenity of Tucker’s Pool, the gorge offers tranquillity and drama, flora and fauna, myth and folklore, all neatly encapsulated in this guide.
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