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About the Author

From bicycle touring to backpacking, watercolour painting to clay modelling, the exploration journal captures my journey through many different interests and travel adventures.

I love to find those out of the way places that whisk you away from the concerns of everyday life. Whether this is by wading through an overgrown river or trying new paint techniques is up to you!

Waterfalls of Dartmoor and Bodmin Moor

Waterfalls of Dartmoor and Bodmin Moor

If you’ve followed the Exploration Journal for some time, you will know by now that I love waterfalls. They make frequent appearances in many of my posts and a lot of my time involves scrambling down muddy ravines or long walks just to reach them.

I find the prospect of locating waterfalls just as exciting as arriving at it and enjoying the thunderous roar of water hurtling past. I grew up in Cornwall and thought what better way of showing the hidden secrets than a new series of posts, which I’ve titled ‘Waterfalls of Dartmoor and Bodmin Moor (or thereabouts)’. Some have accompanying posts with route suggestions and photographs, others are just a name and little icon on the map, and you get to explore your own route there.

Dartmoor

I like to visit places before including them on here, so this map is missing about eight other Dartmoor waterfalls which I am planning to cover soon. I have left a list of these at the bottom.


East Dart Waterfall (Sandy Hole Pass)
Grid Ref: 627 810
Wild swimming potential: 🗸

Located in the middle of Dartmoor and difficult to access unless approaching from Princetown. The walk to Sandy Hole Pass feels as bleak as Dartmoor walks come but is well worth the effort to see the waterfall and enjoy a dip in the river. Many of the local secondary school students have fond memories of tramping across the top of this waterfall as part of Ten Tors.


Venford Falls
Grid Ref: SX688 716
Wild swimming potential: ✗

A well hidden and hard to find waterfall that is nevertheless very popular with walkers and the selfie hunters. The waterfall itself is hidden in a dip and surrounded by woods so check my ‘How to get there’ post before going. It is no good for wild swimming, however the nearby River Dart has many cascades and calm spots where you can swim in summer.


River Dart Cascades
Grid Ref: SX687 721
Wild swimming potential: 🗸

Just down from Venford Falls is the River Dart, a large river that frequently enters rapids and short yet torrential tumbling cascades. Inbetween rapids the river widens and has great swimming potential.


Tavy Cleave Falls
Grid Ref: SX555 833
Wild swimming potential: Likely/to be determined!

I took some liberty and have claimed this one as a waterfall despite there not being much mention of it on the internet. I first visited it in 2021 and was taken by the steep valley and fast flowing rapids. My advise is to walk to Sharp Tor that overlooks the valley to fully appreciate the scale of it, and then descend and scramble along the river.


Doe Tor Falls
Grid Ref: SX535 851
Wild swimming potential: 🗸

A relatively small yet abundantly charming river tumbling down off Dartmoor. If you follow it up towards Doe Tor there is a lovely pool that is perfect for taking a quick swim as well as numerous smaller pools throughout the descent.


Black Rock Falls
Grid Ref: SX532 853
Wild swimming potential: 🗸

One of the most accessible waterfalls on my list and so also one of the most popular, especially on hot summer days. On one side is a bench and memorial plaque and poem for Captain Hunter, a soldier in WW1 killed in France in 1918.


Lydford Gorge: Devil’s Cauldron & White Lady Waterfall
Grid Ref: SX501 831
Wild swimming potential: ✗
Paid entry: 🗸

Strictly speaking, Lydford Gorge falls just outside the border of the National Park but the difference is so minute and the waterfall so impressive that it would be a shame to not include it. Lydford Gorge is a section of the River Lyd owned by the National Trust and known for its being a raging torrent and a potential spot for disappointment if you visit during a hot summer. The flow is determined by how much rain and can peter away to a trickle during the dry months. You could potentially go swimming lower down the river but it’s very public and you pay to enter, so probably best looking elsewhere.

Other Dartmoor waterfalls:

The Devil’s Kitchen (nr Tavy Cleave Falls)
Black Tor Falls
Raddick Hill Falls
Shavecomb Falls
Yealm Falls
Broada Falls
Horsehoe Falls
Becky Falls
Canonteign Falls


Bodmin Moor

I currently only know of two waterfalls on Bodmin Moor – the famous Golitha Falls and the mostly unmarked and unknown Cascade Wood.


Golitha Falls
Grid Ref: SX227 689
Wild swimming potential: ✗

A series of waterfalls and rapids on the River Fowey. It rangers from wooded hillsides to a craggy gorge with slippery stones. It is one of the most popular spots on Bodmin Moor so arrive early and avoid the hordes of people that turn up during the holiday seasons. The best time to visit is Autumn and Winter when the river is in full flow and the crowds have dwindled.


Cascade Woods, North Hill
Grid Ref: SX255 770
Wild swimming potential: 🗸

My favourite spot and little known, making it perfect for escaping the house and enjoying time alone scrambling over slippery rocks and overgrown undergrowth. There are many pools for swimming however it is in the bottom of a valley and so doesn’t get much light.

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