Atomium Escalator: Travelling through hyperspace in the Belgian tourist attraction
Out of the two gorges I've been to (the other being a famously cheesy one) Lydford is definitely my favourite. Visiting Lydford Gorge and the nearby village this weekend felt like a real discovery, somewhere genuinely exciting to explore without being bombarded by constant reminders that you're at a tourist attraction.
The gorge's walk started out like any other Dartmoor valley walk but soon developed its own character once it wound closer to the water. With various kinds of stone dramatically shaped by the River Lyd over thousands of years there were some impressively curved channels in the gorge's walls of rock.
Numbers that appeared on posts along the path, with a telephone icon, turned out to be markers in case of emergencies as it soon became apparent that in places the gorge got precarious, and the narrow stone walkways slippery. And this is one of the things that made it exciting – in places it felt like if you weren't careful you could slip and fall into the river. A reminder that a little bit of danger is always fun in a world of tourist destinations bubblewrapped in health and safety precautions.
The circular walk around the gorge reached its climax in Devil's Cauldron. It was hard to capture how impressive it was in photos or video but its high rocky walls formed a circular pit where the river burst through into a turbulent pool and created a fantastic and deafening roaring sound. The cauldron was only accessible by a narrow walkway and once inside it was easy to understand how it got its name.
After the gorge Lydford village turned out to be a great place to wander around outside of normal opening times, on a perfect summer's day when there's still plenty of exploring time after 5pm before the sun sets. A small castle, a church and the remains of a Normal hill fort were all next door to each other making for an interesting and easy walk. The church's graveyard is host to "The Watchmaker's Tomb" which sounds more exciting and mysterious than it was but certainly got the imagination ticking in a place that appeared largely unaffected by the passage of time.
As a bonus on the drive back I passed one of my favourite spots on the Moors – Brentor Church, after taking a wrong turn. A place understandably surrounded by legend the church looks like it erupted out of the craggy summit, flipping the bird to the Devil (who, one legend has it, tried to destroy it) and the world below. And the view from the top is pretty spectacular.
As was the view of the tor on the road home, from far away with the sun setting behind it.
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Mark is a freelancer who specialises in creative copywriting and content creation. Starting out as a freelance blogger he's experienced at putting his copywriting skills to work on a variety of subjects and can easily turn his hand to different styles. In his years as a freelance writer he's always brought a creative edge to everything he's written.
In addition to being a freelance copywriter and a hard-working wordsmith Mark has also forged other forms of content for the web and print working as a photographer, video editor and a general content creator on a freelance basis.
Based in Devon Mark lives within questing distance of the UK's Middle Earth aka Dartmoor. He likes his detectives hard-boiled, his eggs runny, and his time travel non-paradoxical.
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