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Lydford Town in Devon

Photograph of Lydford


Formerly a town but now little more than a village, Lydford lies on the western fringes of Dartmoor some 7 miles northeast of Tavistock.

It currently has a population of just under 500 inhabitants. Lydford lies on the River Lyd, which traverses a deep, narrow gorge, crossed by a single span bridge. Running south west from the village is Lydford Gorge, a 1.5-mile wooded gorge cut through the slate rock by the River Lyd. The highlight of the gorge is 100 ft White Lady waterfall. Lydford Gorge is now in the stewardship of the National Trust.

Dating from at least Saxon times, Lydford was known as Hlidaforda or Hlidan, lating mutating through Lyghatford, Lidefort and Lideford to the Lydford we know today. Historically Lydford was an economic powerhouse, not the sleepy village which it is today.

The village was established as one of the four Saxon burhs of Devon by king Alfred the Great. It first appears in recorded history in 997, when the Danes made a plundering expedition up the Tamar and Tavy as far as Hlidaforda. The attack is described in the following passage translated from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: "In this year, they (the Vikings) visited Devonshire and at the mouth of the Severn, pillaging in Cornwall, Devon and Wales. They went to Watchet, and there caused much damage by dint of arson and wholesale slaughter. Then they turned at Penwith Tail to the south and up into the mouth of the Tamar, travelling to Lydford, burning and slaughtering anything they came across, and burned down Ordwulfs monastery at Tavistock, carrying vast amounts of loot back to their ships".

In the reign of Edward the Confessor Lydford was the most populous centre in Devonshire after Exeter, but the Domesday Survey relates that forty houses had been laid waste since the Conquest, and the town never recovered its former prosperity. Under the Normans, and according to the Domesday Book, Lydford is taxed equally with London, giving an idea of its significance at the time, the reason being that the parish of Lydford embraced the entirety of the Forest of Dartmoor under the Normans (as it did until the 20th century).

Events near Lydford

Thu, 1 Aug (ca. 19 km)

Feast of Lammas or Lugnasadh

Sat, 1 Aug (ca. 13 km)

Feast of Lammas or Lugnasadh

Sun, 1 Aug (ca. 13 km)

Feast of Lammas or Lugnasadh

Mon, 1 Aug (ca. 13 km)

Feast of Lammas or Lugnasadh

Tue, 1 Aug (ca. 19 km)

Feast of Lammas or Lugnasadh

Thu, 1 Aug (ca. 19 km)

Feast of Lammas or Lugnasadh

Fri, 1 Aug (ca. 19 km)

Feast of Lammas or Lugnasadh

arrow All Devon events

Dining out near Lydford

Local Accommodation


Cottage Holidays

There is a great choice of cottages for rent in the local area. Take a look at the beautiful cottages in Lydford, Tavistock, Okehampton and Princetown.

Holiday Parks

Holiday Parks

Stay at a nearby Holiday Park and keep the kids amused all day! Parks in the vicinity include those at:



arrowGreat Torrington




Plenty of hotels are available locally. Consider those in the local towns:






Caravan Holidays

In the vicinity is a choice of camping and caravan sites offering high quality, affordable holiday accommodation. Consider camps in Dartmoor, Tavistock, Highampton and Moretonhampstead.

Nearby Attractions




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