I have an interest in the prison, as it features in my novel, Dart, which is set on the moor during the Black Death. Back in the day, Lydford Law was a synonym for injustice.
'I oft have heard of Lydford Law,
How in the morn they hang and draw,
And sit in judgement after'
wrote William Browne of Tavistock in 1644.
Far more agreeable is the neighbouring Castle Inn, which dates from 1550.
It has some modern stained glass on an ancient theme ...
... and a very appealing snug, my favourite place to eat lunch.
The gorge is just up the road but another world once you are there. The first part of the walk takes you through Lambhole Wood, a stretch of ancient oak and hazel woodland along the top edge. At this time of year it's enough to say that it's breathtaking and let the camera take care of its poetry.
Every now and then water spilled across our path and on down the hillside ...
... and then a longer, sunlit vista over the gorge would open up through gaps in the trees.
Eventually we wound our way through Watervale Wood to the River Lyd at the bottom of the gorge, and headed back up stream as it tumbled to meet us.
Above the mine adit, we saw a fallen tree, evidence of the storm which had hit earlier in the week ...
... and then the magical 100ft White Lady waterfall.
A fallen tree trunk hammered with coins
We were now approaching Devil's Cauldron, the other highlight of our walk through the gorge.
Lydford Gorge is deep and so full of dripping mosses and ferns that you could imagine yourself in the rainforest.
And then the short climb back to the car. So beautiful. I shall try not to leave it another 14 years before I return.