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Serious fun at the Safety on Dartmoor Day in Lydford Gorge

Safety on Dartmoor Day is organized by the Dartmoor National Park in conjunction with the fire and ambulance services and volunteers from DartmoorRescue.
Lyford Gorge is one of the National Trust’s most popular and beautiful attractions. Combine a visit to this scenic river valley with fun events during “Safety on Dartmoor Day”. This event will take place on 23 June 2013 from 10am to 5pm, so bring the family, friends and anyone else who enjoys activities on Dartmoor. Admission to the event is free, but there is a charge for accessing .

Rescue and emergency services demonstrate staged rescues

This is the second time the emergency services and rescue teams have come together to organize a Dartmoor safety awareness day and it is hoped that it will eventually become an annual event.

The big focus of the event is on the incredible work done by the rescue and emergency services. If you have a secret penchant for men in uniform, then this could be your lucky day! There are firefighters, police and ambulance drivers (including Devon Air Ambulance crew) all standing by to talk to visitors about some of the do’s and don’ts on Dartmoor. They are supported by representatives and volunteers from the , with their trained rescue dogs and the Red Watch Crew from Camels Head Fire Station.

All these teams go above and beyond the call of duty on many occasions to rescue lost or injured hikers and climbers when the weather suddenly changes. They also have to deal with fire, flood and all the perils associated with these natural hazards.

Explore fire engines and air ambulances at Safety on Dartmoor Day

As well as bringing a serious message about preparedness when hiking and exploring Dartmoor, the teams make this a family-friendly event. There are at least two fire engines for visitors to examine, sit in and ask questions about. Three helicopters will be attending (emergencies permitting) and the rescue services perform staged rescues with tricky airlifts from the gorge and cliff rescue demonstrations by the Fire Service.

It’s never too early for would-be heroes and heroines to consider a career in the emergency services, or perhaps volunteer their skills to some of the groups that risk their own safety to mount rescue missions in the area.

Visiting beautiful Lydford Gorge

is a popular beauty spot on the western extremity of Dartmoor, between and Okehampton. It is the deepest gorge in the southwest; cool and damp on the hottest days of summer with several natural features. The River Lyd rushes along the gorge creating areas of white water including Tunnel Falls and the 30-metre-high Whitelady Waterfall. There is a swirling whirlpool aptly named the Devil’s Cauldron where you can walk out over this natural pothole and watch the water disappear down the plughole!

The shady footpaths follow several routes along the gorge, at times quite high above the water and scarily narrow in places. The surface is uneven and there are flights of steps in places so it is unsuitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs. The footpath is closed to the public at times of high water after a storm and generally throughout the winter when the path is slippery.

Walkers will see plenty of wildlife, flora and fauna in all seasons as well as woodland sculptures. Listen to the woodland birds, admire the cushiony moss and smell the wild garlic that grows in the damp valley. In the autumn it is the perfect nursery for fungi to develop in all sorts of ugly shapes.

The has a shop in the lovely village of Lydford, and two tearooms: the Waterfall Tearoom and another near the entrance to the gorge. Both are open for light refreshments and cream teas from 11am-5pm. There is a car park in the village and on the Safety on Dartmoor Day, the lovely Castle Inn also allows visitors to park on their property.

Thousands of visitors enjoy visiting Lydford Gorge every year. If you know the area, what would you say is a must-do when visiting Lydford? Your comments and tips on hikes and places to eat are always appreciated by other readers!

About Gillian Birch

Born in Cheshire, Gillian Birch moved to Cornwall at her earliest opportunity and never looked back. After 20 years, her ongoing discovery of popular attractions, quiet footpaths and local eateries has made her a fount of knowledge as she entertains readers with her informative articles on the hidden gems of Devon & Cornwall from a local point-of-view.

Find Gillian on Google+, and Twitter.

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