Exploring Venford Reservoir and Venford Falls
Venford Reservoir is nestled high on Dartmoor and is a great location for picnics, fishing and walks. Many summers and winters are spent by tourists and locals alike walking the trails that connect and circle Venford. The reservoir is one of the smaller Dartmoor Reservoirs but Venford is so beautiful it easily comes high on the list of things to do when visiting the area.
One of the hidden gems that Venford has to offer is Venford Falls, a secluded waterfall hidden amongst dense woodland. Despite Venford falls being a more secretive location and slightly off the beaten track it is still easy enough to find. As Venford is so close to where I live, it has become a great place to take the dog walking and absorb some of that wonderful Dartmoor scenery.
This post will tell you just how to find Venford falls and highlight some of the best things to do when visiting the reservoir.
Venford falls tends to be one of the lesser-known Dartmoor waterfalls due to its secluded location. However, despite its seclusion, it is certainly one of Dartmoor’s best waterfalls and provides many travel photographers with an opportunity to capture an elegant example of natural beauty set amongst a rustic backdrop.
When to Visit Venford falls
The time of year in which you visit the waterfall is something you should consider. Many people enjoy visiting Dartmoor in the summertime and this is because much of the wildlife and plants are in full swing. It’s important to note that if you are visiting in the summertime the waterfall will generally be less full as there is less rain over the summer. My favourite time to visit this waterfall is in the winter or after a larger period of rain, the waterfall and brook leading down to the river dart are ferocious and quite a sight to behold. The negatives in winter are simple to guess, wet, muddy and cold conditions make it a bit more difficult to navigate, remember to take your wellies.
How to get to the secret waterfall
Starting point – Car parking is free and is located in two spots around Venford reservoir. The best location to park for exploring the waterfall is in the car park just over the bridge, located next to the waterworks.
From this car park, exit northwards following the main path leading away from the car park. This path splits into two and one leads downwards and the other continues straight. You can take either one at this point, but the top one is much flatter and easier to walk along.
This is the tricky part as there is a small path leading off to the right but it is not entirely visible, especially in the summer. The path leads down into the woodland and is the first path to your right after the main path splits.
This part takes a little intuition. You can usually hear the waterfall depending on how much water there has been. Continue descending down this path into the woods, it is a steep path so good boots or strong wellies is recommended. Once you enter the woodland you should be able to see the brook, follow alongside the water and you should eventually come across the waterfall.
Exploring Venford Reservoir
Venford is small in comparison to some of the larger reservoirs on Dartmoor. Walking around Venford is great fun, easy to access, and the pathway is well established so is great for all abilities. As you walk around the reservoir you will notice lots of openings that lead down to the water’s edge, these are great places for a picnic and its something that suits a warm summers day.
If you are looking for more adventure there are many trails leading away from Venford Reservoir onto the rolling hills of Dartmoor. The best way to find trails on Dartmoor is to get an OS map, you can take this with you and believe me it comes in handy when you take the wrong turn. Hiking across landscapes like Dartmoor can be difficult as there are so many pathways and a large majority of them look the same, so taking a map is a great idea.
Besides walking, Venford is somewhere that keen anglers can go to catch wild trout, there are strict rules on how many you can catch and you must be fully licensed so check SWLakes for more information.
Picnicking is something that many people love to do during the summer and if you’re not so keen to sit down by the water’s edge there are tables and toilets available. Dartmoor is not home to any natural lakes but because of a large number of reservoirs and locations with the name “lake” in them, it has become known for large open expanses of water amongst rolling hills.
Swimming is not allowed in any reservoirs, for obvious reasons but feel free to wild swim in any of the waters leading away from Venford. The river dart is located close by and if you follow the main path down there is plenty of opportunities to go swimming, conditions permitting of course. The river dart becomes an extremely dangerous river in the winter months or after a large amount of rain so be careful.
Dartmoor has so much to offer and is only a part of this beautiful region. So, whether your local or visiting from afar, make the most of what is around and don’t be afraid to get stuck into something different. Discover other secret locations on Dartmoor including Dartmoors Hidden Red Lake