A gorge-ous walk

CORNWALL COGITATION #11 Friday 14 April 2017 On Tuesday, Steve and Marilyn Bowden, neighbours, took us to Lydford Gorge in Dartmoor National Park, near Tavistock, Devon.

Lydford Gorge includes areas aptly named Lambhole Wood, White Lady Waterfalls, Tunnel Falls, Pixie Glen, Devil’s Cauldron, and more. It is managed by the National Trust.

We’re glad the 3-mile path is restricted to one-way passage. And that it was dry. And a handrail handy. Gorgeous!

The National Trust runs a Guardianship Scheme at Lydford Gorge with the local primary school. Schoolchildren visit the Gorge once a month to carry out a variety of practical activities that support the national curriculum. Just imagine the benefit of children getting involved in environmental and conservation work–future guardians and conservationists today.

As might not be surprising, there’s a darker side to the Gorge story, too. One legend describes a band of  outlaws, the Gubbinses, who lived there in the 16th century. The writer of “Onward Christian Soldiers,” the Rev. Sabine Baring-Gould, tells how the Gubbinses survived by “stealing sheep and cattle, and carrying them into the labyrinth of glens where they could not be traced.”

Thomas Fuller, in Worthies of England (1644-47), wrote of the Gubbinses: “They live in cotts (rather like holes than houses) like swine, having all in common, multiplied, without marriage, into many hundreds. Their language is the drosse of the dregs of vulgar Devonian: and more learned a man is, the worse he can understand them. Their wealth consists of other men’s goods and they live by stealing sheep off the moor. Such their fleetness they will out-run a horse. They hold together like burrs, offend one and all will revenge his quarrel.”

Then there’s the legend of the lady after whom the main falls is named. This   legend claims that any person who falls into the Lyd River and sees a woman in white with long flowing tresses will not drown. That’s not to say the shock of cold water wouldn’t spring you out in its own right, vision or not of a woman in white who may look like the waterfall.

Helpfully, if you fall in the river around the waterfall, you’ll only be In up to your knees by the looks of the spot, though watch out for the undertow centripetal force of the pooling water. Not to spoil–or test–the legend, mind you. On second thought, I’d be happy to avoid drowning by seeing a vision of a woman in white.

Since tourists started coming with the introduction of the railroad in the Victorian era, the White Lady Waterfall has been repeatedly voted one of the most romantic locations in the West Country. Gets my vote, too.

Photos from other walks this week

Bluebells flank the tower of St Uny  Church in Lelant. Flowers, two curious and animated donkeys, fields and sky and blooming Blackthorn keep us engaged in the out-of-doors.

Writers promote getting out

Writing an Opinion piece, “Screens have led to a nature deficit. Kids need to be outdoors” in The Guardian (1 April), Michael McCarthy notes that 12 years ago American writer Richard Louv pointed out the danger of children staying indoors.

Louv said the consequences of such alienation from the natural world included diminished use of the senses, attention difficulties and higher rates of physical and emotional illnesses. He called the syndrome: nature deficit disorder.

McCarthy, author of The Moth Snowstorm: Nature and Joy, said, “if we value our planet it’s vital that we reconnect future generations with the living world around them.”

Charlie Gilmour in the I daily (28 March) makes the same point for people of any age. In “Better out than in” makes the point that there is benefit both ways, one, boosting one’s health and the other realizing “It isn’t always about what nature can do for us. As the cityscape grows, we’ll have to make space for wildlife, or risk losing it.” He adds, “it’s hard to hug a tree that isn’t there.”

Put some green time into your day, he advises, adding, even 20 minutes a day out-of-doors can be beneficial. “Nature’s a wonderful thing. If only we can learn from it,” he concludes.

One more thing. If those elected to lead would attend to the areas of need, such as clean water, clean air, good food, good jobs, homes, all wrought by good governance, we’d be a happier, robuster lot. In the USA we’d even get over the cold we’ve caught in denying climate change.

Maundy Thursday

In February I saw this sculpture of footwashing at Truro Cathedral. There was no notation of artist and it was gone on our next visit. It’s a beautiful reminder of the servanthood Jesus taught in washing the disciples feet, a practice carried out at Maundy Thursday service at St Anta Church and undoubtedly in many churches elsewhere. The service at St Anta included a Passover meal of lamb stew, jacket potatoes, with vegetarian option available, plus a selection of puddings (dessert). The service included communion, ending with Stripping of the Alter, removing everything from the Sanctuary that could be carried to a side room, to symbolize the bareness of the cross, helping us reflect on the emptiness of the world without Christ, the One whose Resurrection hope we celebrate in Communion and a life of like-service.

Good Friday

The poster tells of a Good Friday Passion play taking place in the town square at Tavistock, Devon. It has been publicized on BBC South West. We’ll not be there, but might catch a glimpse on the late news. Go Tavistock Passion players!


Happy Easter!

Onward, pilgrims!




11 thoughts on “A gorge-ous walk

  1. Thanks for all the photos and your Easter reflections. I liked your “gorge-ous” pun!


    My iPad says that a smile always increases your Face Value!



  2. love your pix of peaceful sheep, mischief-thinking donkeys, and stately churches!


    PS: You’ll be bringing some of that yummy cherry/coconut loaf🍰 home with you, right?

    On Fri, Apr 14, 2017 at 4:19 AM, It’s About Now wrote:

    > John Bender posted: “CORNWALL COGITATION #11 Friday 14 April 2017 On > Tuesday, Steve and Marilyn Bowden, neighbours, took us to Lydford Gorge in > Dartmoor National Park, near Tavistock, Devon. Lydford Gorge includes areas > aptly named Lambhole Wood, White Lady Waterfalls, Tun” >


  3. Love your title for this essay. The photos and writing are beautiful…and such a special delight for me now that I know many of the folks you mention, and can better imagine the places described. Thanks again for that fine 2 wks in Feb. and for your discipline in putting thoughts into written form. phyllis



    1. Thanks Phyllis, the days just keep getting better. We had an another fine walk on Thursday at St Agnes, part of it on the Southwest Coast Path. Even walked through the village at noon and could stop to get a pasty for lunch. Lots of stories when we see you ere long.


  4. It was delightful to read of your hike at Lydford Gorge — it looked quite precarious in spots. Stan and I stopped at the town on one of our trips and enjoyed a short hike, but not the longer one you took. It’s a charming spot.

    I also enjoyed reading of Holy Week services in your setting and remember sharing the Maundy Thursday service and meal with you one spring when we visited. Warm memories!

    Blessings for Easter!


    On Fri, Apr 14, 2017 at 1:19 AM, It’s About Now wrote:

    > John Bender posted: “CORNWALL COGITATION #11 Friday 14 April 2017 On > Tuesday, Steve and Marilyn Bowden, neighbours, took us to Lydford Gorge in > Dartmoor National Park, near Tavistock, Devon. Lydford Gorge includes areas > aptly named Lambhole Wood, White Lady Waterfalls, Tun” >


    1. Wow, Marlene, you and Stanley have found so many fine places all over this wonderful creation. Lydford Gorge was precarious in spots, so glad the rocks were not wet. We used the handrail in those places. Another time I’d pause more to listen to the birds. The varied sounds of lapping and roiling water still ring in my head. Fine spot.


  5. The gorge walk looks amazing. It sure looks like you would need hiking boots for that. Nature at its best. Along with the colourful flowers I enjoy the animal pictures too and wonder their thoughts. The birds are chirping and happy Easter to you. I enjoyed seeing the sculpture.


  6. Your articles are an inspiration! I enjoy reading about the walks that you and Marty take each week. Your words and pictures display God’s creativity, beauty, and Grace. You take walking to a new level. Happy Easter!


    1. It’s fun to recap a week and good to hear that you, Ginger, and others enjoy the column and photos. Our steps just keep adding up and the rest afterwards is like gravy. We did 7.5 miles today into and around St Ives. The town is packed with people and it feels so good to be back at Ahoy There! Dinner here with friends tonight. Happy Easter!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.