Last Updated on 5th February 2021 by Sophie Nadeau
Dartmoor is a mythical landscape, a throwback to a bygone era. The seemingly barren landscape actually offers some of the best Bronze age sites in Britain, ancient forests, rocky grey outcrops known as tors and hidden brooks and rivers. And Venford falls is now exception! In this article, I’ll show you where to find Venford falls:
Locals are knowledgable about tales and myths of giants, witches, warlocks and the devil. Pubs and cafés are stocked with local produce, making Dartmoor an ideal holiday destination for amateur and serious hikers alike.
Venford Falls Walk time: 1-3 hours
Venford reservoir isn’t far from the quaint town of Ashburton on the edge of Dartmoor. The surrounding area is filled with antiquities, stone circles bronze age huts and cairns.
When I first heard of the reservoir, I wasn’t particularly interested in going. Dartmoor is quite literally awash (see what I did there) with reservoirs and Venford is among the smallest of them. However, the best waterfall on Dartmoor, Venford Falls is not far away, albeit a little off the beaten path.
Best part: Only a 15 minute drive from the A38 and close to Ashburton.
Worst part: The wind coupled with the sound of running water and remoteness of the location could mean that no one might hear your shouts for help for hours if you end up stranded (so make sure you tell someone where you’re going).
Things to know before visiting Venford Falls
I packed my camera, brought along my dog and a picnic and drove to Venford reservoir The reservoir itself is incredibly beautiful and takes around 30-45 minutes to walk around.
Upon arrival at Venford reservoir, I asked someone where I could possibly find ‘Venford Falls’. ‘Venford falls?‘ I was greeted with a quizzical look and a look as if to say ‘you’re not from around here are you?’
‘But I saw it online‘, I protested.
‘Of course you did, you’re a millennial‘ was the returned look.
The falls are well hidden.
So I carried on with my walk around the reservoir and frantically tried to pull up some sort of location using the limited internet on my phone. When I finally found it, I realised that I had been looking in completely the wrong location the entire time.
But if you don’t find the falls the first time you look, don’t be discouraged as they are definitely worth seeing.
Directions on where to find Venford Falls:
There are two car parks close to the waterworks. When approaching Venford reservoir from Ashburton, the first carpark is on the right-hand side of the road, opposite a densely wooded area. Don’t stop at this one. Instead, carry on past the waterworks and over the dam. On your right-hand side, about 100 m down the road, you’ll see a second car park. Park here.
From this carpark, start walking away from the road and follow the path downstream along the top of the ridge and past the waterworks. Carry on for about half a mile. The trees are sparsely spaced. At around the point where the trees become denser, descend the footpath along the ridge and the falls are around 200m down the steep hill. You’ll hear the falls before you see them.
Again, make sure you tell someone where you’re going and wear good footwear. The entire riverbed and surrounding countryside offer amazing scenery for photographs.