Venford Falls

Venford Falls
Venford Brook with rapids just before the main waterfall

Sometimes I find my photo opportunities just by strolling around. I scan my maps for interesting walks that can offers details or scenery or both. And sometimes I read about it in books or on the internet. Venford Falls I found, when a fellow photographer got in touch with me on Instagram. He saw my photos and realised that we had both been the same evening at another site, but didn’t know each others names or contacts. He got in touch and I looked at his feed and saw an image from Venford Falls. I had never heard about the place, so had to search for it on the Ordnance Survey map, but it wasn’t marked. I reached out to my friend (Andy Styles @camerauk) and asked for the location. He offered to guide me, but as I like a challenge, I decided to try to find it myself based on his description.

Venford Reservoir is on Holne Moor on Dartmoor. It is a manmade reservoir, originally built to supply the town of Paignton with water. It empties on its north side via Venford Brook into the River Dart, which isn’t far away. Nearby I have been photographing several clapper bridges and also captured Combestone Tor at both sunrise and sunset but never been to Venford Brook. The waterfall was along the brook, and I tried to follow it from the reservoir, but the terrain was difficult and I was afraid that if I strolled away from the brook, I could miss it.

My walk started up on the moor and the image to the left below is looking north. The valley ahead of me (and the camera) is the River Dart valley and the tor on the other side is Sharp Tor.

I reached Venford Brook a little bit below the reservoir at a crossing and the image to the right below is from my first encounter with the brook. After some search along the little stream I came to the rapids that are pictured to the left of this text column.

The woodland down in the Venford Brook valley seemed very old and original and had a little bit the same character as the more famous Wistman’s Wood. And the waterfall itself – actually two parallel falls – had several dead trunks and branches in it and surrounding it. And as often in the valleys, moss and lichen were growing making it a very dreamy and – at least in my eyes – romantic landscape.

Venford Falls captured from a low camera angle
One of the gnarly, moss-covered trees in the valley wood