Colly Brook Falls

05/10/2013 - 00:41



Colly Brook Falls  (Dartmoor National Park)



“Here and there a tawny brook prattled out from among the underwood and lost itself again in the ferns and brambles upon the further side. Save the dull piping of insects and the sough of the leaves, there was silence everywhere - the sweet restful silence of nature."

(from ‘The White Company’ by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)

The journey through the fern festooned Upper Colly Brook, on an autumn afternoon was most enchanting. The weather conditions were of - overcast skies with faint diffused transient sunlight and occasional drizzle.  The cloud base fluctuated at 300 – 350m, perfect for woodland and waterfall photography in such soft and diffused light. Early autumn leaf fall had added warm hues to contrast with the dark wet rocks. The ferns and mosses added a lush vergence to the ambiance.


There are a set of large falls downstream with a deep plunge pool that is a popular place for wild swimming, it is also the most accessable part of the river.



The Colly Brook runs through a steep combe (hanging valley) on the western side of Dartmoor National Park, below Smeardon Down. The brook eventually joins the River Tavy in the lower valley to the west.

Ordnance Survey Grid Reference – SX522 776
Altitude = 250m A.S.L.


Venturing through the upper parts is commiting; low branches, scrambling, slippy rocks, long drops to the river... but for those who can make the journey, it bears such treasures.






Getting to this spot involves some committed scrambling and at points of descent, a pair of walking poles is highly recomended. It felt worth the effort and risk as the view was to me so beguiling.


Moving upstream slightly to another ledge offered the chance to photograph the narrower of the twin falls (on the right hand side of the photo above)




Some way above these falls was a relatively shallow and long pool which I was able to cross thanks to my wellington boots and the walking poles (please be careful about water flow rates and depth here, plus some of the rocks on the riverbed are outrageously slippy even in wellies!).




From the far bank, I explored the twin falls from another angle




Finally, I made one more photo - of a small fall further up the side channel of the twin falls







Go and explore :)




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