by Jay Lethbridge Photography
Becky Falls first opened to the public in 1903 and has been attracting and inspiring poets, writers, painters and visitors ever since, including Rupert Brooke and Virginia Woolf, both of whom stayed here. But its history goes much further than that.
Although a very popular destination for Victorian visitors, the Falls have been sought out for centuries. Firstly, by the inhabitants of the local Bronze and Iron Age settlements and medieval villages (the remains of which can still be visited today) who came in search of water, wood and shelter.
The arrival of the railways in the mid 1800’s heralded the advent of day visitors to Dartmoor and horse-drawn buses from Bovey Tracey brought tourists via the newly constructed road across the moor, a trip which must have been a source of intense pleasure and wonder as Dartmoor was, until the late 19th century, a wilderness, remote and unknown.
Today’s visitors tend to arrive by car or foot (although we’re sure many would welcome the return of horse-drawn buses!) but they still come in search of the same woodland valley.
The Becky Falls Woodland Park you see today, aside from the cafeteria/gift shop area, has remained relatively unchanged throughout that time. Some visitors come to see what is often described as one of the most scenic and untouched areas of Dartmoor, a hidden, tranquil valley in which wildlife and woodland thrive. Others bring children to enjoy the exhilarating combination of animals and adventure and to find a traditional setting of rivers and woodland in which to picnic, relax, climb over boulders, get soaked or just to wander in a setting where the past does not seem so far behind. Some come to sit on a carpet of bluebells and ponder a magical, mystical, spiritual place of whispered fables and pixie tales of old to inspire the senses and imagination.
Related information from the Becky Falls website.