Tavy Cleave Description
Tavy Cleave can be one of the most rewarding locations to visit within the Dartmoor National Park. It offers the photographer a wealth of opportunities, with geography that is a welcome distraction from the normal featureless moorland symbolic of Dartmoor.
Tavy Cleave can be included in a longer walk or is easily reached by a more direct route from the carpark at Lane head. The walk takes you past Nattor Farm. You then turn uphill to join The Wheel Friendship leat, do not cross over the leat follow the path on this side. When you reach the Leat head You have a choice of crossing the Tavy and approaching the falls from the opposite bank or continuing along beside the leat. The waterfall we are approaching can be photographed from both sides, you can always go twice! so I will leave you to decide.The walk in is not difficult, but the location is remote. I have rarely shared the carpark and location with others. It is important to take sensible precautions, wearing good walking boots, and clothing equipped for the prevailing weather at that time of year. Check the weather forecast and let some one know where you are going, particularly if you will are going on your own.
The geography of Tavy Cleave is unusual for Dartmoor. The Cleave is a wide river valley with steep cliff like sides, at its base the River Tavy makes it way down to eventually join the sea approximately 15 miles away. As with all river and streams on Dartmoor their character is influenced by the weather and the Tavy can meander flowing gently or after prolonged rain change to a raging torrent.
The walk into Tavy cleave to this waterfall takes you alongside the Wheal Friendship Leat. The Leat is also know as Mine Leat. When in use around 1875 it powered 17 water wheels servicing 3 mines. Today it travels 4 1/2 miles from the Leat head to a reservoir at Wheal Jewell, where is descends through a pipe to power the Hydro Electric power station at Mary Tavy.
There are many photographic opportunities along the Tavy as you walk in through the Cleave.And was with all Landscape photography the lighting, weather conditions, and your own tastes will ultimately determine what you photograph. But without doubt you will not be able to walk past this waterfall. It allows the photographer try many different variations. Experiment with landscape, portrait and panoramic compositions. Colour, monochrome and toned prints look equally impressive. Time of year will change how the scene looks, it is possible to capture mist rolling in or receding, reflections as the sun illuminates the tops of the steep Tors in the early morning light. For the more adventurous Tavy Cleave can be included in a longer walking taking in the tops of the surrounding Tors.