Yorkshire harbours many delightful waterfalls usually accessible by lovely woodland walks. Don’t forget to stay alert and spot the local wildlife including red squirrels, and birds such as dippers, grey wagtails, redstarts, long tailed tits and kingfishers. At certain times of the year, it is possible to spot wild salmon returning to their spawning grounds.
Falls are sometimes termed forces or foss after the Norse word fors or foss, which means, unsurprisingly, “waterfall”.
The three stepped waterfalls have been a tourist information for over 200 years. They featured in a dramatic scene in the film, Robin Hood Prince of Thieves. The river Ure stretches out along the valley and dramatically drops 30 metres over the falls which were originally formed by the last Ice Age.
The waterfall is hidden away in a deep gorge above the village of Stainforth. There are two main falls comprising of over 20 foot drops and was apparently the favourite spot of composer Edward Elgar.
Cotter Force is an easily accessible waterfall in a lovely woodland setting and has benches to rest upon to appreciate the full beauty of the Falls. There are about six falls in total with the largest one being in excess of one and a half metres.
Hardraw Force is England’s highest single drop surface waterfall, reputedly around 100 ft. The falls have had some illustrious visitors. JMW Turner, Britain’s greatest watercolour painter, visited and painted the falls in 1816 and William Wordsworth visited the falls after seeing the painting
Ingleton Waterfalls Trail
This beautiful waterfalls trail can be found on the Yorkshire Dales and Lancashire border in the town of Ingleton. The Trail is divided into nine main areas, each with a distinct plant life and geological features and provides spectacular views of these magnificent Yorkshire waterfalls.
Gaping Gill is one of the most famous caves in the Dales and one of the largest underground chambers in Britain. Local stream, Fell Beck, cascades over 300 ft into the cavern below. At certain times of the year, local caving societies operate a winch system which allows visitors to descend the drop.
The River Wharfe cascades over channels in the limestone bedrock and can be viewed from the bridge which spans the falls
Stainforth Falls, just to the north of Settle is on the River Ribble. After crossing an ancient pack horse brige and following a footpath through the fields, you will reach this popular beauty spot and perhaps watch the salmon leaping up the falls on their way to their spawning grounds
West Burton Falls
West Burton Falls are also known as Cauldron Falls because of it’s beautiful plunge pool. It is a fantastic place for bird spotting and was also painted by Turner during his travels in Yorkshire. It is the starting point for local walking routes with wonderful views of Wensleydale and Castle Bolton
Janet’s Foss is a small but beautiful waterfall and pool near Malham Village. In the past it has been used as a natural sheep dip by local farmers. On the footpath to Janet’s Foss a couple of tree stumps have become home to hundreds of lucky pennies, add a coin and make a wish!
This 30 ft waterfall is especially spectacular after heavy rain and is accessed by a track through the woods close to the Forestry Commission car park near Littlebeck. Along the way there is a waterside section along the pretty May Beck. There are also lots of little paddling pools and other smaller waterfalls dotted along the walk.
Aysgill Force is a spectacular 40 foot waterfall in a wooded part of Gayle Beck. It is a lovely stop of point on a walk between the villages of Gayle and Hawes. You will also pass the Wensleydale Creamery!