The Best Waterfalls in the Yorkshire Dales

Hawes, Yorkshire Dales
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A note to my readers: None of us can travel during the current coronavirus crisis. However I am continuing to post content for you to enjoy at home and to inspire your future travels. Happy reading and stay safe!

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One of the many pleasures of the Yorkshire Dales is the number and variety of waterfalls. Tall or small, fast flowing or gentle, there seems to be a new cascade to discover around every corner.

Hawes, Yorkshire Dales
A waterfall runs through the town of Hawes in the Yorkshire Dales

Waterfalls of All Shapes and Sizes

The unique geology of the Yorkshire Dales, with its limestone rock, hills, rivers and abundant rainfall, has resulted in the formation of waterfalls of all shapes and sizes. Some are single falls; others are series of cascades. Walk along any of the great rivers of the Dales and you are likely to encounter small falls at regular intervals. (I encountered lots of falls on my walk along the Dales Way, which follows the course of the River Wharfe for much of its route.)

Bainbridge, Yorkshire Dales
Falls in the village of Bainbridge

Another feature of the area is the peaty soil, which gives a distinctive yellowish brown colour to many of the falls.

Aysgarth Falls, Yorkshire
The water at Aysgarth Falls has a characteristic yellow tinge

The Triple Falls of Aysgarth

Aysgarth Falls, in a wooded valley on the River Ure in Wensleydale, is one of the best known waterfalls in Yorkshire. It has three distinct sections – imaginatively named Upper, Middle and Lower – a short walk away from one another.  

Aysgarth Falls, Yorkshire
Water cascades down wide limestone steps at Aysgarth Falls

Film buffs will be interested to know that a scene from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves was shot here.

Aysgarth Falls, Yorkshire
In some parts of the falls the water is very fast flowing

Hardraw Force: A Private Waterfall in the Yorkshire Dales

Not everyone has a 100 foot waterfall in their back garden. And not every waterfall is accessed through a pub. So the privately owned Hardraw Force is unique on two counts. Reputedly the highest single drop in England, access to the waterfall is through the George and Dragon pub in Hardraw, close to Hawes.    

George and Dragon, Hardraw, Yorkshire
The George and Dragon: entrance to Hardraw Force is through the pub

Hardraw Force is set in a dramatic limestone gorge at the far end of a campsite at the back of the pub. The gorge itself forms a natural amphitheatre and is the setting for a number of music festivals including an annual brass band competition in September.

Hardraw Force, Yorkshire
A photograph cannot give a sense of the scale of Hardraw Force, but it is said to be the biggest single drop in England

These are just a few of the waterfalls you can discover in the Yorkshire Dales. Do you have a favourite in this area (or elsewhere)? Let me know in the comments below.

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WorldWideWriter is owned and managed by Karen Warren.

I have been writing and travelling for many years (almost 70 countries at the last count), and I’ve visited every continent except Antarctica. This website is my attempt to inform and inspire other travellers, and to share some of the things I’ve discovered along the way. Read more…

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