Waterfall walks in Yorkshire

Waterfall Walks in Yorkshire

If you want to see some waterfalls, then Skipton and the surrounding area is a great place to start. The geology of this area in the Yorkshire Dales National Park is perfect; limestone, valleys, and the ‘odd bit of rain’. Waterfall walks are one of our favourite as a family. They are such a spectacular sight, so the best reward on a walk, which always spurs little ones on. The ideal time to visit any waterfall is a day after a rainfall event when you will see it in full force. However, they are usually trickling in one form or another all year round.

Some of our favourite waterfall walks include;

Janets Foss and Gordale Scar waterfall walks

Janet’s Foss in Malham is named after Janet, Queen of the Fairies. Folk tales say that she has made her home in the cave behind the waterfall.

Janet’s Foss is an easily viewed waterfall just 1 mile from the village. It can be reached by following the path through the fields along side the beck. Keep going up through the wood (which can be a little tricky in places with the tree routes and rocks), inhaling the scent of the wild garlic as you go until you hear the sound of the falls into the plunge pool. Janet’s Foss has a wonderful atmosphere to it, maybe it’s the magic of the fairies? Maybe it’s the allure of the crystal clear water? Whatever it is, stop and take it all in, whilst enjoying your snacks.

From here you can then carry on up to Gordale Scar. Taking the rocky ‘steps’ to the left of the waterfall you will emerge out onto the road. Keep right, passing the butty van you then follow the accessible path up through Gordale Scar, a huge jaw dropping gorge. Walking for half a mile will bring you to the base of the waterfall. This is a really adventurous spot for kids to scramble and clamber over the rocks or to try out their echo skills.

Find the full walk details here – Janet’s Foss and Gordale Scar

Valley of Desolation waterfall walk

Posforth Gill Falls, otherwise known as the Valley of Desolation is the Bolton Abbey waterfall that no one can seem to find! 

The route is off the beaten track and doesn’t follow an especially well signposted route which makes it even more exciting the first time you discover it.

Starting in the Riverside car park at the Cavendish Pavilion the route is 3 miles in total. The walk is up through the fields following a farm track all the way up. Where the track finishes you look down through the trees into the Valley of Desolation. There are a few small single paths down and a footbridge so you can explore both sides of the waterfall. However, all are quite steep, narrow and can be slippy so take care. Good footwear is essential.

If you didn’t want to head down, the waterfall can be viewed from the well placed bench at the top. I say bench but it’s more of a perching spot. This waterfall is always quiet so is a great one to visit to have all to yourself.

Find the full walk details here – Valley of Desolation

Valley of Desolation waterfall walk
Valley of Desolation waterfall walk

Buckden Beck waterfall walk

Buckden Beck waterfalls are a series of 4 small, yet impressive waterfalls. This walk is short, just over a mile in total so it is perfect for little ones to explore.

Starting in the main village car park in Buckden you need to head out the back of the car park. This will lead you straight to the Beck. Follow it upstream then back down, simple as that!

The path is obvious and does have a small amount of rocky bits to negotiate. There are small pools to sit next to, throw stones in, swirl sticks in the foam or paddle and splash those feet.

What we love about this walk is that all the waterfalls are so different. They tumble down the hillside, over the limestone and the water is beautifully clear. Some are single drop, others more of a cascade which is mesmerising too watch. After a rainfall event they are pretty loud, almost roaring which is the perfect time to see them in their full blazing glory.

There is a point where you can climb up (around the third waterfall up) a rocky face and continue up towards Buckden Pike. From here you will follow the beck upstream again and located more waterfalls. However this section is not advised with smaller children.

Full walk details can be found here – Buckden Beck

Catrigg Force waterfall walk

Catrigg Force is located above the village of Stainforth, near Settle, hidden away in a woodland.

From the main car park walk up through the village, cross the stepping stones and head up onto the moor following a walled farm track.

You will hear this single drop waterfall long before you see it. Once the farm track levels off there will be a pedestrian gate on the left which will lead down in to the woodland. Catrigg Force has a great plunge pool which is a lovely swim spot when it’s a bit warmer.

The return to the village taking the same route back is in total a 2.5 mile walk. The walk back down offers stunning views across the valley and down towards Settle.

Full walk details can be found here – Catrigg Force

Catrigg Force waterfall walk
Catrigg Force waterfall walk

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