Whoever told you not to go chasing waterfalls didn’t know what they were talking about. If they had even the slightest idea how stunning the waterfalls around the Yorkshire Dales are, they would have told you to run to them, jump in and shower in their magical water. And that is exactly what I did!
The Ingleton Waterfalls Trail is one of Yorkshire’s most underappreciated attractions. While most tourists flock to the rolling green hills of the Dales or the coast’s seaside resorts, my new favourite pastime is taking the time to stroll the four-and-a-half-mile trail along winding streams and through deep, green gorges.
The Ingleton Waterfalls Trail is located just outside the charming little village of Ingleton in North Yorkshire, famous for being Arthur Conan Doyle’s inspiration for Sherlock Holmes and home to the last standing remains of the enormous Ingleton Viaduct.
If you start the wonderful, waterfally trail from the Broadwood Entrance like I did, your breath would soon be taken away as you walk beside the River Twiss bubbling over moss-covered boulders through the Swilla Glen, where the air is so moist that you can almost taste the deep green forest around you. Here you will also find the first of many, many steps.
Finding fairies or little green goblins hiding underneath the leaves in this green world is quite possible if you can easily find a money tree. Yes, the Ingleton Waterfalls Trail is home to a large felled tree trunk covered in coins, some centuries old, knocked in with stones by passers-by who hoped that it would bring them good fortune. Money trees, or wishing trees as they are also known as, can be found from the Peak District to the Scottish Highlands. However, the one in Ingleton is especially spectacular. A trip to the area is not complete without knocking in your own good luck penny.
Cross some pretty bridges and before you know it, you’re at the first waterfalls. The Pecca Waterfalls are a series of five waterfalls that drop 30 meters over sandstone and slate into pools as deep as the waterfalls are high. There is a great viewing platform where you can rest and get ready for a lot of steep steps leading to the Hollybush Spout.
Push through the suffering as you drag yourself up hundreds of more steps that lead you to an open moorland. Now follow the river as it leads into a shallow valley. Here you’ll find Thornton Force – the most famous and spectacular of all the waterfalls. White water roars as it plunges over 14 metres over a limestone cliff, much to the delight of all the other visitors you will find here taking selfies and enjoying home-packed picnics. Many brave souls also take a dip under the waterfall – but beware: The water is close to freezing all year round.
After a dip and hopefully a myriad of photos, continue on the path along the river into the Twiss Valley. Cross the pretty footbridge and then climb up to Twisleton Lane. If you are a big fan of rolling green Yorkshire countryside, this is the place for you. Old traditional farmhouses surprise you here and there as you follow a trail that is lined by grey stone walls to keep lambs and ewes together on the green fields. From Twisleton Lane you will also get a breath-taking view of Ingleborough – one of the famous Yorkshire Three Peaks. It almost killed me, but that is a story for another time.
As a reward for making it past halfway and before you start making you way back down into the valley, why not stop for a coffee and a full English breakfast at the Falls Cafe and Bistro on Beezley Farm? You’ll also find toilets and another picnic area here. Enter the ancient oak woodland and, before you know it, your path will cross the River Doe and lead you straight to Beezley Falls. From the first waterfall, the Doe descends over Triple Spout – three smaller side-by-side waterfalls.
From this point on, the woodland becomes magical, with rich plant, animal and bird life all around. For me, this was also the most dangerous part of the trail. Be sure to stick to the well-defined footpath and do not wander too close to the sides as you might just end up in the Black Hole, an 80-foot-deep pool at the bottom of Rival Falls.
Finally, put your brave face on and walk over the suspension bridge over Baxenghyll Gorge. This is an optional side route and definitely not for those afraid of heights. However, if you can bear the through of standing high above a deep gorge with a raging river below, the fantastic views are quite rewarding. Beyond Baxenghyll, look back towards the river and you’ll see Snow Falls peeking through the leaves.
Past Snow Falls, the trail continues through the Twisleton Glen and leads you to the picturesque village of Ingleton and finally back to the Broadwood Entrance, where the adventure started.
Some handy tips:
- The entire walk should take you between two and a half and five hours, depending on how quickly you can ascend stairs and how many times you stop for pictures. I strongly suggest that you take your time and make the most of it. The area is truly magnificent and waterfalls as pretty as those at Ingleton are few and far between.
- Dogs are also welcome on the trail but must be kept on a leash when you cross
- You can start the trail at the Broadwood Entrance or at the Falls Park holiday park. Buy your entry ticket at either of the starting points at £7 for an
- For more information about opening times, maps and a very informative information leaflet, please visit ingletonwaterfallstrail.co.uk.
- Also, follow me on Instagram at @luzanne_ffor more pictures.
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