Yorkshire is packed with natural wonders but few are as impressive as its waterfalls.
Whether it’s bubbling over a brook or gushing off a cliff, there’s something innately relaxing about water, so where better to go on your next day out than to one of Yorkshire’s many waterfalls? You’ll find everything from stunning single-drop behemoths to beautiful stepped falls and Hollywood-famous sets on this list, so what are you waiting for? Pick a waterfall and head out on your next adventure. Trust us, you won’t regret it!
Popular with the famous literary sisters, the Brontë Waterfall is one of the most popular in Yorkshire. It’s made up of a series of small, stepped falls on South Dean Beck and was described as “perfect torrent racing over the rocks” by Charlotte Brontë. The waterfall is part of The Brontë Way, a 69-kilometre trail that runs from Birstall to Gawthorpe Hall, but there are lots of shorter trails if you want to see the falls without a mammoth walk.
Brontë Waterfalls, Off Moorside Lane, Keighley, West Yorkshire, BD22 9RQ.
Folly Dolly Falls
You’ll find this picturesque Yorkshire waterfall in a picturesque tree-shaded valley. Folly Dolly Falls is a stunning tiered-torrent, said to be named after a woman who lived nearby and lost all her money. There’s a lovely 30-minute waterfall walk from Meltham, but the terrain does get a little challenging towards the end – it’s worth it though, to see the falls in all their glory. It might make the walk a little less enjoyable, but it’s best viewed after heavy rain.
Folly Dolly Falls, Meltham, Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, HD9 5QN.
This absolute beauty is England’s largest single drop waterfall. The water cascades 100 foot from the top of the cliff to the deep pool below. Fun fact – this was the waterfall that Kevin Costner bathed beneath in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves. It’s a little slice of Hollywood history in the Yorkshire countryside. To get to it, you’ll need to pass through the Green Dragon Inn – it’s well worth stopping for a pint – and pay a small fee to visit.
Hardraw Force, The Heritage Centre, Hardraw, Hawes, Leyburn, North Yorkshire, DL8 3LZ. Entry is £4 for adults, £2 for kids and free for under 5s.
A trip to the village of Malham is in order to seek out Janet’s Foss. Follow the path over the clapper bridge, along the beck and through the kissing gates to the woodland walkway that opens out onto the falls. The pool beneath was once used by local farmers for sheep dipping, but now it’s more popular with passing dogs looking to cool off in the summer months. It’s said that the cave behind the falls is home to Janet, the Queen of the Fairies.
Janet’s Foss, Gordale Lane, Malham, North Yorkshire, BD23 4DA.
Although it’s technically in Cumbria, Cautley Spout gets an honorary place on this list because it’s right at the heart of the Yorkshire Dales. It’s an incredible cascade waterfall, England’s highest no less – it’s a whopping 650 foot from the rim of Cautley Crags to the flats of Cautley Holme Beck. There’s a rather steep path leading up the eastern side of Howgill Fells along Cautley Spout, so you can see the falls from another angle.
Cautley Spout, Off A683, Low Haygarth, Sedbergh, Yorkshire Dales, LA10 5NE.
Cauldron Falls is one of Yorkshire’s most accessible waterfalls. Follow the gentle beck-side trail from West Burton to the base, which is also known as West Burton Falls. The waterfall’s nickname stems from its extremely round plunge pool, which attracts a diverse array of local wildlife. The roaring water was once sketched by J.M.W. Turner and you can see the result in the Tate Britain, so it’s well worth a visit to admire the natural wonder as he did.
Cauldron Falls, West Burton, Leyburn, North Yorkshire, DL8 4JP.
Hull Pot is an enormous collapsed cavern in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. It’s 300-foot long, 60-foot wide and 60-foot deep, which is impressive enough on a normal day, but in wet weather, Hull Pot Beck runs right over the edge of the pot, creating an incredible waterfall. In an absolute downpour, the water has even been known to fill to the brim with water and flow down the hillside itself, which is a whole different kind of natural wonder.
Hull Pot, Horton-in-Ribblesdale, Settle, North Yorkshire, BD24 0JF.
If you want to visit a Yorkshire waterfall without the legwork, Scaleber Force is your go-to. The car park is conveniently close, so you can hop out and hot foot it to the not-so-secret gorge in Scaleber Woods where the falls await. It’s hidden from view until the very last moment, and then suddenly, a 40-foot limestone cliff is revealed with a thunderous flow of water cascading down it. The crystal clear waters pool below completing the effect.
Scaleber Force, High Hill Lane, Settle, North Yorkshire, BD24 9LA.
Fell Beck Waterfall
If you’re after a Yorkshire waterfall walk, Fell Beck is a great shout. Not only can you see the point where Fell Beck runs into Gaping Gill, but you can stop at Brimham Rocks along the way. Gaping Gill is one of the most famous caves in the Dales and Fell Beck pours over the lip of the rock, falling 230 feet into the cavern below, which by the way, is the biggest underground chamber in Britain at 420-foot wide, 100-foot high and 82-foot wide.
Fell Beck Waterfall, Gaping Gill, Clapdale Lane, Yorkshire Dales National Park, LA2 8EE.
Another waterfall you might remember from Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, Asygarth Falls was the backdrop for Robin Hood’s fight scene with Little John. It was also a favourite with acclaimed artists John Ruskin and J.M.W. Turner. A pretty winding path will lead you to the river, taking you on a lovely walk before you’re treated to not one, not two but three crashing waterfalls. The Freeholders’ Wood Nature Reserve next door is also worth a visit.
Aysgarth Falls National Park Centre, Aysgarth, Wensleydale, North Yorkshire, DL8 3TH.
Catrigg Force & Stainforth Force
These two Yorkshire waterfalls are easily accessible from the same car park in Stainforth, so you can do both of them in one day. You’ll find Catrigg Force hidden in a wooded gorge. The water cascades over the edge of a cliff, then bubbles over the edge of the pool below with dramatic effect. Stainforth Force, in contrast, is made up of a series of stepped falls on the River Ribble – time it right to see the salmon leaping upstream.
Catrigg Force, Stainforth, Settle, North Yorkshire, BD24 9PZ.
A waterfall without the walking? You got it. Harmby Waterfall is a mere hop, skip and a jump from the road. The path will lead you into the woods of Harmby Gill and you need only cross the stream and pass through the wooden gate to see the falls up close. The water cascades over a few small drops before gushing over the edge of a small cliff and into the pool below. It’s smaller than some of the other waterfalls on this list, but impressive none-the-less.
Harmby Waterfall, Harmby, Leyburn, North Yorkshire, DL8 5PA.
One of the things that makes Lumb Falls unique is the fact that it’s made up of more than one waterfall. The water comes cascading over the moss-covered gritstone lip at different points, creating multiple falls, all feeding the deep pool below. It’s a popular wild swimming spot with locals, so don’t be surprised if you see someone taking a dip. The stones at the bottom can be slippery in wet weather, but the falls are even more impressive after rain.
Lumb Falls, near Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, HX7 8RG.
Mallyan Spout & Thomason Foss
Goathland has long been a favourite with Heartbeat fans, since it’s the set of the famous show, but it was a tourist attraction long before the soap aired. Why? Because of Mallyan Spout and Thomason Foss, of course. The water comes from a spring in the moorland above and travels down to New Wath Scar. The sides of this striking ravine are almost vertical and 70 feet high at Mallyan Spout, where the water gushes over the edge in impressive style.
Mallyan Spout Waterfall, Goathland, Whitby, North Yorkshire, YO22 5AW.
One of the four Keld waterfalls in Yorkshire, East Gill is well worth a visit. It’s split into two sections – the 15-foot upper cascade and the stepped 10-foot falls underneath. The higher section has been worn into the stone outcrops, which can be carefully climbed for a better view. Alternatively, pack a picnic and find a spot to the side of the falls where you can watch the wildlife roam to and fro. The kids will love watching the sheep stop by for a drink.
East Gill Force, River Swale, Keld, Richmond, North Yorkshire, DL11 6LJ.