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, taking the time to stroll the four and a half mile trail along winding streams and through deep, green gorges is my new favourite.
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.
Starting the wonderful, waterfally trail from the Broadwood entrance like I did, your breath will 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 and 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 definitely not impossible if you can easily find a money tree. Yes, the Ingleton Waterfalls Trail is home to a big felled tree trunk covered in coins, some centuries old, knocked in with stones by passers-by who hope it will bring them good fortune. Money, or Wishing Trees as they are also know as can be found from the Peak District to the Scottish Highlands, but the one in Ingleton is especially stunning. A trip to this area is not complete without knocking in your own good luck penny.
Pop over some pretty bridges and before you know it you’re at the first waterfalls. The Pecca waterfalls is a series of 5 waterfalls, dropping 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 more steps that lead you to an open moor land and follow the river as it leads you 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 meters 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 too many photos, continue on the path along the river into the Twiss Valley, cross the pretty footbridge and climb up to Twisleton Lane. If you are a big fan of rolling green Yorkshire countryside, then this is the place for you. Old transitional farm houses spring up here and there as you follow the trail lined by grey stone walls keeping lambs and their mothers together on the green fields. From Twisleton Lane you will also get a stunning view of Ingleborough – one of the famous Yorkshire Dales Three Peaks that 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. Here you will also find toilets and another picnic area. Enter the ancient oak woodland and before you know it your path will cross with the River Doe, leading you straight to Beezley Falls. From the first waterfall, the Doe descends over Triple Spout – three smaller waterfalls all side by side.
From this point on the woodland becomes magical, with rich plant, animal and bird life all around. For me, this is 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, a 80 foot deep pool at the bottom of Rival Falls.
Finally, put your brave face on and walk over the bridge suspended in Baxenghyll Gorge. This is an optional side route and is 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 rewarding views are fantastic. Beyond Baxenghyll, look back toward the river and you’ll see Snow Falls peaking through the leaves.
Walking away from 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.
The entire walk should take you between two and a half and five hours, depending how fast you can climb stairs and how many times you stop for pictures. I strongly suggest taking your time and making the most of it. The area is truly stunning and waterfalls as pretty at the Ingleton bunch are few and far between. Dogs are also welcome on the trail, but must be kept on a lead when crossing farmland.
You can start the trail at the Broadwood entrance or at the Falls Park holiday park. You can buy your entry ticket at either of the starting points for £7 per adult. For more information about opening times, maps and a very informative information leaflet, please visit www.ingletonwaterfallstrail.co.uk. Also, follow me on Instagram at @luzanne_f for more pictures.