For many years, I’d heard people talk about the impressive waterfalls at Ingleton, and like many things in life once I’d finally experienced them for myself, I couldn’t believe I’d not walked the trail sooner.
There is a well known trail to take in all the waterfalls in Ingleton. It is a 4.5 mile circular route, with the recommended route starting out up the River Twiss, and returning via the River Doe, the rivers converging downstream in Ingleton.
The trail follows a well-defined footpath which runs very close to both rivers, allowing spectacular views of the falls. Pick up a trail leaflet in the car park – this is all you need to find your way, an OS map is not required as it is that well signed along the way.
From the falls car park, the path starts out along the River Twiss through Swilla Glen, a deciduous woodland largely made up of Oak, where you’ll come across these cute toadstool sculptures and the best example of a money tree I have ever seen!
It was considered lucky to hammer a coin into a money tree and over the years, it’s become completely covered in them. There’s no room left for further coins.
Through Swilla Glen, the path weaves over gravel, rocks and tree roots and starts to gain some height towards the first of the falls at Pecca Falls.
There are a number of waterfalls that make up Pecca Falls with the most photogenic being Pecca Twin Falls.
At this point the path ascends a series of steep man-made steps and beyond these falls, it levels out onto open moorland. At this point, the River Twiss flows through a shallow valley with beautiful views. Eventually you round a corner and the stunning Thornton Force comes into view.
It is a hotly contested topic as to which of the falls on the Ingleton trail are considered the best and most spectacular – many considering the final ones on the trail: Snow Falls, on the River Doe to be the most powerful and therefore the most impressive, but in my opinion Thornton Force is the best. Although the flow of water is not always the most powerful, the height and width of the falls are superior, the river plunging 14 metres over a limestone cliff. There’s a beautiful contrast between the visible rock formations and the water curtain and the setting is definitely the grandest – a wide open amphitheatre-like space perfect for taking a rest from the uphill walk, and to sit and enjoy a picnic, if not a dip or paddle in the water.
Setting off revived once again, the path climbs up the side of Thornton Force and emerges above to an area of mini rapids. If walking the trail when the weather has been dry like I did, each little ledge of rock is visible below the water flow, adding a particularly attractive quality to the river. I can imagine when the river is in spate the rocks would be completely covered, looking very different indeed.
As you reach the top of the Twiss Gorge and emerge into open countryside look back the way you’ve come and you realise just how far you’ve climbed up.
The mass of Twistleton Scar End opens up to your right – this is the beginning of the Whernside Range, one of the famous Yorkshire 3 peaks.
Cross the river at the next footbridge: Ravens Ray Bridge and look up the river at your last view of the River Twiss Valley as it becomes Kingsdale.
The path continues up to Twistleton Lane – an old Roman Road that leads round into Kingsdale and this signals the highest point of the walk with fabulous views back towards Ingleton.
Ahead, superb views of Ingleborough (another of the Yorkshire 3 peaks) dominate, and this beautiful mass remains in view till you drop down to the River Doe.
Crossing the road, signs direct you onto the River Doe part of the trail and to the Falls Refreshment Centre. Hopefully this will be open for you as I believe its opening hours are rather temperamental. The toilets were not open when I passed by. It states on their website, it is open from 12 – 3pm (minimum) June to September, but also states this is ‘weather permitting’. Do not rely on the facilities being available.
From here, the trail enters Oak woodland once again and you soon arrive at the first of the falls on the River Doe: the attractive Beezley Falls.
The trail then starts to cling to the side of the gorge on wooden walkways and arrives at Rival Falls. Here the Doe plunges into a plunge pool known as “Black Hole” which is reputed to be over 80 feet deep.
From here you pass Baxenghyll Gorge where a narrow viewing bridge peels off to the left. This has a metal mesh surface so you can see the river immediately below you between the gaps. It’s a great place to view the water rushing through the gorge, but is ‘gulp-tastic’ and only for those with a head for heights. Keep tight hold of your camera!
The last of the falls on the Ingleton trail is Snow Falls and I had been primed that they were the most impressive on the trail; however I didn’t feel they were a patch on Thornton Force and unfortunately you can’t get very close to them. You also have to make sure you keep looking back the decent view of Snow Falls is behind you.
The last part of the trail alongside the River Doe passes through old limestone quarries before reaching the road back into Ingleton village where there’s a large selection of cafes and pubs to wet your whistle after this fabulous walk! I can recommend The Wheatsheaf Inn for a nice Yorkshire Pint!
If you’re parked at the waterfalls car park, keep bearing right on entering the village and you’ll find it, no problems!
Decent footwear is needed as although it is a well worn path, it is steep and rocky in places and full of tree roots.
With rare and interesting plants and wildlife and its importance as a geological site, much of the Ingleton Waterfalls Trail has been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest by Natural England.
There is a charge for parking and walking the trail as it is private land. A family ticket is £15 for 2 adults and 3 children.
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