Hardraw Force – England’s highest, unbroken, single drop waterfall

Hardraw Force waterfall

In the heart of Wensleydale, behind the Hamlet of Hardraw, is the gem of a waterfall by the name of Hardraw Force. At just under 100 feet off an overhang it is England’s highest, unbroken, single drop waterfall.. I must add that is the highest above ground.

Not too far away, by Ingleborough, there is the underground pothole of Gaping Gill that has a waterfall crashing 300 feet down into its cavern.

Hardraw Force is complimented by its enclosed surroundings and makes it one of the must see natural landmarks when in the area of Hawes. Not much walking is needed at all with the unique way of entering, as I shall show here.

the top of Hardraw Force

Upon entering the pretty and small Hamlet of Hardraw, don’t expect a simple car park with a gate and path leading off somewhere. Look for the Green Dragon Pub. Yes, the waterfall is privately owned and you go through the front door of the pub, and out the back door to get to the falls.

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The current price to see Hardraw Force (2021) is £4 adults, £2 children and under 5s free. There is a family ticket for £10.

Hardraw Force The Green dragon pub

From there you walk just a couple of hundred metres or so beside the river, into the gorge that ends were the water falls dramatically.

If you have never been, and yet the falls look familiar, then maybe you recall the scene in ‘Robin Hood Prince of Thieves’, where Kevin Costner’s Robin takes a waterfall shower. Well that was Hardraw Force. I seem to be accidentally following that film’s locations around after the other week at Hadrian’s Wall and the tree. Yet I am still nowhere near Nottingham

the waterfall along the path

Speaking of filming location. If you go through the Green dragon Pub, take a look around, and if you watch the new incarnation of All Creatures Great and Small it here that the pub indoor scenes are filmed.

the bottom of Hardraw Force

Looking behind the water you can see in the rock, the steps that have taken millions of years to create some of the dramatic, and beautiful scenery of the Yorkshire Dales.

Ancient layers of shale, sandstone and limestone that together with sea ages and the last ice age, has left the limestone overhang with the river dropping straight down into the earths scar you have just walked along.

Hardraw Force from the front
water coming over the top of hardraw force

I have a close affinity with this area. My family tree is entrenched in Hawes and the surrounding hamlets like Gayle. As a young child my father would often bring us to see relatives or to see the sights.

Hardraw Force is one of them of course. A place I oft return to now as a (ahem) much older fellow. When quiet and out of holiday season it can be a wondrous spot to sit, marvel and quietly enjoy whilst you think.

silky water at the bottom of hardraw force

When in Hardraw it doesn’t have to be a stop, see and go away again thing either. It is such a quaint place to stroll around or to enjoy a picnic by the river.

Hardraw riverside church

As well as the pub and falls there is for instance there is the riverside church, the tea rooms, lovely cottages to wander by and of course the great open Wensleydale countryside.

If you want to make a wee walk of it then the Pennine Way passes right through Hardraw from Hawes direction. A great 4-5 mile round trip.

tea rooms at hardraw
bridge in hardraw village

This whole Wensleydale area is a place that recalls my youth, with so many things to see and do, I shall be making a few trips back here over coming posts and time.

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5 Comments

  1. Oh wow, so interesting that it is privately owned. Very handy indeed!
    Thanks for the tip, always looking for little outings while I’m living in the UK so will definitly add this one to my list!

  2. How interesting! The waterfall is privately owned. Fancy having the natural waterfall in your back garden?!

    1. Paul Steele says:

      Hi, yes a great thing to have behind a pub yes? 🙂

  3. Amazing I enjoy photos as well information. thank you for sharing with us.

    1. Paul Steele says:

      Thanks very much Suri

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