The Yorkshire Dales are awash with rolling hills and beautiful walking routes, so many that you could live there for years and still not discover them all. But if you have time for just one walk when you are in the area, you would do well to head to the Ingleton Waterfalls Trail, a well maintained and trodden route taking walkers four to five miles around five sets of waterfalls from the beautiful village of Ingleton.
Having driven over from our home in Lincolnshire (we were ultimately heading to The Royal Hotel in Kirkby Lonsdale just down the road, but more about that another day), we parked up in the Trail car park and headed into the café for a slightly disappointing lunch (the sausages in the sandwiches were not great quality) before heading on the trail. Being a Thursday we were not surprised to find the car park mostly empty, and with the sun out and the skies clear we were looking forward to some great views on the circular walk.
Bridgedale Trail Light Socks
We donned our new Bridgedale Trail Light Socks with our walking boots, a light and low sock designed for everyday activities and warm weather day-hiking. Well it was definitely warm and as we weren’t really going far – around four to five miles, these seemed ideal. Being wool (using Bridgedale WoolFusion), our feet stayed dry and comfortable in our hiking boots without feeling like we were wearing super thick or technical hiking socks for this reasonably low level trail.
I’m a huge advocate of Bridgedale socks and have been hiking in them for many years. These new socks were a gift from Bridgedale, but I have a drawer full and would whole heartedly recommend them to anyone wanting a pair of decent socks for any kind of outdoors activity. Check out the Men’s Trail Light and the Women’s Trail Light over on their website for your next summer hike.
Ingleton Waterfalls Trail
The trail follows a well-defined footpath which runs close to the edge of two rivers – the River Twiss and the River Doe – to provide views of five sets of waterfalls. As you may have seen in the news, we are currently experiencing very low water levels here in the UK at the moment, and Yorkshire is no exception to this. Apparently it’ll take two months of good rain to get things back to normal, which is why the rivers were so low and the ground so dry.
The information leaflet says that the four-and-a-half-mile trail boasts some of the most spectacular waterfall and oak woodland scenery in the UK. This is a huge claim as there are some truly wonderful places in this country, and some of it is just down the road in my opinion, but it is definitely one of those encapsulating walks that shows off nature at its best. The trail takes you through woodland, along rivers, over bridges, alongside waterfalls, across farmland (it was lambing season and so this was pretty wonderful on its own), up and down man made and natural steps, through root and moss covered river banks, and finally through the village of Ingleton itself.
The waterfalls, and let’s face it that’s the reason we’re here, are beautiful. They are perhaps not quite as full of water as they should be thanks to the lack of recent rain fall, but the streams and falls here were still flowing. The most impressive is probably Thornton Force, where water cascades over 14 metres of limestone, but I particularly liked the Pecca Twin Falls which were so pretty, and there were plenty of other natural geological features to keep me interested including Baxenghyll Gorge – I love a gorge! I can definitely see why this place has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
Despite being a bit of a tourist attraction in its marketing, this isn’t an easy walk, although it’s not quite as strenuous as the leaflet and signs make out. The path is uneven and there are a large number of steps, which means it is certainly unsuitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs, but with decent footwear and reasonable fitness the views are available to anyone who wishes to put in a little effort. It took LincsGeek and I a couple of hours to make our way around the circular trail, stopping regularly to take photos.
You do have to pay to do the Ingleton Waterfalls Trail, which I don’t like in some ways as there is something about hiking that should be free to all to enjoy, but as the money is used directly on the trail to keep the paths maintained and the facilities up to scratch, I don’t think it’s a terrible thing. We did comment at the number of railings and “danger” signs everywhere along the route; I guess if you’ve paid to get in you might consider suing if you fall in? If only people knew how to look after themselves in nature. Of course if you get up super early to walk the trail then you’re good to go without a ticket, but other than that you’ll need to pay the £6 entry fee (which includes parking).
This is one of those trails that is well worth becoming a tourist for. Although it’s a popular route (and as such can be very busy at the weekend), it’s one that you shouldn’t miss out on if you’re in the area.
Find out more about the trail here: http://www.ingletonwaterfallstrail.co.uk/