|Start:||Aysgarth Falls National Park Centre||Difficulty:||Easy|
|Start (OS ref):||SE012888||Climbing:||57 metres|
|Map:||Explorer OL30 Yorkshire Dales North||Hazards:||Roadside & at Riverside|
|Parking||National Park Centre Car Park||Refreshments:||Aysgarth|
|Distance:||2.2 miles (3.6 km)||Route Download (Memory Map):||Memory Map (.mmo file)|
|Time:||1-2 hours||Route Download ( GPX):||GPS (.gpx file)|
This walk is a perfect family outing to Aysgarth Falls, one of the Yorkshire Dales premier visitor attractions. The walk begins by walking through delightful woodland and across pasture fields before turning back to systematically arrive at Low Force, Middle Force and finally High Force which make up the three distinctive triple flights of cascading water that have delighted visitors for years. Follow my walk to capture all the brilliance of the perfectly managed National Park attraction. And you're welcome to take your time, it makes for a stunning day out.
Aysgarth Falls are a breathtaking triple flight of waterfalls which have drawn me time and time again since my first visits in my childhood. The falls are carved out by the River Ure on its descent through Wensleydale but before we visit them there is something special not to be missed. The attraction of my attention on starting the walk from the National Park Centre car park was Freeholders Wood. The woodland is always carpeted in wild flowers in the Spring and Summer and as I was walking in May the early spring flowers were out like the blanket of white flowers in the picture above. In the broad leaved, deciduous woodland there are also many species of birds to look out for including Chaffinch, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, Bullfinch, Greenfinch, Blue Tits, Great Tits, Song Thrush, Blackbird and Warblers. A veritable challenging day out for Ornithologists! For me all I want to do is enjoy their song and the sight of them enjoying their rich habitat. As well as the birds there are Squirrels and Roe Deer to be seen, if you can find them that is. I looked out for them as I walked through the wood but to no avail, they eluded me. I did spot some of the bird species and even recognised a few including a number of plucky Blackbirds. From Freeholders Wood I followed naturally into the less dense St Joseph's Wood which in turn took me out of the woodlands and to the highest point of the walk in fields leading to Hollins House. From the fields there were lovely views to Lower Wensleydale in the east. After I reached and passed through the farmyard I tracked south and west to re-enter St Joseph's Wood but this time a rumbling sound took me from the trees and to water. I had reached Lower Falls the final step of Aysgarth Falls before the River Ure quietens on its way to Redmire.
At Lower Force I chilled out and sat on rocks by the waterside while taking in the moment. The sun was out, it was a lovely spring day and the sun made the water glimmer brightly. It was a delightful time. Visitors of all ages were doing the same, just taking in a special day in a special place. Who could blame us, they and I were in no hurry to go. I must have sat for half an hour watching the stirrings of children playing, parents observing and the mature strolling along the riverside. Eventually I made my move and took my leave of the riverside to regain the path on the edge of the woodland which led me to a tuning off the path down a stepped path to an observation point for a view of Middle Force. Less accessible than open and easy Lower Force the centre falls retain a mysterious identity as no one can get really close. I looked at Middle force for some time from the observation area while taking my turn as others did to get the best position for a photograph. That accomplished I took my leave and headed back up the steps to the main path as others stepped down past me. Now it was time for me to head back to the start of the walk but not to the end of it.
From the woodland path near Middle Force I soon found myself back in Freeholders Wood and a short while later back at my starting point by the roadside. Not dome though I followed the road down to yore Bridge from where I could hear the rushing waters of High Force. This top tier of Aysgarth Falls is the most visited and most photographed, usually from the middle of the bridge itself. I too walked onto mid bridge and looked out to High Force and the spot where Kevin Costner (Robin Hood) and Nick Brimble (Little John) had their spat on who had the right to cross the river first. The result was a score draw! For me, observation of the falls was enough and from the bridge I headed to a vantage point adjacent to High Force on the bend of the river to dwell for a while and take another few moments out before most reluctantly leaving and plotting my course back. Next time I'm bringing Lil, she must see all this beauty.
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