With a 30 Metre cascade, Hardraw Force is the highest above-ground single-drop waterfall in England.
The name Hardraw could refer to shepherd’s hut from Old English, and Force or Foss translates as waterfall from Old Norse.
OS grid ref: SD869917
Located next to Hawes in the hamlet of Hardraw, this beguiling waterfall was formed as part of a wider process when glaciers scoured huge tracts from the land, creating valleys (or Dales in old Norse) such as Wensleydale. When the last glaciers melted almost 12,000 years ago, unique and iconic features were left such as Hardraw, which is just one among many awe-inspiring natural wonders in the Yorkshire Dales. The Force has been visited by various noteworthy characters such as Wordsworth, his sister Dorothy, JM W Turner and Kevin Costner who took a dip in the slightly “nippy” waters when filming Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.
Previously a fee would be payable at The Green Dragon Pub for entering the Force but now there is a small visitor centre where a few parking spaces are available for free. If you cannot fit in the car park, try park in the Hamlet of Hardraw.
Entry cost is £4 for adults, £2 for children (under 5 for free) and £3 for concessions. Family Tickets £10. Well-controlled dogs welcome
After paying, the side entrance to the left of the centre will be opened by a member of staff. Once this gate is open make your way down the path towards another small gate which can be pushed open. Our Minimo Plus can quite easily deal with the little bump through this gate.
Carry on along the path towards the waterfalls. Be aware of the steep sides on your left as the stream runs parallel to you. There is a viewing point at a gate labelled “No entry”. It isn’t possible or safe to venture further with the mobility scooter from this point. Although there is another path with a viewpoint on the opposite side of the stream, this isn’t accessible due to the risk elements associated with the bridges mentioned previously. When you have had your fill of the cascading torrent, make your way back the way you came, perhaps stopping at the benches for a quick snack where you can reflect before heading off to Cotter Force, The Wensleydale Creamery or The Dales Countryside Museum. It’s an area with plenty to offer.
A firm gravel pathway leads through to an area with grass and picnic benches. Our advice is to avoid crossing the three wooden bridges to your left as the humped bridge is quite steep. You may be putting yourself and others in danger if you try to cross these bridges.