water babes Nikky Corker

Nikky Corker

Waterfalls abound in England, though we don’t have as many as possibly you would think – only around 125. They all tend to be in northern England.

Waterfalls are literally formed by erosions, the force of the water eroding rocks, so there is no land beneath and the water shoots over the edge. Abroad, some waterfalls are caused by ice that has melted away. In Antarctica, there is even a ‘blood red waterfall’ caused by iron salts that ooze out of the ice.

There is a hidden message in every waterfall. It says ‘If you are flexible, falling will not hurt you’. Mehmet Murat Ildan

tips to safely enjoy walks near waterfalls

  1. Ensure you wear sturdy shoes with good grip, as wet rocks can be very slippery, especially if they have moss or algae.
  2. Never get too close to the edge of a waterfall, nor swim in the waters below it, however calm they look. Not only can the water force be extreme, but often there are hidden rocks below. If there are safety rails, know they are there for a purpose and keep behind them. Obey safety notices.
  3. If you take photos, look where you are going rather than at the waterfall. You could easily slip or fall, as waterfalls have a lot of uneven ground.

some of the best waterfalls in England

High Force (the name is from ‘foss’ which is Nordic for waterfall) is one of England’s most spectacular sights. Situated near the North Pennines, this is likely the largest (but not the highest waterfalls), but is the biggest by volume of water, with three different types of ancient rock present. Near the Teesdale market town of Middleton, locals can nearly always hear the water running.

Take very good care as some people have died visiting the top of this waterfall, as the drop is so powerful. People are advised not to swim here. Just admire and then take in the beautiful North Pennines countryside nearby. There is a legend of a ghost – a Victorian farm girl who threw herself into the river, after a failed affair with a local miner.

One thrill-seeker who tried to back-flip from this waterfall narrowly survived, and warned others not to do it, also saying ‘sorry mum’ for giving her such a fright. He had carried out a full risk assessment but found himself dragged under the strong current, nonetheless.

Ingleton Falls (Yorkshire) is in the Dales, and there’s a local hike nearby. It features unique limestone and many rare birds like to visit here.

Gaping Gill (Yorkshire) is also in the Dales, but this time within a cave chamber so big that you could fit a cathedral. However, only experienced pot holers can visit as you have to wear a safety hat and be lowered down!

Hardraw Force (Yorkshire) is yet another waterfall in the Dales. This is hundreds of millions of years old and features unique limestone in a curved shape.

High Force (County Durham) is in the adjacent county. Also resting on the River Tees, this has a huge water drop of 70 feet (the highest in England).

Aira Force (Cumbria) is in the beautiful Lake District, which houses a lot of England’s waterfalls. On Ullswater, it has an almost-as-high drop of 65 feet and Wordsworth even wrote a poem about it (he came from the nearby town of Grasmere, where he lived with his sister Dorothy).

Waterfall Swallet (Derbyshire) is in the Peak District. Near the villages of Foolow and Eyam, you’ll also pass by Mompesson’s Well. This is where heroic villagers (all died) stopped the 1665 plague becoming worse by isolating themselves after a consignment of cloth brought with it infectious fleas.

a Yorkshire waterfall, blighted by litter

Lumb Falls waterfall is in the pretty Yorkshire town of Hebden Bridge (literary people will know the area for its links with Ted Hughes and his first wife Sylvia Plath, who is buried nearby). TV fans will know it as the setting for BBC series Happy Valley. Sitting on private land just 3 miles out of town, people can access them via permissive paths, but the falls have recently been in the news.

Because instead of appreciating being able to visit, some visitors have left the area covered in litter, which also spoils the area for other visitors and is dangerous for wildlife. Even experienced wild swimmers have now been advised not to go in the waters, due to the presence of broken glass bottles.

One local who takes people to visit to help with mental health problems, says he was shocked when he visited to see not just food wrappers, crisp packets and empty beer and soda cans, but even people’s discarded socks and underwear.

One type of litter of particular concern was disposable barbecues. Local councillors say that in dry summer weather, just one spark could kill thousands of birds and wildlife, and also put the lives of firefighters at risk. Same if people drop cigarette butts on land near the waterfall.

wonderful waterfalls around the world

Niagara Falls Dolcelocal


On the border of USA (just above New York) and Canada are Niagara Falls (three waterfalls that produce 4 million kilowatts of electricity).

Victoria Falls are the largest waterfalls in the world, known in Africa as ‘the smoke that thunders’ due to the mist and noise these waters produce. You can hear these waters from 25 miles away.

Iguazu Falls (mostly in Argentina) are a series of 275 falls in the shape of a horseshoe, which make up the biggest waterfall system on earth. The rest of these falls are in Brazil.

Angel Falls (Venezuela) are the largest continuous waterfalls in the world. And if you know your Wombles, you’ll be interested to know that these falls are a tributary of Carrao River (part of the Orinoco River).

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