Hi my lovely readers!
Last weekend I took my first trip up to the North of England, my first holiday for almost a year actually and I must say it didn’t disappoint at all. The North is the agricultural power house of England and you’ll come across plenty of fields with crops and livestock. As it’s summer, everything is lush green and so pretty to look at. It’s just beautiful.
As part of my road trip, a visit to the High and Low Force Waterfalls located in the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) was a must. Those waterfalls originate from the river Tees and the nearest bigger town close by is Middleton-in-Teesdale, Teesdale.
High Force is the biggest waterfall in England and drops 21 m into a plunge pool below. There’re several different trails and pathways that lead to both High and Low Force Waterfalls, but the best one in my opinion as I discovered starts from Bowlees Visitor Centre.
A scenic walk to the biggest waterfall in England – High Force Waterfall in North Pennines, Durham
Due to long daylight hours my partner and I arrived a little after 6pm and found ourselves standing in front of the closed gate that leads to the High Force Waterfall. The entrance to this waterfall is situated opposite a very popular hotel called The High Force Hotel and the visitor parking.
We first thought we missed our chance to see the High Force, but luckily we found an even better path further down the road in Bowlees that had amazing, beautiful and very tranquil walking paths as well as views of Gibson’s Cave, Summerhill Force and Low Forces, which I would absolutely recommend over the standard visitor route to High Force opposite the hotel.
That one takes you directly to High Force and you’ll miss the other sights as well as the walk along the fields and the river Tees.
As the direct entrance to High Force Waterfall was (luckily) closed, we decided to stop by the Bowlees Visitor Centre to see where we should head of next to. They have a free car park, which is a bonus. They ask for voluntary donations to keep the toilets clean and look after the car park and surrounding area, which we gladly paid.
When we looked at the information board we noticed that there’s plenty to see around the visitor centre such as Summerhill Force & Gibson’s Cave, some walking paths and of course a trail to the Low and High Force Waterfalls.
To reach the waterfalls, you cross the road and a field with a few sheep to reach the forestry area. Then you cross a little bridge, one by one as stated on the sign next to it to get to the other site of the river. From there you turn right and head towards Low Force Waterfall, which is only a short walk away.
You’ll get some excellent views of the waterfall and it’s rock formations. If you fancy, you can sit close to the waterfall and just admire them or climb down to the water and dip your feet in it. Just be careful not to slip and fall.
Next stop would be the High Force Waterfall, which is about 30 min or so away from the Low Force Waterfall. This walk is so pleasant as you walk along the river Tees, which would be to your right and lush green fields to your left. It’s a truly enjoyable and light walk.
There’re farm houses in the middle of nowhere and juniper fields. The landscape is mesmerising and so calming and at the end of your walk you get rewarded with great views of England’s biggest waterfall. What’s not to love?
We took the same walk back, which was rather nice as you get a totally different view and perspective of the AONB. We crossed the bridge, field and road and went back to the car park to make our way to see Gibson’s Cave. The cave was only a short 10 min walk away from the car park and hidden at the end of the path.
According to the local tradition an outlaw called Gibson used to hide in this cave behind the Summerhill Force in the 16th century from the constables of Bernard Castle. He was well liked by the locals, who apparently helped him out and supplied him with food and dry clothing.
This walk was one of my highlights and the English countryside and natural landscape never disappoints. This walk is a must when you’re in the Pennines and should not be missed. It’s a true gem.
Would you like to take a stroll to the High and Low Force Waterfalls or across the Pennines?
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