This site uses cookies please click 'Accept' to continue and remove this message or 'More....' to view our Privacy Policy

iFootpath uses first and third-party cookies to provide you with a personalised browsing experience. We do so in accordance with our Privacy Policy. By actively continuing to use this website, closing this banner or clicking the Accept button below, you consent to our use of cookies.

For full access to iFootpath, to view the GPS powered map, rate the walks, print, leave comments, mark walks as Favourite & Completed (mirror in the App), and much more please Register and login. It's free and only takes a moment or two. Already registered? Login here.

Teesdale Three Waterfalls

There are currently 0 comments and 3 photos online for this walk.

Teesdale Three Waterfalls
Author: Claire, Published: 04 Jun 2018 Walk Rating:star1 Teesdale Three Waterfalls County Durham Walking Guidestar1 Teesdale Three Waterfalls County Durham Walking Guidestar1 Teesdale Three Waterfalls County Durham Walking Guidestar1 Teesdale Three Waterfalls County Durham Walking Guidestar1 Teesdale Three Waterfalls County Durham Walking Guide
County Durham, North Pennines
Walk Type: River or lakeside
Teesdale Three Waterfalls
Length: 5 miles,  Difficulty: boot Teesdale Three Waterfalls County Durham Walking Guide boot Teesdale Three Waterfalls County Durham Walking Guide boot Teesdale Three Waterfalls County Durham Walking Guide
iFootpath home page    Get the iFootpath iOS/apple app    Get the Android app from Google Play    Get the Android app from Amazon

0002_sunny_intervals Teesdale Three Waterfalls County Durham Walking GuideToday's weather
12 °C, Partly cloudy, Wind: 27 mph W
Next few days: Hover over icon for more info.
0002_sunny_intervals Teesdale Three Waterfalls County Durham Walking Guide 0004_black_low_cloud Teesdale Three Waterfalls County Durham Walking Guide 0002_sunny_intervals Teesdale Three Waterfalls County Durham Walking Guide 0004_black_low_cloud Teesdale Three Waterfalls County Durham Walking Guide 0004_black_low_cloud Teesdale Three Waterfalls County Durham Walking Guide

A 5 mile circular walk close to Middleton-in-Teesdale in County Durham, within the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The walking route begins from the Bowless Visitor Centre and follows a route to visit three beautiful waterfalls. The first is Summerhill Force on Bow Lee Beck, whilst the second and third are both on the River Tees, Low Force and High Force. As if these stunning waterfalls are not enough, you will also enjoy a pretty riverside section of the Pennine Way with views across flower-rich moorlands, plant-rich wooded valley slopes and upland pastures along the way.

The walk includes several climbs and descents throughout, including several steep flights of stone steps. The paths are a mixture of stone paths and tracks, rocky uneven paths (which can be slippery when wet) and grass field paths (which can get muddy). The outward leg to reach High Force includes gates, footbridges and steps and crosses just one sheep pasture (with no stiles and with all other pastures being fenced away from your path). The return leg crosses two stiles (one stone stile and one wooden stile with wire fence surround, so dogs would need a lift over) and also crosses several livestock pastures. When we walked, these pastures held mainly sheep with a handful of cattle in a couple of them – the cattle seemed very relaxed as we crossed with our dog, but if you prefer to avoid the stiles and cattle you can simply retrace your outward route for the return leg instead. The access path for High Force is a private path with an entrance fee (£1.50 for adults and 50p for children in 2018) and is open 10am-4pm with dogs on leads welcome, but you can exclude this part of the route if you prefer not to pay. Allow 2.5 hours.

In terms of facilities, there are toilets plus a cafe and visitor centre at the start of the walk and there are several picnic areas here too. There is also a hotel and refreshment kiosk at the entrance for High Force.

The walk starts and finishes at the Bowless Visitor Centre which is accessed from the B6277, about 3 miles west of Middleton-on-Teesdale and just to the west of the small hamlet of Newbiggin. The visitor centre entrance track is marked with a brown tourism sign. The car park operates a Donate and Display system, with a recommended donation of £2.00 per visit. Approximate post code DL12 0XE.

Walk Sections

Start to Summerhill Force
Start to Summerhill Force

Start point: 54.6495 lat, -2.1446 long
End point: 54.6527 lat, -2.1416 long

From the car park, we first make a ‘there and back’ loop to visit our first waterfall, Summerhill Force. Walk along the length of the car park heading away from the vehicle entrance, pass the pay machine and stone building on your right and then fork left alongside a vehicle barrier on the track leading to the toilets. Continue on the path beyond the toilets and ignore the first wooden footbridge on your left. Bow Lee Beck is running on your left.

The path leads you through the site of an old quarry. This provided limestone for the Teeside iron and steel industries from 1920 to 1946, but today serves as a lovely picnic area. Keep ahead to climb the flight of steps which leads you past the first small waterfall on your left (there is a small viewing platform to the left at the top of the steps which is worth a quick visit).

Pass through the gate to continue on the beck-side path which later becomes surfaced with uneven rock slabs (take care as this can be slippery). The path leads you directly to Gibson’s Cave and the waterfall, Summerhill Force. The name force comes from the word foss, the Old Norse word for waterfall. The beck cascades over the lip of the limestone to create the force whilst the cave is formed by the dark recess beneath the rock overhang. The cave is named after William Gibson, a loveable rogue who is said to have hidden here whilst on the run from the Barnard Castle constables in the 1500s.

Summerhill Force to Visitor Centre
Summerhill Force to Visitor Centre

Start point: 54.6527 lat, -2.1416 long
End point: 54.649 lat, -2.1458 long

When you have finished at Summerhill Force, simply retrace your steps back to the car park. Once you reach the car park, turn right to cross the beck footbridge, signed to the Visitor Centre. At the far side, follow the stone steps leading you uphill and stay with the path which leads you directly to Bowlees Visitor Centre. The centre is housed in an old Primitive Methodist Chapel and includes a popular cafe (which is dog friendly) along with lots of information about the area’s landscape, geology and wildlife.

Visitor Centre to Low Force
Visitor Centre to Low Force

Start point: 54.649 lat, -2.1458 long
End point: 54.646 lat, -2.1507 long

Pass the visitor centre on your right and walk directly ahead down the tarmac access lane to reach the road. Turn right along the roadside for a few metres to reach the layby and then cross over the road with care to turn left onto the footpath signed to Low Force and the Pennine Way. Pass through the gate to enter the sheep pasture and follow the stone path leading you through this pasture.

Stay with the stone path for the length of two fields (passing through another gate along the way). At the end of the second field, use the stone gap or gate to pass through the stone wall into a woodland slope. Do NOT turn right along the path, instead go ahead straight down the slope (there is a gentler slope heading right then sharp left if you prefer).

At the bottom of the short slope, keep directly ahead to reach Wynch Bridge on the River Tees. A footbridge was first installed here in 1741 and the current suspension footbridge dates from 1830. Cross over river via this bridge (taking note of the safety notices that advise only one person at a time). At the far side you will find a viewing area immediately on your right, giving the perfect view of our second waterfall, Low Force, which falls for a distance of 5.5 metres.

Low Force to Holwick Head Bridge
Low Force to Holwick Head Bridge

Start point: 54.646 lat, -2.1507 long
End point: 54.6496 lat, -2.1735 long

When you are ready to continue, turn right on the Pennine Way (with the River Tees running on your right) which leads you up a flight of rocky steps. The path leads you past a beautiful pair of sandstone sheep sculptures and passes Low Force on your right. NOTE: This stretch of path has some parts with quite sheer drops to the river, so take care with children and dogs.

Beyond the falls, follow the stone path of the Pennine Way ahead, passing through a gate and continuing with the river on your right and beautiful fenced moorland to your left. The moorland is home to plenty of ground nesting birds in spring and early summer, such as lapwings, oystercatchers and curlews. In some parts, the path becomes very rocky underfoot so do take care.

After about a mile along the river, you will come to the next river bridge, Holwick Head Bridge. The main route turns right across this bridge to reach the fee-paying access path for High Force (see walk intro for details). If you intend to exclude this part, you could instead keep ahead along the Pennine Way for about 900 metres to see High Force from this river bank for free, and come back to this point afterwards – but be warned that this viewpoint is on a high exposed rock face above the falls, so you must take extreme care. We recommend the fee-paying alternative instead for the better views and for your safety. When you are ready to continue, cross over Holwick Head Bridge via the two gates.

Holwick Head Bridge to High Force
Holwick Head Bridge to High Force

Start point: 54.6496 lat, -2.1735 long
End point: 54.6508 lat, -2.1868 long

Once you have crossed Holwick Head Bridge, turn left through the kissing gate to enter the riverside meadow. Follow the grass riverside path to reach the far end of the field. Pass through the gate and follow the steep and long flight of steps leading you up through the woodland slope. At the top of the path you will emerge onto the pavement of the B6277. Turn left along the pavement and you will see High Force Hotel across to your right.

If you wish to exclude the fee-paying access path to visit High Force, simply skip ahead to the directions in the next walk section. To visit High Force, fork left onto the waterfall entrance slope and pay your entrance fee via the kiosk or honesty box. Follow the gravel slope leading you downhill between beautiful trees and rhododendrons. At the bottom of the slope, the path leads you over a river tributary via a stone bridge and then turns left to continue its riverside journey.

The impressive sight and sound of High Force soon comes into focus ahead. At the end of the path, a set of steps leads you down to the viewing area. At High Force the River Tees plunges 22 metres over the rock precipice. After very heavy rainfall a second waterfall appears to the right of the main one, whilst in harsh winters the falls have been known to freeze, creating cathedral-like ice formations.

High Force to Dirt Pit Farm
High Force to Dirt Pit Farm

Start point: 54.6508 lat, -2.1868 long
End point: 54.6562 lat, -2.1702 long

When you have finished at High Force, retrace your steps back to High Force Hotel to continue the walk. Standing facing the hotel, take the signed public footpath which leads you between the hotel (on your left) and the cafe kiosk (on your right). Turn right to pass behind the building, pass an old whitewashed barn on your left and go ahead alongside a vehicle gate to join a wide grass avenue (with the hotel parking area on your right).

Follow the path as it swings left, leading you under power lines to reach a stone wall ahead. Use the stone stile to cross the wall and enter a sheep pasture. Walk ahead (with a wall on your right) for only a few paces to reach a wide metal gate on your right. Turn right through this into a second pasture. With your back to the gate walk diagonally left (about 11 o’clock), passing immediately to the left of the small derelict stone building.

At the far side, pass through a gate into a third pasture and bear further left (about 10 o’clock) to follow the footpath downhill, crossing a stream bridge and reaching a stile in the bottom boundary. Cross the stile (dogs will need a lift) to reach an access lane. Turn right for just a few metres and then turn sharp left onto a side branch of the lane. Follow this access lane as it leads you downhill and swings right between the buildings of Dirt Pit Farm.

Dirt Pit Farm to End
Dirt Pit Farm to End

Start point: 54.6562 lat, -2.1702 long
End point: 54.6499 lat, -2.1445 long

Ignore the footpath signed to the left, instead stay with the lane as it swings right and then keep ahead on the stone track to reach a gate. NOTE: From this point, you are entering moorland pastures with free-roaming sheep and maybe cattle. Go through the gate and continue on the stone track which winds through the beautiful moorland pasture.

You will be following this track for just over a mile, so ignore any footpaths signed off to the sides. The track initially climbs to reach Ash Hill Farm, alongside a cattle grid. Use the gate to pass alongside the cattle grid and continue on the track as it leads you steadily downhill through more pastures, with lovely views ahead. You will need to pass through a further nine gates along the way. At the end of the track you will emerge directly alongside the visitor centre where the walk began.

Remember...the best way of following our walking guides is to use the iFootpath App (iOS and Android) where you will have all the information in the palm of your hand and see your exact location on the live map as you travel. You can also add comments, photos, ratings and track your own routes.

Check out these resources for your walk

hotels Hostel Directory GetMap Rail

network Teesdale Three Waterfalls County Durham Walking Guide Original GPX source file

Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2018 by iFootpath and the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.


The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

Powered by World Weather Online.

We've an App too

Did you know that we have an iFootopath App? - includes all walks with directions and a live map...

No need to print and no more wrong turns....

Get the iFootpath App

appstore  en badge web generic

Click top right X to close.

3 gallery images for "Teesdale Three Waterfalls"

10875_0clairesharpuk1528131109 Teesdale Three Waterfalls County Durham Walking Guide Image by: Claire
Uploaded: 04 Jun 2018
High Force
10875_0clairesharpuk1528135197 Teesdale Three Waterfalls County Durham Walking Guide Image by: Claire
Uploaded: 04 Jun 2018
Bobbie enjoying the walk.
10875_0clairesharpuk1528135591 Teesdale Three Waterfalls County Durham Walking Guide Image by: Claire
Uploaded: 04 Jun 2018
Bow Lee beck

Share

 

Walks Nearby

Recently Added Walks.

Lary to Morven, AberdeenshireShoreham and Polhill Bank, KentCreagan Riabhach, AberdeenshireAround Craigendarroch, AberdeenshireClimbing Craigendarroch, AberdeenshirePainswick, Bisley and the Wysis Way, GloucestershireBallater Old Rail Line to the Bridge of Gairn, AberdeenshireAround Ballater Golf Course, AberdeenshirePannanich: Craig Coillich, Aberdeenshire

There are currently 1290 shared walks online. Add yours today!

Uncover an Elevation Chart for this Walk

Find out more by becoming an iFootpath Fan (Free for 40 Days).

 

Elevation_Chart Teesdale Three Waterfalls County Durham Walking Guide

What our customers say

We've an App too

Did you know that we have an iFootopath App? - includes all walks with directions and a live map...

No need to print and no more wrong turns....

Get the iFootpath App

appstore  en badge web generic

Click top right X to close.