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Ten of the Best: Waterfall Walks

Who doesn’t love a waterfall? They have so many fascinating connections. I can think of hundreds of examples of paintings, poems, photos, novels and films that use these captivating and romantic settings to capture a certain mood. If you are able to visit a waterfall in real life, you will reap the benefits. Waterfalls are proven to enhance your mood and deliver health benefits, so why not try one of the much-loved iFootpath Waterfall Walks…

lower force main and coverWhen it comes to waterfalls, so many magical images spring to mind. From fair maidens washing their shimmering locks to swash-buckling heroes diving into pools fed by the falls; from dare-devil tightrope walkers teetering across the water to creatures of legends making their homes behind the curtain of water. Waterfalls have attracted much attention throughout history. Many famous artists used waterfalls as their subjects, whilst during the Victorian era they became popular tourist destinations with elaborate picnic banquets being carried to and enjoyed at remote waterfall sites.

The Victorians were onto something here because the health benefits of waterfalls are well-documented. The sight of waterfalls is enough to lift our spirits. Moving water like crashing waves, showers and waterfalls all generate negatively charged ion particles. Falling water splits the normally neutral particles in the air and frees up negative ions. The negative ions in turn bond with neighbouring smaller air particles, which gives the new compound an overall negative charge. The newly formed negatively-charged air molecules tend to occur near waterfalls or breaking ocean surf. The impact can be very dramatic, with air around waterfalls such as Niagara Falls containing up to 100,000 negative ions per cubic centimetre, whilst the air we normally breathe inside our homes would be closer to 100 negative ions per cubic centimetre.

These negative ions have a positive impact on health, mood, and energy. Physical effects include increasing serotonin levels (a hormone linked with mood) in the bloodstream, stimulating the activity of the protective cilia in our respiratory airways, dilating blood vessels and increasing the alkalinity of our blood. Increasing our exposure to negative ions benefits our well-being in a host of ways, including lifting mood, alleviating depression, reducing anxiety, keeping our airways functioning efficiently, accelerating recovery from fatigue, increasing energy levels (by stimulating metabolism) and strengthening our resistance to illness.

Negative ions also bond with impurities in the air, adhering to suspended particles and removing them, producing cleaner and fresher air. Even a small number of negative ions are able to kill airborne bacteria and germs.

Feel the beneficial effects for yourself with one of these iFootpath Waterfall Walks…

Goathland and Mallyan Spout, North York Moors

A short walk from the famous village of Goathland in the heart of the North York Moors. The walk gives you chance to explore the village itself (made famous as the set of TV drama ‘Heartbeat’) then descends into the valley to visit the Mallyan Spout waterfall (which has a vertical drop of around 20 metres) and an enchanting stretch of the West Beck river before joining a section of the old railway for the climb back to the village. Read more…

hareshawHareshaw Linn Waterfall, Northumberland

A 3 mile ‘there and back’ walk to visit the enchanting waterfall, Hareshaw Linn, in Northumberland. The walk leaves the village of Bellingham and follows the pretty stream, Hareshaw Burn, up along the gorge through beautiful woodland to reach the impressive waterfall. The waterfall was a favourite picnic spot in the Victorian era. Read more…

Henryd Waterfall, Brecon Beacons

A very short easy walk (a total of less than one mile there and back) to view the beautiful Henrhyd Waterfall. There is also the opportunity to walk behind the falls if you don't mind a narrow path over wet rocks. Henrhyd Falls are the highest in South Wales at 90 feet (27 metres). Read more…

Bronte Country: Haworth Moor and Top Withins, West Yorkshire

A 7.5 mile circular walk around the moorland to the west of Haworth in West Yorkshire. The Bronte Sisters wrote most of their novels whilst living at Haworth Parsonage, when their father was parson at the local church. The route takes in sections of the Bronte Way and Pennine Way, visiting the sisters’ moorland haunts including Bronte Bridge and Waterfall (where the sisters were said to take turns sitting and writing their first novels) and Top Withins (the ruined farmhouse reputedly the setting for the farmstead Wuthering Heights). Aside from the literary connections, you will be able to enjoy long stretches of high moorland which blooms into a bright purple in mid to late summer and is criss-crossed by pretty streams. Read more…

Glenashdale Waterfall, Isle of Arran

A 3 mile circular walk from Whiting Bay on the Isle of Arran. The walk has an early 150m climb up to the Giants' Graves, two chambered cairns with fantastic views over Whiting Bay and Holy Island. The walk then continues to reach a viewing platform for the Glenashdale Falls (also known as Eas a’ Chrannaigand) then returns through a wooded glen. Read more…

Janet’s Foss, Gordale Scar and Malham Cove, Yorkshire Dales

A 5 mile circular walk from the village of Malham in the Yorkshire Dales, North Yorkshire. The route takes you through classic limestone scenery and visits three iconic sites – the waterfall of Janet’s Foss, the steep gorge of Gordale Scar and the beautiful limestone pavement and impressive natural cove of Malham Cove. Read more…

Lynmouth and Watersmeet, Exmoor

A circular walk of approximately five miles, starting and finishing in the North Devon town of Lynmouth. The first half of the walk is along the picturesque East Lyn river gorge. The East Lyn river itself, is a fast-flowing waterway tumbling across a rock strewn riverbed. There are many rapids and waterfalls to enjoy. The second half of the walk takes you over some beautiful coastline with breath-taking views across this part of North Devon and out across the Severn estuary. Read more…

high force teesTeesdale Three Waterfalls, County Durham

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.  Read more…

Aira Force Loop, Cumbria

A circular walk taking in Aira Force waterfalls and a panoramic birds eye view of Ullswater Lake. This is some of the most stunning scenery in the UK. The walk climbs up Benard Pike giving the view over the entire Lake of Ullswater and the key attraction is the deep gorge and waterfalls of Aira Force. Read more…

Aysgarth Falls, Yorkshire Dales

A 2.5 mile circular walk from the village of Aysgarth in Wensleydale within the Yorkshire Dales, North Yorkshire. The walk takes in a woodland nature reserve and rolling farmland, with lovely views of Bolton Castle, plus one of the most spectacular attractions within the Dales, Aysgarth Falls within the River Ure. The triple-flight waterfalls of High Force, Middle Force and Lower Force stretch over a one-mile length of the river, a spectacular sight especially after periods of wet weather when thousands of gallons of water cascade over a series of broad limestone steps. The falls have grabbed the attention of many cultural icons for more than 200 years, from Wordsworth to Turner and even a Hollywood film director. Read more…

 

September 2018

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