Yorkshire Dales walk - Hardraw Force & Abbotside Common

Hardraw Force

Hardraw Force - Credit: Bernard Newman

An easy walk taking in the spectacular waterfall of Hardraw Force and an airy ridge walk with a fine prospect of Wensleydale.

From the village of Hawes, a very pleasant stroll across the river flats brings you to the Pennine Way and a luxury paved footpath to the village of Hardraw. A visit to the falls is essential, a mini-Niagara thundering over a precipice of hard sandstone into a charming, well-kept valley of green lawns and picnic spots.
Entry and exit to Hardraw Force is from the Heritage Centre next to The Green Dragon Inn. There is an admission charge to visit the falls. 

READ MORE: 12 beautiful waterfalls in Yorkshire


1. From Hawes head north out of town on Brunt Acres Road, past the caravan site on your right and crossing River Ure at Haylands Bridge. Shortly after leaving the river the road crests a low escarpment; turn left here to follow a footpath signed Pennine Way Hardraw 3⁄4 mile. Follow the good footpath through fields and on a slabbed path for 1km to rejoin the road in Hardraw village at The Green Dragon Inn.

2. There is an admission charge to visit Hardraw Force (entry and exit is from the Heritage Centre next to The Green Dragon Inn). After visiting the waterfall retrace your steps back to the road and turn left and left again between cottages to follow a footpath north, up across fields past West House to reach the lane west of Simonstone Farm.

3. Turn left and, after 50m, cut left down a ginnel, which brings you back to the stream above the waterfall. Turn upstream along the path to join a lane at the campsite at High Shaw.

4. Turn right up the lane for 100m to cottages and a footpath to Sowry. Double back left above the caravan site where pleasant open walking leads across fields and over gated stiles for 500m to reach the stream at a small wood. Turn right along the riverbank path, over a stile, then head up across the fields to reach the road at a barn.

5. Turn left steeply up the road to a quarry and viewpoint of the dale at High Abbotside. A few metres further on, after a cattle grid, a well-made track heads right (east) upon to the open fellside – take this. It’s a good spot for lunch with great open views.

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6. 500m from the road at a Public Bridleway sign, turn right and follow the track southeast, or the edge of the escarpment. After 1.5km the track dips and kinks. Leave the grey track, turn right (south) downhill on a curving grass path steeply through fields to a gate. Continue curving to the left alongside a small wood, then steeply down to a gate at a walled track – Shutt Lane.

7. Turn right down to the village of Sedbusk. At the main street – Sedbusk Lane – turn right and, after 50m, turn left through the wall at the footpath for Haylands Bridge. Descend gently across fields and gated stiles, crossing another road, then down again over a very old cobbled bridge to rejoin the road back into Hawes.

READ MORE: 10 waterfall walks in Yorkshire

START: Penn Lane (A684), Hawes. Various parking options available in Hawes, including Gayle Lane car park (parking charge). GR: SD 875898.
DISTANCE: 10.5km/6.5 miles
TOTAL ASCENT: 304m/997ft
TIME: Allow 5 hours
MAP: OS EXPLORER OL30, Yorkshire Dales: Northern & Central Areas, 1:25,000
REFRESHMENTS: Pubs, hotels and cafes in Hawes; The Green Dragon Inn, Hardraw 
NAVIGATION: Straightforward; lower fields a bit muddy in winter
BOOKS: Classic Day Walks in England & Wales by Vertebrate Publishing

Classic Day Walks in England & Wales

Classic Day Walks in England & Wales - Credit: Vertebrate Publishing Ltd