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Five waterfall walks we love

Some lovely hikes past rushing water, from the famous torrents of Aira Force and High Force in the North, to a dip in the little-known pools of a Devon river.

1. Aira Force, The Lake District

This is a waterfall good enough for Wordsworth, he wrote a poem about it, and it draws the crowds. For the best views with the least people, head out early in the morning or late in the evening (the best times for the all-important waterfall picture) . Choose from trails ranging from a measly 0.5 miles to a more challenging 4 mile climb of Gowbarrow Fell, you’ll be rewarded with the best views of the valley. Sturdy footwear and waterproofs recommended. It’s National Trust land and there are four pay and display car parks nearby.

2. High Force and Low Force, County Durham

Two waterfalls for the price of one on this section of the Pennine Way. Pass through pretty woodland to reach the smaller Low Force falls, which is pretty impressive in its own right. High Force itself cascades a huge 21 metres into the pool below. The falls aren’t the only thing to see, you’ll pass through the North Pennines AONB and a National Nature Reserve too, look out for upland birds and some rare plants along with roe deer and rabbits.

3. Pistyll Rhaeadr, Powys

Start at the car park at Pistyll Rhaeadr for a 20 minute scramble to the top of the falls, or from the café Tan-y-Pistyll for walks from the bottoms of the falls, varying from 3 miles and moderate to 7 miles for the more energetic. The view from the bottom is pretty awesome. This is mountaineering country so best done with walking boots, it can be slippery in wet weather, but on a clear day, the lake, ridges and crags make it well worth the effort.

4. Thomason Foss, North Yorkshire

Thomason Foss is one of the easiest waterfalls to reach in the North York Moors National Park but also one of the most beautiful. It can be found between the villages of Goathland and Beck Hole in in a pretty woodland ravine on Eller Beck. The North Yorkshire Moors heritage railway runs just to the north of the waterfall at the top of the ravine and if you’re lucky you might see a train passs. To get to the falls follow the Eller Beck from Mallyan Spout and Goathland of take the signposted footpath from Beck Hole, which is an easy 20 minutes. For the best pictures you’ll need to scramble over boulders to approach the base of the falls.

5. East Okement Pools, Devon

This is one of Devon’s lesser-known waterfalls but a really fun day out, especially for anyone who likes a wild swim. We discovered it when we were staying nearby at Honeydown. Start in Fartherford at the stone viaduct, follow the river through the lush woodland of West Cleave to a watery staircase, packed with pools and waterfalls. The more adventurous can wear a wetsuit and scramble from pool to pool finding natural slides for added fun. Just past West Cleave Rocks, a great picnic spot, is a twenty-foot waterfall, swim in the pools above and below and shower in the falls. Head on to the moors to and continue on to Cullever Steps or Belstone.

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