Hardraw Force

Hawes / Yorkshire Dales National Park, England, UK (Great Britain)

About Hardraw Force


Hiking Distance: 0.6-0.8 miles round trip
Suggested Time: 45 minutes

Date first visited: 2014-08-16
Date last visited: 2014-08-16

Waterfall Latitude: 54.31969
Waterfall Longitude: -2.20206

Hardraw Force was an impressive classic plunge-type waterfall that contrasted from the neighboring Aysgarth Falls in many ways.

For starters, this was a singular waterfall with a satisfying 30m drop instead of a series of smaller waterfalls and cascades.

Hardraw_Force_046_08162014 - Hardraw Force
Hardraw Force

By the way, that drop was said to be the highest singular drop waterfall in England that’s above ground.

I often wondered about that claim considering we swore we had seen other taller waterfalls above ground in other parts of England.

At least we know for sure that there were taller underground waterfalls even within the Yorkshire Dales itself such as the Gaping Gill, which I would have the fortune of visiting a day later.

Secondly, the experience was rather unusual in that we had to get through a pub to even get onto the walk to the falls.

Hardraw_Force_003_08162014 - About to enter the Green Dragon Inn for a quick lunch before experiencing the Hardraw Force
About to enter the Green Dragon Inn for a quick lunch before experiencing the Hardraw Force

We actually had lunch in that pub and inn called the Green Dragon Inn, and I’d have to say that this pub could very well have been the closest thing to the quaint and cozy public house that Rick Steves had us sold on in his DVDs.

That said, we never really encountered the singing of local folk songs and the families (including toddlers) playing along.

Instead, it was a place that provided some thick wooden tables and chairs in a tight area all within the heat of the fireplace with people ordering up some hearty soups, sandwiches, and pies over some ales.

It was just what we needed to take shelter from the wind and rain that came over the area upon our arrival.

The Short Walk to Hardraw Force

Hardraw_Force_068_08162014 - Looking back at the backside of the Green Dragon Inn
Looking back at the backside of the Green Dragon Inn

Once we paid the admission (I think we paid 3 pound per adult in cash only though the food and drinks could be purchased electronically), we then walked out the back of the pub and onto what looked to be a driveway.

Next, we walked past the gate for the Heritage Centre, where the footpath then veered past what looked to be a campground.

Afterwards, we went past an open area where it appeared some trail improvements were being made.

Then, the trail finally followed along the Hardraw Beck stream leading right up to the head of the mini-gorge where the Hardraw Force made its impressive leap.

Hardraw_Force_019_08162014 - Julie continuing to walk past some camping area on the way to Hardraw Force
Julie continuing to walk past some camping area on the way to Hardraw Force

There were some trees within the scar that helped to break some of the rainfall, but at least the weather allowed me to take some meaningful tripod photos given the even light from the cloudy skies.

Overall, Julie, Tahia, and I took our time and spent about 45 minutes on the walk, including all the picture-taking.

We probably could have lingered here a bit longer, but the onset of bad weather hastened our visit.

Last Tidbits about Hardraw Force

Meanwhile, I had noticed that prior to doing the waterfall walk, there were public footpaths signposted Simonstone.

These footpaths flanked the Green Dragon Inn property and passed through other private pastures along stone walls.

Hardraw_Force_024_08162014 - Julie about to get to the Hardraw Force at the end of the trail
Julie about to get to the Hardraw Force at the end of the trail

And from my brief survey of these footpaths, I had no way of being able to tell that the Hardraw Force was so close by, which I’d attribute to the presence of the Hardraw Scar.

Bottom line was that there didn’t seem to be a way of experiencing the falls (let alone even knowing if it was there or not) without getting through the Green Dragon Inn.

Finally, you might be wondering why Hardraw Force (and many others in the region) has the word “force” in its name.

The explanation comes from the Viking heritage of the region, where depending on which part of Scandinavia you’re familiar with, you might recognize the words “foss” or “fors” (meaning waterfall).

Hardraw_Force_070_08162014 - Sheep grazing in the fields around the Green Dragon Inn
Sheep grazing in the fields around the Green Dragon Inn

This ultimately evolved into the English adoption of word that turns out to have nothing to do with Star Wars or the physics term.

Authorities

Hardraw Falls resides in the Yorkshire Dales near Hawes in North Yorkshire County, England. It is administered by the Hardraw Force, The Heritage Centre. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you can visit their website.

Hardraw_Force_006_08162014 - Before having lunch at the pub in the Green Dragon Inn, I surveyed the public footpaths flanking the property
Hardraw_Force_010_08162014 - Looking back at both the property next to the Green Dragon Inn along with the inn itself from the Simonstone Footpath
Hardraw_Force_012_08162014 - The Simonstone Footpath cut through sheep farming pastures like this
Hardraw_Force_013_08162014 - The gate leading onto the Simonstone Footpath
Hardraw_Force_016_08162014 - After having our hearty lunch at the Green Dragon Inn, we then went out the back of the pub and onto the path to Hardraw Force
Hardraw_Force_017_08162014 - Julie walking past the Heritage Centre on the way to Hardraw Force
Hardraw_Force_061_08162014 - The footpath then went through an open area with picnic tables and some construction equipment where it looks like they're trying to improve the access or something en route to Hardraw Force
Hardraw_Force_042_08162014 - Right at the base of Hardraw Force
Hardraw_Force_047_08162014 - Context of Hardraw Force
Hardraw_Force_050_08162014 - Another contextual look at the Hardraw Force
Hardraw_Force_055_08162014 - Last look at the satisfying Hardraw Force
Hardraw_Force_059_08162014 - Having been to New Zealand twice before, this seat caught our eye
Hardraw_Force_064_08162014 - As we were returning to the Green Dragon Inn, we started to get some bad weather again
Hardraw_Force_067_08162014 - After having our fill of the Hardraw Force, we headed back to the Green Dragon Inn and the Heritage Centre

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We approached Hardraw Force from Aysgarth Falls so we’ll describe the driving route in that manner.

For directions on getting to Aysgarth Falls from York, see the Aysgarth Falls page.

The town of Aysgarth was said to be 56 miles (90 minutes drive) northeast of York.

From the village of Aysgarth on the A684, we drove west on the A684 for another 10.7 miles (going past the town of Hawes) towards a tight and easy-to-miss turnoff for Bellow Hill Road on the right.

Hardraw_Force_071_08162014 - The parking situation before the Green Dragon Inn, where we had to look for street parking and then walk to the entrance for Hardraw Falls
The parking situation before the Green Dragon Inn, where we had to look for street parking and then walk to the entrance for Hardraw Falls

We followed the nearly single-track narrow road for about 0.5 miles into the small village of Hardraw where we saw the Green Dragon Inn.

The car park for the falls was closed when we were there, but we were fortunate to find some street parking.

However, it really didn’t seem like there was that much space for public parking unless you’re willing park further away and walk a bit.

This drive between Aysgarth and Hardraw took us about 30 minutes.

As for some geographical context, the city of York was 72 miles (90 minutes drive) northeast of Manchester, 87 miles (over 2 hours drive) east of Kendal, 208 miles (4 hours drive or 2.5 hours by train) north of London, and 234 miles (4.5 hours drive) north of Bath.

Top down then downstream sweep of the falls before panning back towards the waterfall showing its entirety in one go


Top down sweep of the falls starting with the cliffs closing in around the falls before ending downstream

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Tagged with: hawes, yorkshire dales, national park, england, uk, united kingdom, waterfall, north yorkshire, richmondshire, green dragon, hardraw beck, hardraw



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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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