Four Keld waterfalls, an abandoned farmhouse and incredible Yorkshire Dales views – sounds like the perfect day out, right? Well, that’s exactly what’s included in this Yorkshire Dales waterfalls walk!
The Yorkshire Dales is full of waterfalls. Popular ones include Cauldron Falls in West Burton, Aysgarth Falls on the River Ure in Leyburn, and Hardraw Force near Hawes. And, while all of these are beautiful, they’re all fairly isolated. Unless you live in the Yorkshire Dales, you’d be driving quite a way for just one waterfall! And, I haven’t even mentioned Ingleton Waterfalls Trail, which charges £8 per adult and £4 per child to see the waterfalls!
This walk is free and visits four waterfalls around Keld, with the option to branch off to visit an abandoned farmhouse. An optional extra I highly recommend because of the fantastic views from its hillside position! Below, is all the information you need including maps and photos to guide you through this waterfall walk in the Yorkshire Dales.
Last updated: February 2022. First published: March 2021.
The Yorkshire Dales Waterfalls Walk Route
Distance: 3.6 miles/5.8 kilometres
Elevation gain: 179 metres (cumulative)
Walking time: 1.5 to 2 hours
Start and endpoint: Rukin’s Campsite Car Park, Keld, DL11 6LN
Markers: red, start/endpoint; green, waterfalls; orange: abandoned farmhouse.
Click the link above to download the file for use in a GPS viewer. This way you’ll be able to track where you are on the route using your phone’s GPS – avoiding accidental detours and providing reassurance for less experienced countryside walkers! Once you’ve downloaded the GPX file above, install a GPX viewer app (Google PlayStore or iPhone App Store) and load the GPX file.
Parking for the Keld Waterfalls is available at Rukin’s Campsite Car Park (see on a map). The site operates an honesty box for parking charges: £2 for a few hours and £3 for all day.
Waterfall 1: East Gill Force (two parts)
From the car park, you need to walk back across the street and join the footpath (to the right of the outbuilding) that is signposted as towards the Pennine Way. Follow this path until you come to a split. Take the left-hand option, heading downhill towards the river. Here, you’ll catch sight of the first waterfall on this Yorkshire Dales waterfalls walk!
East Gill Force is a series of two waterfalls. The upper part of East Gill Force is a single drop waterfall (dropping 4.5 metres), which is the more visible and more easily accessed of the two. While, the lower part of East Gill Force, nearest the River Swale has a staggered drop over 3 metres.
The lower part of East Gill Force is quite hard to get to. As such, the best view of it is from the opposite side of the river. Although, the view isn’t the greatest because of all the trees and branches. But, the heavy sound of water flowing will be music to your ears. The more adventurous (and well-prepared) may want to try navigating to the side of this smaller waterfall. Just be prepared to get very wet, muddy and need to climb through bushes!
Just upstream along the beck is the upper part of East Gill Force. Cross over the bridge and follow the path and this waterfall will be easily sighted! In front of the upper East Gill Force is a large, flat rock area allowing you to get fairly close to the waterfall without needing to take a dip.
Head East to an Abandoned Farmhouse and Incredible Viewpoint
Next up, you’ll venture up to an abandoned farmhouse, which sits at the corner of a valley offering incredible views over the hills. Sound good? Let’s go!
From East Gill Force, keep following the path over the top of the waterfall and east towards Crackpot Hall. This is the name of the now-abandoned farmhouse building that stands in ruins at the top of the valley. Perched on the hillside it offers fantastic views of the surrounding area, even on the rainiest of days, as I can attest to!
You’ll have reached Crackpot Hall when you see ever-increasing amounts of slate and the remains of a mining car. Head off the path towards the abandoned building above you. Even though it’s off the main path, you’ll be able to follow the trodden ground to these eerie remains.
You’ll need to return to East Gill Force by following the same path back to rejoin this Keld waterfall walk. However, heading in the opposite direction along the path offers completely different views. So, you won’t even feel like you’re retracing your steps.
If you are short on time you can skip this part to the farmhouse and viewpoint. This reduces the walking distance by 1.5 miles/2.4 km, simply continue towards Currack Force from East Gill Force using the instructions in the next step.
> > > RELATED POST: For another Yorkshire Dales walk (and some more Yorkshire waterfalls), check out this Malham circular walk route – taking in Malham Cove, Janet’s Foss and Gordale Scar (away from the crowds!)
Waterfalls 2 and 3: Currack Force & Wain Wath Force
Once you’ve walked back to and over the top of East Gill Force, take the path as it goes off to the right. It’ll be signposted as the Pennine Way.
Follow the path for 100 metres or so and then take the track to the left (rather than the path to the right). Continue on this track. It’ll take you over the top of Currack Force before you can access it from the field on its far side.
Currack Force is not the easiest to get close to. A wet, muddy and adventurous climb down to the best vantage point is necessary! The spray from the waterfall makes the ground muddy and slippery even on the driest of days, so come prepared. Nevertheless, this single drop waterfall is well worth the visit and is well off the beaten path.
To get to the next waterfall, head back to the track from Currack Force until it joins a road that snakes downhill and across the River Swale. Turn right at the T-junction, walking along the side of the road until you reach Wain Wath Force.
Enter through the gate on the right-hand side of the road to the viewing spot for the waterfall. Given its position on the roadside, Wain Wath Force is the most popular and visited spot of this Yorkshire Dales waterfalls walk. Although not the tallest or most striking, Wain Wath Force is a wide waterfall with a large plunge pool area.
The final stage of this Yorkshire Dales Waterfalls Walk: Return to the Car Park
Return to Keld via the B6270 road running parallel to the River Swale (and nearest Wain Wath Force). The distance back to Keld is less than 1 mile and you may need to step onto the grassy banks as cars pass.
FAQs on this Keld Waterfalls Walk
Where is Keld?
Keld is a small village located in North Yorkshire and the Yorkshire Dales, on the Pennine Way. It’s about 25 miles from the large towns of Barnard Castle and Richmond just outside the Dales. Additionally, the nearest small town is Hawes, 9 miles away in the centre of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
Where’s the best place to stay near these waterfalls in the Yorkshire Dales?
Accommodation is available in Keld, which is right next to Wain Wath Force. Just be aware, Keld is a very small village and there are very limited amenities and facilities. Instead, the villages of Muker and Gunnerside still have that remote Yorkshire Dales feel but have at least a pub, with Gunnerside also having a cafe and a tearoom.
The nearest town – Hawes – has several takeaways, local shops and is also home to the Wensleydale Creamery.
Is this walk suitable for children or with dogs?
Yes! The paths generally have a gentle slope to them. The steepest part of the walk is from the path to Crackpot Hall if you choose to visit. Getting close to the Keld waterfalls can be slippery and requires a bit of climbing, so children should be supervised and be prepared to all get muddy and wet!
Can you swim in these Yorkshire Dales waterfalls?
If I were to swim at any of the Keld waterfalls it would be Wain Wath Force. Mainly, as this has a large plunge pool area and easy access to the river banks. And, even then, only in the height of summer!
The other waterfalls are difficult to access or just less ideal for swimming. The lower part of East Gill Force flows into the River Swale, so this is not the safest option either. Currack Force is also difficult to access from the river bank due to the number of trees and bushes.
Essentials for this Keld Waterfalls Walk
Waterproofs are essential to avoid getting soaked from the spray of the waterfalls in Yorkshire. Given the unpredictable British weather, even in the summer months, I’d recommend a water-resistant jacket – otherwise, you’ll end up cold and soggy! I love my fleece headband as well. It keeps my ears warm but isn’t as insulating as a hat, so it’s great for walking when your body temperature is rising!
If you have any questions or want any more information drop a comment below and I’ll get back to you!
Prices and offerings mentioned are correct as of February 2022 but are subject to change in future.
Other Yorkshire Walks You Might Be Interested In…
CENTRAL YORKSHIRE DALES: A Lesser-Known Malham Circular Walk (Avoid the Yorkshire Dales Crowds)
CENTRAL YORKSHIRE DALES: Buckden Pike Walk (The Perfect Yorkshire Dales Day Out)
SOUTHERN YORKSHIRE DALES: Grimwith Reservoir Walk, Yorkshire Dales (Circular Route)
WEST YORKSHIRE: Ilkley Moor Walks: 4 Circular Routes
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