Walk 166: Aysgarth Falls & Woods…just a stunning walk

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: 3.3 miles (5.31 km)

Time to walk: This is only a short walk, but it took us 2.5 hours as there’s so many places to just sit & take in the wonderful scenery

Difficulty: Easy & on a mixture of surfaces. Be careful on some of the rocks near the waterfalls if it’s been raining as they may be slippery. This is a great walk for dogs, but you’ll need to keep them on a lead if sheep are present

Be aware that the amount of water coming over the falls can vary from day to day, depending on the amount of rainfall. We did this walk in May 2022, when the river was quite low. We had visited the previous November when it was considerately different!

Toilets: at the National Park Centre

Parking: £5 for the day at the National Park Centre at Aysgarth Falls

Map of the route:

Many people know Aysgarth for the “top falls” viewed from the bridge. This walk takes them in, but the middle & lower falls are also included, all over a one mile stretch of the river Ure

The name ‘Aysgarth’ means gap or open place where oak trees grow. This walk has a bit of everything…a river, waterfalls, woodland & open pasture. The village itself is small, but St Andrews church is well worth a visit 

Shall we go & explore then?

Let’s Walk!

1. We start this walk at the National Park centre…

Firstly this walk will visit the Upper Falls, so walk away from the Centre through the car park & down the steep path

When we visited in May, all of the slopes were covered in ransoms (wild garlic) & bluebells. The smell was incredible

2. The path at the bottom of the slope continues straight through the gate ahead, but it’s worth carefully wandering out onto the old bridge…

If you fancy some refreshments, then the Mill Race Tea Room on the left is highly recommended. Just stand in front of the counter & take ages to choose! I went for the fruit loaf with Wensleydale cheese which was simply awesome 

3. Peep over the bridge wall at the Upper Falls. They were very ‘tame’ in May…

…but in November…you see, everything depends on the level of rainfall

4. Let’s go & have a closer look at the Upper Falls, so go back to & pass through the gate & walk up the tree alley…

What you’re walking on now is actually private land so please make your donation towards the upkeep

Now it’s a case of enter, wander & enjoy…

5. Once you’ve finished wandered around the Upper Falls return to the car park & now pass down the path in front of the Centre…

Turn right along the road at the bottom &, at the end of the fence look for the gate over the road…

6. Pass through the gate & take the right track…the left one is the one we’ll return on…

After a few yards ‘The Assistant’ decided to do a “paws on” on ‘Lottie’s Seat’..

7. Walk down the steps on the right to view the ‘Middle Falls’…

Even though there wasn’t a massive of water flowing, it was still quite impressive…

8. Return up the same path & continue in the previous direction through a gate & then looking for a gate on the right to the ‘Lower Falls’

The views with the drop here are just stunning. Although there was a lack of water, this is a special place…

9. Come back up the steps & turn left, walking back to the junction. Now turn right & walk up the well-marked track

The views across to the right are amazing…

10. Continue up the track between the fences…

…passing through another gate

11. The views just keep getting better & better…

Pass through another gate (beware sheep may be in this field) & keep climbing…

…up towards Hollins House

12. Pass through the next gate & into Hollins House farm, keeping on the same track

The house on your right has amazing views but keep going through the next gate

13. Now…..the next bit of this walk is quite interesting if you like to follow OS Maps. This is because it takes you through the gate on the right…then heads across to the next gate & then doubles back to the left corner! Bizarre.

So naughty, but just continue straight ahead from Point 13 & then look for the gate on the left. The reason I say that is that in the field the path took us were ground-nesting birds, including curlews & lapwings – it wouldn’t take much to do a temporary path diversion at this time of year

14. Pass through the gate & walk along the narrow path with the fence…

…passing through the gate at the end

15. If there’s no livestock in this field it’s a great place to let your dog off its lead & just let them run. It’s all meadow & the path drops down the hill past the large tree in the picture below

Keep heading down towards the track…

16. On reaching the track bear left…

…& pass through the old railway bridge

17. On the other side the path arrives at a fork. Take the right path…

The rest of this walk is going to be through woodland…the first part of which is St Josephs Woodland

18. Pass through the gate….

…into Freeholders Wood

19. Continue along the path to finally arrive at the gate on the road we crossed earlier. Turn right & retrace your steps back to the National Park Centre

So that’s our look at Aysgarth. It was great to discover that there were two sets of falls I’d never seen before & each day you visit you’ll see different flow levels etc

It’s a great walk so….if you’re in ‘The Dales’

Go Walk!