Jonathan Smith runs Where2walk, a walking company in the Yorkshire Dales. Jonathan has written his own book, the Dales 30 which details the highest mountains in the Dales. He also runs one-day navigation courses for beginners and intermediates. Join his Learn a Skill, Climb a Hill weekends in the Dales. To find out more details on any of the above visit his website,

A SHORT walk which visits one of the most popular sites in the Yorkshire Dales, the lovely Aysgarth Falls. Complete the walk by heading through some farmland to Carperby, an idyllic small village.

The National Park Visitor Centre makes a good base as the café is excellent and the shop has some interesting nik naks. From the car park go to the far side of the car park and join a footpath heading down hill towards the River Ure. Emerge at the road and turn right in to High Force. A small voluntary contribution can be made before dropping to the iconic place where amongst other films the dual with Friar Tuck in Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves was filmed.

Return to the road and being aware of the traffic walk 200 metres uphill to the entrance gate of the main falls of Aysgarth. Here a path winds its way through some stunning woodland, particularly impressive at this time of the year as the ground is a carpet of pretty wild flowers. After 100 metres some steps on your right takes you to a viewing platform for the Middle Falls. The falls are in fact a series of steps and after heavy rains are particularly spectacular. It is beloved of both the poet William Wordsworth and the painters Ruskin and Turner. It is esteemed company! Return to the main path and follow it for a further 400 metres till a 2nd path on your right drops down to the shoreline of the Lower Falls. Here it is easy to walk along the rocky slabs on the side of the falls and get a really good feel of this tranquil spot.

Return again to the main path in the woods and continue to head east. A small gate brings you out of the woods in to open countryside. Pass through Hollins House farm and on to the farm at High Thorelsby, there are some pleasant views ahead of Castle Bolton. It is possible to carry on to Castle Bolton but not today. Just before the farm at High Thorelsby join the enclosed by hedgerows Thorelsby Lane, a footpath which feels as though it has been there for centuries. Just beyond High Thorelsby turn left (west)and cross over the disused railway line before heading across open fields. There are plans to re-open the rail line (it presently finishes a few miles to the west at Redmire) and take it up to Hawes which would be a real bonus. Fingers Crossed!

On reaching the road turn left and walk in to the pretty village of Carperby. It is linear in nature with a fine pub half way through, the Wheatsheaf Inn. The pub is where the real James Herriott and Helen honeymooned in November 1941. They walked down to the falls every day. Having walked through the village turn left and head down hill on a road for 300 metres to a footpath on your left. Follow this initially up but soon downhill, over a stile and back to the disused railway. Cross the railway and return to the car park at the National Park footpath.

Fact File:

Distance: Roughly four miles. Height to Climb: 100m (330 feet).

Start: SE 011888. Park at the National Park Centre.

Difficulty: Easy: There is some limited up hill and a few of the paths in the fields are intermittent in places but generally a straightforward walk.

Refreshments: There is a café at the centre and the Wheatsheaf pub in Carperby is very good.

Be Prepared:

The route description and sketch map only provide a guide to the walk. You must take out and be able to read a map (O/S Explorer OL30).

and in cloudy/misty conditions a compass (essential on this walk). You must also wear the correct clothing and footwear for the outdoors.