‘Everybody knows the moon is made of cheese…’Wallace in ‘A Grand Day Out’
The name of Wensleydale is almost synonymous with its cheese, beloved by Wallace in the Wallace and Grommit films. It is a beautiful valley, like all the Yorkshire Dales, and more visited than Swaledale to the north, perhaps because of that famous cheese! Another draw is the large number of waterfalls to be found here.
We recently spent a very pleasant day exploring the dale and visiting some of the waterfalls. The weather was perhaps typical of August in northern England. It was mild but cloudy, and mostly dry although we had rain towards the end of the day. Nevertheless, we managed to see a lot and had some very pleasant walks.
I enjoyed playing with the settings on my camera to alternate between freezing the drops of water in the falls and letting them blur to create a sense of movement. The brown colour of the water, by the way, is caused by peat washed down from the moors above after heavy rains prior to our visit.
This small waterfall is often overlooked, and we therefore had it to ourselves when we stopped for a quick look on our way up the valley.
There are actually three separate falls at Aysgarth, named rather prosaically Upper, Middle and Lower Falls. These falls have attracted artists over the centuries – Turner painted them, and Wordsworth waxed lyrical about them, as did John Ruskin. More recently they were the setting for some scenes in Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, including the famous fight scene between Robin Hood and his friend Little John.
This is England`s largest single drop above-ground waterfall. The falls drop about 100 feet into a rocky pool. Like Aysgarth they were visited by Wordsworth and Turner, and also like Aysgarth, they were used as a location in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, for the scene where Maid Marian catches Robin Hood bathing under a waterfall. The falls are on private land belonging to a pub, the Green Dragon, but open to the public on payment of a small fee.
Mill Gill Force
This single drop fall is less developed and less visited than Aysgarth or Hardraw. It’s about a mile from the small village of Askrigg along a woodland path, rather muddy at times. It started to rain while we were there so we didn’t go too close but we got a good view from the path.
I visited Wensleydale in 2020