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Waterfalls in County Durham

April 25, 2014

Just up the River Tees from the charming village of Middleton in Teesdale are a grand series of waterfalls. High Force and Low Force on the Tees itself and Summerhill Force and a series of other pleasant cascades on the Bow Lee Beck. County Durham Waterfalls 011

High Force is part of the vast Raby Estate and you have to pay admission to get the best views, though you can see much from the Pennine Way, which is a public right of way on the opposite bank.

Personally, I find it anathema that impressive natural features – surely the common heritage of us all – should become cash cows for  wealthy landowners.

Low Force, fortunately, is free to access, being adjacent to several rights of way, within a couple of hundred yards of the Bow Lees Visitor Centre – situated in a old Primitive Methodist chapel. A good place to get a snack and buy maps and walking guides.County Durham Waterfalls 034

Just up the valley of the Bow Lee Beck are a splendid series of smaller waterfalls, culminating in Summerhill Force, where in the 16th century an outlaw called Gibson hid out in the cave-like recess hard by the tumbling waters of the fall.

This is a splendid walking area with a great many rights of way.

Do go and have a look. Middleton in Teesdale would be a good centre for touring.County Durham Waterfalls 022County Durham Waterfalls 020






5 Comments leave one →
  1. plethiproject permalink
    April 25, 2014 5:46 pm

    When I saw the Gibson Cave waterfall I thought ‘that’s Janet’s Foss’ near Gordale Scar. They look very similar and both have a recess behind. At Janet’s Foss it is a tufa ‘shell’ that makes the cave.

    It also reminded me of Roughtin Linn, Northumberland.

    Thanks for the pictures!


  2. April 26, 2014 6:20 am

    All very good falls. A good place to hide out if you are on the run, that one.

  3. April 26, 2014 9:03 am

    Is the third one ‘Hardraw Force’? it looks like it. High Force looks great – I used to read that canoeists used to canoe over it! 😮

    It is bad that you have to pay – there’s quite a few in Wensleydale where you have to 😦

  4. plethiproject permalink
    April 26, 2014 9:11 am

    I thought it might be Hardraw. I think Hardraw is taller though. However last there over 20 years ago…

    It is interesting that the waterfalls that are ‘made’ from water cascading over a fault line or collapse have a similar look and feel.

  5. April 27, 2014 6:44 am

    No, in order they are High Force, Lower Force and Summerhill. That is in declining order of size as well.

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