The winter of 2012 arrived with a vengeance in early February but cold weather walks can be a real joy. This is certainly true of water falls because they so seldom freeze over. Birds know this and move upstream to the falls where they find food in the open water.
How the get there
From Kendal follow the A65 road through Kirkby Lonsdale and on to Ingleton. The falls area will be signed. Close to the Information kiosk there is a pay and display car park. There is a circular waterfall footpath well marked all the way.In the winter do not take any chances but wrap up well and wear the proper footwear.
Map reference: OS Landranger 98
Grid reference: 695 733
Length: 6 miles
1 From the waterfalls trail car park follow the track keeping the river to the right. Cross through a substantial gate and enter the scenically inspired Swilla Glen. This is of great geological interest and also famous for the ferns which can be seen at their best in winter.
2 At Manor Bridge turn right over the river and then left towards Pecca Falls, which can be seen but also heard. Look out for a cave which is not natural but dug out in the 19th Century in a fruitless search for lead.
3 At Pecca Bridge cross the river and then turn right keeping the river and the falls to the right. This area is very steep but steps and barriers ensure that the area is safe. At the top of a steep climb go through a metal gate and pass the ‘Lemonade Hut’ on the left. This is a remnant of Edwardian England. Descend to Thornton Force. The word force is old Scandinavian and literally means waterfall.
4 Ascend a flight of wooden steps keeping Thornton Force to the right. At the top of Raven Ray, which is the flat stony bed of what was once a glacial lake, turn right over a bridge and follow the obvious track towards the River Doe. Pass Beezles Farm on the right and follow the track to the river.
5 Turn right on to the riverside path and keep the stream on the left to reach Beezley Falls.
6 This really is a ‘wonderful waterfall walk.’ Continue on to Snow Falls where the water is whipped up into white froth, hence the name. Anyone who has seen torrents in Switzerland and Norway will still be impressed by Ingleton Falls.
7 The route bears slightly right and then left into Thistleton Glen. This is another naturalists paradise and another place to study ferns. They are surprisingly easy to identify because there are less than 50 present in Britain and there are good guide books. Be sure to revisit the area in spring when the flower list can be very impressive.
8 Beyond the Glen a neat bridge spans the river. Cross this and turn right along the scenic path towards Ingleton. The village is a delight with its Norman church and a modern information centre. There is no shortage of pubs and cafes. Look out for some of the old coal miners cottages. It is surprising to find that there was once a coal mine here, which closed in 1937. A short downhill stroll leads back to the starting point.
A note of caution: some of the older maps have an error, and confuse the names of Ingleton’s two rivers. The map here has everything in the right place.
NB: Restrictions on space mean that this article provides a general summary of the route. It is advisable for anyone who plans to follow the walk to take a copy of the relevant Ordnance Survey map.