Force of nature: top waterfall walks

From the Brecon Beacons to the Lake District, we care for places with some breathtaking waterfalls. Each cascade is unique, some unravel down rock faces like a ball of silk, while others hurtle ferociously through valleys. Venture out on one of our favourite waterfall walks and let the force be with you.

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The Whitelady Waterfall, Lydford Gorge, Devon

Lydford Gorge, Devon 

Take a refreshing walk along steep winding paths to find the Whitelady Waterfall, which falls down the face of Lydford Gorge in Devon like a skein of silk. Step into the fine mist created by this narrow 98ft (30m) fall and feel the soft spray on your face. Notice how this moisture-infused environment creates a rich green scene of mosses and ferns.

The Lightspout waterfall in the Carding Mill Valley and the Shropshire Hills, Shropshire

Carding Mill Valley, Shropshire 

Wander along the heather clad slopes of Shropshire’s Carding Mill Valley to find the Lightspout waterfall. You’ll hear it before you see it – the sound of tumbling water fills the valley. Follow the stream until you reach the 13ft (4m) cascade of water forcing its way through a narrow cleft in the rocks. Watch out for stonechats, buzzards and red kites.

Geese on water with the Palladian Bridge in the background at Stowe

Stowe, Buckinghamshire 

Combine your love of water with fascinating history and exquisite architecture on a visit to Stowe. Among the highlights is a cascade of water that passes under three historic arches before plunging into Stowe’s glittering Octagon Lake. The arches for the cascade were built around 1728, then a decade later, decorated by artificial ruins thought to have been designed by renowned English architect William Kent. The cascade and arches, which are accessible by foot, offer up incredible views of the Eleven Acre lake to the west and the Octagon Lake and the neo-classical architecture of the Palladium Bridge to the east.

Aira Force waterfall

Aira Force, Cumbria 

Experience the power and beauty of the waterfall at Aira Force, created by rainwater running down from the fells. Listen to its roar and feel the spray on your face as it thunders 65ft (20m) down a steep and craggy rock face. During the spring, dippers like to nest behind the waterfall. If you’re lucky you might see these tiny white-breasted birds flitting in and out from behind the torrent of water. While you’re here explore a network of wildlife-rich trails that weave their way from the lakeshore of Ullswater to the Gowbarrow summit.

Waterfall Hayburn Wyke

Hayburn Wyke, Yorkshire 

Are you lucky enough to see the double waterfall at Hayburn Wyke in Yorkshire? If you visit after heavy rain you will see a second cascade of water join the permanent waterfall as it crashes through the boulders of rock and onto the beach below.

The Aberdulais waterfall

Aberdulais, Neath Port Talbot 

Experience the power of a waterfall created by a river that’s been driving industrial innovation for more than 400 years. The River Dulais weaves a path through the foothills of the Brecon Beacons and the picturesque villages of Seven Sisters and Crynant, falling in a silky veil at Aberdulais before fizzing over the rocks to join River Neath. The valley that cradles the River Dulais and its waterfall was formed around 20,000 years ago by a glacier further up the valley, which slowly cut its way through 300-million-year-old rock as it melted.

Glenoe Waterfall

Glenoe, Northern Ireland 

Falling in snowy plumes through luscious green foliage, the Glenoe waterfall, which is nestled into the wooded glens of Antrim, is one of the area’s lesser-known natural treasures. This hidden gem was the recent beneficiary of a £75,000 conservation project. Work has been done to secure the rock face, replace the bridge and upgrade the access path. Natural materials such as locally sourced timber and stone preserve the magic of this beautiful woodland setting.

Looking out from the cave behind Henrhyd Falls, Powys, Wales.

Henrhyd Falls, Brecon Beacons 

From a distance the waterfall at Henrhyd on the western edge of the Brecon Beacons looks like a white vale as it falls 90ft (27m) over a sheer rock face and into the wooded gorge below. On a bright day the tumbling water glows, the moss on the rocks behind it many shades of brilliant green. Film fans will be excited to learn this magical setting doubled as the Bat Cave in the blockbuster movie Dark Knight Rises. This magical site is also home to lots of incredible birds and wildlife.

See the beautiful waterfall at Bodnant Garden

Bodnant Garden, Conwy 

See how water features add magic to Bodnant Garden, which was the extraordinary vision of scientist, businessman and politician Henry Pochin. Wander through luscious water gardens infused with the scent of roses until you find the romantic Waterfall Bridge. First built in the early 1800s, this rustic wooden bridge has a cascade of water that falls into a glassy stream below, which is crowded by pink rhododendrons and trees. Breathe in the scent of the flowers and listen to sound of rushing water.

Rheadr Ddu waterfall in Ganllwyd, South Snowdonia
Walking trail

Rheadr Ddu Ganllwyd, Wales 

Listen to the crash of two waterfalls as they hurl themselves 60ft (18m) over a slab of black rock before coming together to join the River Gamlan. A wooden bridge offers great views of this magical display, which inspired one visitor in the 18th century to inscribe a line of poetry on a rock near the bridge. We have reproduced the passage, taken from a Thomas Gray poem, on a slate tablet so today’s visitors can read it. While you’re here follow the mountainous trail past the 19th-century remains on the Cefn Coch gold mine.