Hardraw force is a 30 meter single drop waterfall in the Yorkshire Dales, near Hardraw, England (United Kingdom). From the M6 it is a 35 minutes drive (31 km), via Sedberg, to the hamlet Hardraw. In the hamlet Hardraw you can’t miss the sign “waterfall entrance”, at the Green Dragon Inn. Parking is for free but you have to pay an admission of £4 p/p (summer 2013). The waterfall is private property and is open (in summer, from 10am to 5pm). More information can be found on the website of Hardraw force.
At the entrance there is a cafe and toilets. It is a short and very easy walk (5 minutes max) to the base of Hardraw force. You can view the waterfall from both sides of the river but it isn’t allowed anymore to walk behind the waterfall to the other side. It is also possible to make a roundtrip walk: lower walk (very short) and the upper walk.
Hardraw force is claimed to be the tallest single drop waterfall in England, but there are other waterfalls that are taller. After heavy rainfall Hardraw force can be very powerful. When we visited the waterfall (July 2023) it rained much and the flow rate of the river Hardraw Beck was extremely powerful, a pleasure to see.
The name Hardraw is old English and means “shepherd’s hut”. Force is a common name in the region and is derived from the Norwegian (Viking) word Foss, which means waterfall.
A nice tidbit is that the waterfall was one of the film locations of “Robin Hood – Prince of Thieves”. Kevin Costner was swimming naked in the pool in front of Hardraw Force and walked behind the waterfall.
In 1899 a great flood came racing over the waterfall and into Hardraw itself, ruining buildings and uprooting coffins from the graveyard. The lip of the waterfall was demolished by the force of the water and the landowner at the time (Lord Wharncliffe) got his estate manager to repair the lip and it is now held together at the top by metal stakes (Wikipedia).
I think Hardraw Force is one of the better waterfalls you can visit in the Yorkshire Dales, but I don’t like it that much to pay for seeing natural beauty like waterfalls….
There are other magnificent waterfalls in the Yorkshire Dales and one of them (or actually it are four waterfalls) is my favorite waterfall in the UK: the Ingleton waterfalls in Ingleton. These are a must to visit and belong definitely to my top 3 most beautiful waterfalls in the UK.