Yorkshire Dales waterfall Hardraw Force featured in Robin Hood film and was visited by William Wordsworth

It holds quite an impressive title as England’s largest single drop waterfall.

Hardraw Force. photo: Marisa Cashill. Technical details: Taken on a Fujifilm X-T3, 16mm lens, 11 seconds at f/22, ISO 200.
Hardraw Force. photo: Marisa Cashill. Technical details: Taken on a Fujifilm X-T3, 16mm lens, 11 seconds at f/22, ISO 200.

Dropping a reputed 100ft, Hardraw Force flows over the edge of a rugged limestone formation in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

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Set behind the Green Dragon Inn near Hawes, the beauty spot featured in the 1991 film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

The waterfall, believed to have been formed more than 15,000 years ago, towards the end of the last ice age, was used to film the scene where Maid Marian catches Robin Hood bathing naked. That is not the only time the fall has been used creatively.

Joseph Mallord William Turner, one of Britain’s greatest Romantic artists, painted dramatic scenes of mountains and waterfalls across the Dales including Hardraw Force.

Visiting in 1816, Turner made two sketches of the site and developed one into a finished watercolour Hardraw Fall, available to purchase in print and canvas form from The Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.

The force also captured the heart of William Wordsworth, who visited with his sister Dorothy.

Writing in 1799, he said: “We walked up to the fall; and what would I not give if I could convey to you the feelings and images which were communicated to me?

“After cautiously sounding our way over stones of all colours and sizes, encased in the clearest water formed by the spray of the fall we found the rock, which had before appeared like a wall, extending itself over our heads like the ceiling of a huge cave, from the summit of which the water shot directly over our heads into a basin, and among the fragments wrinkled over with masses of ice as white as snow, or rather, as Dorothy said, like congealed froth.

“The water fell at least ten yards from us,” the poet continued, “and we stood directly behind it.”

Today, the tumbling fall remains a much-loved spot with walkers in God’s own country, with a heritage centre with tea room and toilets open during its most popular season.