Hardraw Force

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Hardraw Force
Hardraw Force Jan 22.jpg
Hardraw Force
LocationHardraw, Yorkshire Dales, England
Coordinates54°19′16″N 2°12′8″W / 54.32111°N 2.20222°W / 54.32111; -2.20222Coordinates: 54°19′16″N 2°12′8″W / 54.32111°N 2.20222°W / 54.32111; -2.20222
Total height100 feet (30 m)

Hardraw Force (OS grid ref: SD869917) is a waterfall on the Hardraw Beck in Hardraw Scar, a wooded ravine just outside the hamlet of Hardraw, 0.9 miles (1.5 km) north of the town of Hawes, Wensleydale in the Yorkshire Dales.[1] The Pennine Way long distance footpath passes close by.

Comprising a single drop of 100 feet (30 m) from a rocky overhang, Hardraw Force is claimed to be England's highest unbroken waterfall[note 1][2] – at least discounting underground falls. The underground waterfall inside nearby Gaping Gill on the western flank of Ingleborough has an unbroken fall of over 300 feet (91 m).[3]

Geologically, the bed of the river and plunge pool is shale; on top of that is sandstone and the top layer is carboniferous limestone.

Public viewing of the falls is available through a turnstile located to one side of the Green Dragon Inn in Hardraw village. It is currently £4 per adult, £2.50 per child.[4] Access behind the falls is now prohibited.

Hardraw Scar[edit]

Hardraw Scar (54°18′58″N 2°12′18″W / 54.316°N 2.205°W / 54.316; -2.205) is a limestone gorge located behind the Green Dragon inn at Hardraw near Hawes in the Yorkshire Dales. It is a natural amphitheatre and in September is the site of an annual brass band entertainment contest.[5] The contest attracts bands from all over the North of England and is a popular event amongst players and audiences alike.

The gorge is alongside the Pennine Way. Access to the gorge is via the nearby public house.[6]

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.[7]

Hardraw Force and popular culture[edit]

Hardraw Force, 2004

Both J. M. W. Turner and William Wordsworth visited the waterfall[8] and both men stayed at the Green Dragon Inn.[9]

The falls were used as a location in the film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, in the scene where Maid Marian catches Robin Hood bathing under a waterfall.[10]

Hardraw Force is the setting for a brass band competition held annually on the second Sunday in September. The competition was first held in the falls' natural amphitheatre in 1884 when six bands took part; the competition lapsed in 1927 but was revived in 1976 and has gone from strength to strength since. In recent years two other musical events have started up at the falls: the Hawdraw Bash is a Folk Rock concert in early July and the Hardraw Gathering is a three-day festival of traditional music at the end of July.


  1. ^ On 6 December 2015, Malham Cove regained its waterfall after a gap of what is possibly centuries. After Storm Desmond, water was seen falling off the 230-foot (70 m) cliff into the stream below, which made it, temporarily, the largest unbroken waterfall in England.


  1. ^ "98" (Map). Wensleydale & Upper Wharfedale (B1 ed.). 1:50,000. Landranger. Ordnance Survey. 2002. ISBN 0-319-22698-0.
  2. ^ "Malham Cove: Storm Desmond brings 'highest' waterfall back to life". BBC News. 7 December 2015. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  3. ^ Winn, Christopher (2010). I never knew that about Yorkshire. London: Ebury. p. 167. ISBN 978-0-09-193313-5.
  4. ^ "The waterfall". Hardraw Force. Retrieved 30 July 2020.
  5. ^ "Brass Band Entertainment Contest". Archived from the original on 7 September 2008. Retrieved 30 December 2010.
  6. ^ Fellows, Griffith (2003). The Waterfalls of England: A Guide to the Best 200. Wilmslow: Sigma Leisure. p. 132. ISBN 1-85058-767-1.
  7. ^ Bagshaw, Mike; Mills, Caroline (2010). Slow North Yorkshire; Moors Dales and Coast Including York. Chalfont St Peter: Bradt. p. 82. ISBN 978-1-84162-323-8.
  8. ^ "Hardraw" (PDF). Out of Oblivion. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  9. ^ Robinson, Andrew (31 December 2014). "Dales pub boss exiting the dragon for life on a Greek isle". The Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
  10. ^ Smith, Anna (9 January 2015). "Unique Dales 'waterfall pub' on the market for £675k". The Westmorland Gazette. Retrieved 11 October 2016.

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