Wain Wath Force

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Wain Wath Force with the limestone cliffs of Cotterby Scar in the background.

Wain Wath Force is a waterfall situated on the River Swale in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, North Yorkshire, England.[1] The falls are located at grid reference NY883015, one kilometre upstream from the hamlet of Keld which has three other waterfalls in its vicinity, namely Kisdon Force, East Gill Force and Catrake Force. The falls in the north of England are often termed “Forces” after the Norse word “Foss” which means waterfall.[2]

Its name derives from the ford above the fall, wath being the Anglo-Saxon word for a ford. Wain may denote that it was passable for a cart or wain.

Wain Wath Force is not a substantial falls; it has a drop of only around 1.5 metres as the river flows beneath the limestone cliffs of Cotterby Scar. Despite its modest height it is popular with visitors; the Coast to Coast long distance footpath passes the falls on the north bank of the River Swale while the main motor road up Upper Swaledale passes on the south bank.


  1. ^ Kelsall, Dennis (2015). "24". Walking in the Yorkshire Dales: North and East (Second ed.). Cicerone. p. 151. ISBN 978-1-85284-798-2.
  2. ^ Skeat, William W. (2005). A Concise Etymological Dictionary of the English Language. New York: Cosimo Classics. p. 194. ISBN 1-59605-092-6.

Coordinates: 54°24′32″N 2°10′54″W / 54.40882°N 2.18176°W / 54.40882; -2.18176