The route cuts through glens classified as Sites of Special Scientific Interest and acrross the bed of a former lake, ground out by glacial action.
It threads its way through the Craven Faults, which have fascinated geologists for more that two centuries, and concluded in the village of Ingleton, which has a fascinating history.
FROM the Waterfalls Trail car park follow the track keeping the river to the right.
This is always spectacular, although it is especially at its best following wet weather.
Cross through a substantial gate and enter the scenically inspiring Swilla Glen.
This is the place to enjoy a study of geology. There is also a magnificent display of ferns, including the common polypody, male fern, wall rue, maidenhair spleenwort, hart’s tongue fern and the
rare brittle bladder fern.
In spring, bird life includes dipper, grey wagtail and tawny owl, while green and great spotted woodpecker are common.
The very rare and shy lesser spotted woodpecker is also resident but more difficult to spot.
At Manor Bridge turn right over the river, then left towards Pecca Falls, this can be both seen and heard.
This section follows the line of the North Craven Geological Fault and exposed areas of shale, sandstone and limestone can be seen.
These rocks erode at different rates and are the reason why the waterfalls are so spectacular. Look to the left to see a “cave” which was actually dug in the early 19th century in a fruitless
search for lead.
At Pecca Bridge cross the river and then turn right keeping the river and the falls to the right.
This area is very steep, but at this point it is obvious why an entry fee to the walk is needed.
Money has been well spent on the provision of splendid wooden steps and viewing areas.
Pecca Falls is a cascade of tumbling waters always interesting and, following rain or snow melt, absolutely spectacular.
The steps twist and turn with new aspects of the falls appearing at every shift in direction. Over the last century writers have argued over which are the most beautiful falls — Pecca or Thornton?
They are however, so different that any comparison makes no sense.
At the top of a steep climb go through a metal gate and pass the Lemonade Hut on the left. This is a remnant of Edwardian England and still provides light refreshments when the weather seems to be
suitable for a profit to be made. Descend to Thornton Force.
The name Force is a reminder that this was once an area settled by Scandinavians — probably the Danes. Their word for a waterfall was force. The views from the little picnic area are panoramic and
powerful. A break here prepares for another steep climb.
Pass up the wooden steps keeping Thornton Force to the right. At the top is Raven Ray which is the flat stony bed of what was once a glacial lake. Turn right over a bridge and follow the obvious
track towards the River Doe.
On the right is Twistleton Hall, which is at present being restored. Pass through Beezley Farm on the right and follow the track to the River Doe.
This is the place to watch buzzards rising on the air currents and apart from in the depths of winter there will be sightings of lapwing, curlew and skylarks which are all declining in many parts
of Britain. Here common sandpiper breed in the summer, but spend our cool winters in the warmth of South Africa.
Turn right onto the riverside path and keep the river on the left to reach Beezley Falls. This is another impressive area and, with no pollution in any of these streams, it is a rich area for
aquatic invertebrates. Stoneflies and mayflies are abundant beneath the shelter of the stones and these insect larvae provide food for the resident dippers. Stonefly larvae have two tails whilst
mayfly larvae have three.
Continue on to Snow Falls where the water is whipped up into a white froth, hence the name. Anyone who has seen Alpine torrents in Switzerland or Norway will not be disappointed with this area The
route bears slightly right and then left into Twistleton Glen. Here is another famous area for botanists.
In spring look out for primrose, butterbur, wood sorrel, celandine, wood anemone and a host of other species. Be sure to take a flower book with you and also an extra picnic. Take your time.
Beyond the glen a neat bridge spans the river. Cross this and turn right along the scenic path towards Ingleton.