Gordale Scar
Waterfall Skipton North Yorkshire

Gordale Scar

Waterfall In Skipton, North Yorkshire

Limestone ravine with two waterfalls in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales.

Last year we spent a few days in the Skipton area and it's an absolutely beautiful part of the country to explore. Some of the places we visited quickly made their way on to my favourite spots of all time, and Gordale Scar is one of those places. The path from the parking spot is very easy to walk along and you'll get beautiful views of the cliffs and Gordale Beck which runs alongside the path as you head up to the scar. We visited Gordale Scar as part of a longer walk which also took in Malham Cove, which is also a must visit if you're in the area.

The scar was formed over thousands of years by the action of water and ice. During the Ice Ages, meltwater from glaciers carved a deep channel through the limestone bedrock. As the climate warmed, the glaciers melted and the channel was left behind. Over time, water continued to flow through the channel, eroding the sides of the gorge and creating the steep cliffs that we see today.

The cliffs are about 100 metres high and 60 metres wide. The walls of the gorge are made up of limestone, which is a soft rock that is easily eroded. This has led to the formation of many interesting features in the scar, including potholes, caves, and waterfalls. It is a popular spot for rock climbers, however, I think I will continue to appreciate the beauty of the area from the ground.

The most famous feature of Gordale Scar are the waterfalls. The first waterfall is about 12 metres high and plunges into a pool at the bottom of the gorge. The water in the pool is a deep green colour, and it is surrounded by moss-covered rocks.

It is possible to clamber up the first waterfall, but apparently this is a real scramble and should only be attempted by experienced walkers. If you do decide to head over the first waterfall, you'll apparently spy the second one shortly after and the path eventually flattens out and becomes easier to walk on. We were far too sensible to do any scrambling, but please send us your pics if you've attempted it.

In the 18th century, Gordale Scar was a popular subject for painters of the Romantic movement. The scar was seen as a symbol of the sublime, a term used to describe the awe and terror that can be inspired by nature. The painter James Ward produced a famous painting of Gordale Scar in 1792. Ward's painting captures the drama and grandeur of the scar, and it helped to make Gordale Scar a popular tourist destination.

For the fellow twitchers out there, you'll spy lots of wildlife in the area. On our walk between Malham Cove and Gordale Scar we saw Meadow Pipits, Wheatear, Peregrine Falcon, Redstarts, Green Woodpecker and Heron hunting along Gordale Beck. No wonder the birds love it so much, it's stunning!

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Contributed by Sandra Clemens

I love the great outdoors and have been a National Trust & English Heritage member for years. I also love going off the beaten track and finding places like Sharp's Folly or Rothley Castle which are hidden gems in Northumberland. My favourite recent hike was climbing Red Screes in the Lake District on a whim, not fully grasping how high 776m was. It was still an achievement to conquer a Wainwright walk and I hope to do more one day.

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Sandra Clemens

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Gordale Scar was listed in Waterfall // North Yorkshire // Skipton