AboutThis 5 mile circular walk takes you through the stunning landscape of Upper Teesdale, within the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it includes Low and High Force waterfalls - the most spectacular natural features in the Durham Dales.
The walk is an excellent way to discover the characterful River Tees and the Moor House-Upper Teesdale National Nature Reserve. The high point of the walk (literally) is England’s biggest waterfall, High Force. Drop into the visitor centre at Bowlees for the café and to discover more about the area.
From the Bowlees Visitor Centre, head south (crossing the main road with care) and follow the public footpath that crosses the old miners' Wynch Bridge spanning the River Tees. Turn right and head upstream (this is the Pennine Way National Trail) to Holwick Head footbridge. This part of the route passes alongside Low Force and through the Moor House-Upper Teesdale National Nature Reserve, the wildlife of this area is some of the most important in the nation, and includes flower rich hay meadows and breeding wading birds.
Staying on the same side of the river at Holwick Head Bridge and continuing up the slope will take you to impressive views of High Force, plunging 70 feet (21m) over the hard Whin sill rock found throughout Teesdale (1.25 miles return). Cross the Holwick Head footbridge and turn left continuing on the other side of the river for a short distance before heading uphill through a woodland, emerging onto the main road at the High Force Hotel (for a small payment you can walk the 0.5 mile return path to the bottom of High Force waterfall).
Follow the footpath behind the buildings of the High Force Hotel and turn right along an unmade track (with the car park on your right) to a field barn and then head north east across two fields to meet a minor road to the small settlement of Dirt Pitt. Follow the track through Dirt Pitt and back to Bowlees Visitor Centre.
For a short additional extension to the route - at Bowlees, from the car park follow riverside footpaths to Gibson’s Cave and Summer Hill Force Waterfalls (0.5 miles return).
Route provided by the North Pennines AONB Partnership.
- In countryside
- Outdoor Attraction
- Walk Distance - 5 miles
- Distance: 1-5 Miles
- Grade: Moderate
- Theme: Nature
- Theme: Rivers / Reservoirs