Waterfalls, Coves, Hills: Trekking Locations in the North of England


Capture the essence of adrenaline of trekking and climbing.

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Image by Nilfanion

By Megan Stoker

Around us there are some beautiful and interesting landscapes to explore. Whilst not at the altitude of Kilimanjaro, there are plenty of places right here in the North of England that capture the essence and adrenaline of trekking and experiencing the world from a height.

Natural landscapes like these are often more difficult to get to if, like most students, you do not have a car. However, the Outdoor Society, here at The University of York, not only offers term time walking trips to some of these locations but is a hub for meeting other enthusiastic walkers too. You can check out their helpful Instagram page and YUSU webpage for more information. Nevertheless, here are some great trekking locations in the North of England that make an exciting day out!

Malham Cove
A popular spot for more novice walkers in North Yorkshire, Malham Cove, whilst it’s not particularly tall standing at approximately 260ft, is a fantastic destination filled with interesting landscapes and features. A great and active waterfall once spilled over into the cove, forming its unique features from a 70ft drop. Malham Cove also sports some interesting geological features atop the limestone pavement; it is somewhat reminiscent of the Giant’s Causeway with its unique crackled looking stone. You don’t need to scale the rocky cliff to enjoy the view – there is a circular walk that goes around the site and allows you to survey the area from a height.

As well as this, the Malhamdale website mentions that Malham Cove is home to a variety of rare plants, herbs and wildlife such as Wood Sorrel, Little Owls and Peregrine Falcons, making Malham Cove a well-rounded visit for nature lovers.

Roseberry Topping
Around two miles outside of Great-Ayton, Roseberry topping can easily be spotted by its pointed summit and all the walkers! The hill has a long and interesting history with Vikings, a bronze age treasure hoard was once discovered on its slopes.

Whilst this isn’t a big climb, there are definitely more optional and challenging parts to scale, so it’s always good to stay safe by keeping an eye on terrain and weather shifts. At the rocky top, the view is nothing less than bucolic, capturing the grandeur of the Yorkshire landscape. From small villages to more rolling hills in the distance and surrounded by fields in shades of yellows to greens depending on the season, it's a great place to sit back and watch the world go by.

There is also a pub that is overlooked by the hill that would make a great place to grab a Sunday dinner or a refreshing drink after the climb. The climb doesn’t take particularly long overall, so Great Ayton is also a place to explore to make the most of the day.

Ingleton Waterfalls Trail
If you really love the tranquil yet dramatic atmosphere of waterfalls, Ingleton Falls is a great place to go. Set in the village of Ingleton in the Yorkshire Dales, the one way circular trail is at times narrow and physically challenging to climb due to uneven surfaces. There are a series of waterfalls peppered throughout the walk,which according to the Ingleton Waterfall Trail website, is 4.3 miles long and takes around 2-4 hours to complete. In Autumn, the opening times in September and October are from 9am to 4pm, however, in November the site closes an hour and a half earlier. Along the walk, a place called Breeze Farm has a public toilet as well as picnicking areas, so it makes a very useful place to stop to catch your breath.

One of my favourite parts of the trail is the third waterfall called Thornton Force. It was in the middle of summer when I went; there were many other walkers sunbathing, paddling in the water, and having picnics and eating ice cream from a van further up the walk after a steep incline. The reveal of the waterfall through the trees was breath-taking. If it wasn’t a one-way trail, I imagine I would’ve spent the day there soaking in the views.

The Ingleton Waterfall Trail website is an excellent resource for further information on the walk and has a downloadable guide on the homepage. It is also important to remember that unlike other locations in this article, Ingleton Falls has an entry fee (but it is well worth the price).

These are fantastic places to explore whether that is at the weekend, a weekday, or outside of term time. Climbing and hiking can serve to be a great way to de-stress after essays or exams, whether as a lone day out or with friends. Sometimes getting out into nature and away from our screens is a way of appreciating the natural and unique beauty that surrounds us.

Image Credit: Robert Linsdell