Where is this walk?

Cataracts of the Strid

April 26, 2024

The River Wharfe narrows up from Bolton Abbey to produce the cataracts of the Strid. The cataracts are the highlight of a delightful walk through the woods of the estate. Head up one side, come back the other.

The Walk

The Bolton Abbey estate has done an excellent job creating and maintaining the banks of the River Wharfe known on either side of the Strid (stride). At the Strid the river is squeezed through a narrow ravine. At one point it is only two foot wide. It creates rapids of immense power intermixed with patches of tranquil waters. In wet weather it is spectacular, in any weather it is extremely dangerous. Do not fall in as you can become sucked in to the deep pools under the rocks. In places the waters reach thirty foot deep as it has gouged its way through the ancient millstone grit leaving pools and eddies.

A Site of Special Scientific Interest was awarded to this part of the Duke of Devonshire’s estate. This was due in part for the acidic Oak Trees that line part of the river banks but also the other rare plants and fungi which grow here.  To find out more there are special tours arranged from the Strid Woods visitor centre. The woods are a pleasure to walk through. However my personal highlights were watching a heron gracefully skim the waters of the river and the flash of blue marking the passing of a kingfisher.


I actually enjoy this walk in rainy/windy weather. The trees offer a refuge and add to to the pleasure of knowing others are walking in less tranquil conditions.

Navigation Tips on the Strid

It is very easy to follow the route along the Strid. In particular look for the many signposts set up by the estate. Just follow them. The only choice you will have to make is at the northern end where you can either cross the aqueduct or head up for half a mile to Bardon Bridge. The latter is best in sunny conditions.

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