Cataracts of the Strid

  • Site of Special Scientific Interest
  • All weather walk
  • The power of the lower Wharfe

I think the estate has done a wonderful job creating and maintaining the banks of the River Wharfe known as the Strid (stride). The river at this point is squeezed through a narrow valley (at one point it is only 2 foot wide) creating some rapids of immense power intermixed with patches of tranquil waters. However I walked the banks of the Strid during an exceptionally dry period making the river less spectacular to look at but still pleasant to walk beside. In places the waters reach 30 foot deep as it has gouged its way through the ancient millstone grit leaving pools and eddies, ideal for fly fishermen.

The Site of Special Scientific Interest was awarded to this part of the Duke of Devonshire’s estate due to the acidic Oak Trees and some other rare plants and fungi which grow here.  To find out in more detail there are special tours arranged from the Strid Woods near Dusty Bluebells, a recently opened shop and tea shop. However I prefer finding out for myself and my highlight was the graceful heron that I sat and watched for a while before I attempted to photograph it in flight, not a great effort but all part of the enjoyment of the Strid.

Recommend: Reading up on the geographical background to the Strid and what to look out for on the walk.

Download GPX file

Strid map


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OS Map: O/S 1.25,000. OL2 Yorkshire Dales South & West Buy Map
Start Point: SE 058562. On balance I prefer starting at the Strid Woods Car park rather than the Cavendish Pavilion as it feels less busy.
Height to Climb: 38 ms (125 feet)
Terrain: An excellent track throughout but on the west bank keep to the path nearest the river for greatest interest.
Eating & Drinking: There are 2 possible options, the Cavendish Pavilion which serves everything from teas, lunches and a quick beer to the more sedate Dusty Bluebells.
Similar Walks Nearby: In Sight of Simon’s Seat
Addingham to Bolton Abbey
Villages of Wharfedale
Places to Stay: