Archive for June, 2011

Aysgarth Falls


Aysgarth Falls are a set of three waterfalls, surrounded by forest and farmland, carved out by the River Ure over an almost a one-mile stretch on its descent to mid-Wensleydale in the Yorkshire Dales of England, near the village of Aysgarth.The three waterfalls achieved global fame in the film ‘Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves’. This was our destination on a very soggy Sunday afternoon. As it had been raining off and on, we decided to take the manual wheelchair. There is plenty of car parking and toilet facilities are good at the tourist information centre. Don’t forget your RADAR key for access to the disabled toilets. To reach the middle falls, we had to cross the road. This part was quite steep – hard on the knees of the designated wheelchair pusher! The route to the first set of waterfalls was very easy through the trees; flat and fairly even ground.  It was great to hear the roar of falling water getting closer. Around the corner, through the gates and the falls were there. Magnificent!

Aysgarth Falls

I was able to see the falls from the viewing platform, which is located at the top of the steps, which led down to the bottom of the falls. After our flask of coffee stop we headed onto the lower falls . This route is recommended in the ‘Access for All’ booklet,provided by the Yorkshire Dales National Parks Authority. It is a good route, but be aware that once you have gone past the middle falls, the footpath becomes uneven and very steep. We made the error of taking the wheelchair down the path which ran along a set of steps, thinking it was leading to a viewing platform. However, the path ended at a small gate. Through the gate more steps led to the lower falls. I was left at the gate whilst the others went to look at the falls. The brakes on my chair were not strong enough to hold me on the steep incline, and the mad inventor who was with us stuck a broken branch from a tree under my wheels to prevent me from slipping any further down the muddy bank! Who needs high tech! It took two strong men to push me back up the hill!

At the viewing platform

There is a route, which continues along the tops of the falls, which we did not follow, but perhaps time we might try in the electric chair. We turned around at this point. Once we arrived back at the road, one of our party went and fetched the car and we waited in the gateway entrance to the path. They didn’t fancy pushing me up the steep path back to the car park. I can’t blame them after the steep push that they had already done! Unfortunately we didn’t go to the upper falls. It was a great place to visit and the falls that I was able to view were spectacular. My recommendation for future wheelchair visitors is to go to the upper falls first, and then the middle falls. The route to the lower falls is not viable in a manual wheelchair.

In this blog I have included links to

http://www.walkingenglishman.com 
http://where2walk.co.uk/yorkshire_dales/riverside_walks/aysgarth-falls/ and
http://www.yorkshiredales.org.uk/index/outandabout/accessforall/accessibletrails.htm.

taken from the viewing platform