From steady streams tumbling down steep gorges to vast rivers rushing into giant cascades, waterfalls strike us with awe.

The power of nature as the water drives its way through the landscape is mesmerising to watch. The sound, whether a gentle tinkle or an energetic burst, is calming to listen to, and feeling the fresh spray on your face is joyful. With nearby trees, plants and wildlife to admire too, a waterfall walk is not to be missed. Here's our pick of the best waterfall walks in and around our woods.

Take care

Waterfall trails are often rough, steep, slippery or narrow. Always wear appropriate footwear and stick to the paths.

1. Coed Nant Gwernol and Coed Hendrewallog

Abergynolwyn, Gwynedd, Wales 

This stunning woodland offers amazing views and diverse habitats, with rare wildlife.  

Follow the established riverside footpath through Coed Nant Gwernol for a beautiful scenic walk which passes flowing streams, tumbling waterfalls and deep pools.

Feeling adventurous? Try the 4 mile Quarryman's Trail. Long climbs and steep descents are rewarded with great views of Cader Idris, waterfalls and the ruined mine workings of Bryn Eglwys quarry.

Also look out for: otters foraging along the river.

In North Yorkshire?

Don't miss Scaleber Wood, just 5 miles from Ingleton, where Scaleber Force cascades 40ft into a plunge pool just inside the wood's boundary.

2. Twisleton Glen and Thornton Glen

Ingleton, North Yorkshire

Twisleton Glen and Thornton Glen may be small in size - around 4 hectares each - but their views are spectacular. Both ancient woods and designated Sites of Special Scientific Interest, they're accessed via the popular Ingleton Waterfalls Walk. This four mile trail follows the banks of the Rivers Twiss and Doe in the Yorkshire Dales National Park to take in seven stunning waterfalls. The views of Thornton Force and Snow Falls from our woods are impressive. 

Also look out for: twisted ancient trees in Twisleton Glen.

3. Glen Finglas

Brig o'Turk, Stirling, Scotland

The Glen Finglas estate is vast. At the heart of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, it's home to mountains and rivers, hills and glens, woodland and moorland.

A number of falls and pools flow through this incredible scenery. Explore the 3 mile Lendrick Hill & Dam Walk or the more challenging Meall trail for views of a delicate veil of water gliding down the dark rock. Or extend the 2 mile Brig o'Turk loop to take in the Ruskin viewpoint which overlooks the falls on the River Turk.

Download our Glen Finglas walks leaflet.

Also look out for: rare wildlife like red squirrels and ospreys.

Top tip

Waterfall walks are a joy at any time of year, but to see falls at their fullest, visit in winter when water levels are usually highest.

4. Greyfield Wood

High Littleton, Somerset

Several stream-side footpaths run through and around Greyfield Wood. Follow them just beyond the boundary to a pretty waterfall that drops 5 metres over two ledges in the neighbouring woodland. 

Also look out for: great bluebell displays in spring.

5. Burntollet Wood

East of Londonderry, Northern Ireland

Burntollet Wood in the Faughan Valley borders Ness Country Park, home to Northern Ireland's highest waterfall which leaps 9 metres over three stages.

The wood has over a mile of pathways which connect directly with the country park where four more miles of riverside and woodland walks await. The three mile Ness Waterfall Trail follows the river to a waterfall viewing point.

Also look out for: views as far as the majestic Sperrin Mountains on a clear day.

6. Coed Felenrhyd & Llennyrch 

Maentwrog, Gwynedd

A rare Atlantic oak woodland, Coed Felenrhyd & Llennyrch is surrounded by the dramatic waterfalls of the Afon Prysor gorge in Snowdonia National Park. Follow the waymarked loop to Rhaeadr Du (the Black Falls) where two waterfalls thunder over 18 metres.

Also look out for: lichens, mosses and liverworts thriving along the wood’s streams and rocky gullies, including many nationally-scarce species. 

Top tip

Keep your eyes peeled on any of these walks for wildlife associated with wet woodland, like mosses, ferns, otter, willow warbler, marsh tit, siskin, redpoll, crossbill, bats, amphibians and reptiles.

7. Uig Wood

Skye, Scotland

At Uig Wood, a fringe of trees along the shore of Uig Bay connects with two steep-sided ravine woodlands characteristic of Scotland’s rainforest. 

Find the Falls of Rha, a dramatic double waterfall on the River Rha. The Rha Glen Ramble trail follows the ravine above the river and takes just 20 minutes.

Also look out for: an incredible sunset - Uig Wood is just two miles from Rough Guides' best sunset location in the world.

8. Plas Power Woods

Bersham, Clwyd, Wales

Explore diverse flora and fauna and a rich and intriguing history at Plas Power Woods, one of our most popular Welsh woods. Follow the waymarked trails to discover not one but two waterfalls at this magical site.

Also look out for: an impressive section of 1,200-year-old Offa's Dyke.

9. Irthing Gorge Woodland 

Gilsland, Northumberland 

This ancient Irthing Gorge Woodland lines the steep slopes of a deep gorge chiselled by the River Irthing. Walk the trail to reach Crammel Linn at the head of the gorge - at 8 metres, it's the largest waterfall in Northumberland.

Also look out for: water-loving plants and bird life, including water avens, tufted hair-grass, waders, waterfowl and dippers.

10. Waulkmill Wood 

Bollington, Cheshire

The River Dean meanders along the boundary of Waulkmill Wood before it pours over the edge of Clough Pool and runs away beneath a stone bridge, through the rocky gorge out into the valley.

Also look out for: pretty spring flower displays, including bluebell and red campion.

11. Hackfall 

Grewelthorpe, North Yorkshire

Through the ancient woodland of Hackfall, the Grewelthorpe Beck tumbles down the steep, rocky gorge into pools and weirs until it reaches the mighty River Ure. Forty Foot Fall and Alum Spring are not to be missed, and a number of smaller waterfalls are waiting to be discovered too.

Also look out for: grottos, glades and rustic temples that reflect the wood's rich history.

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