As part of our little tour of England’s waterfalls last year when we were unable to leave the country, we visited both Aysgarth and Hardraw falls in North Yorkshire. Both have some historical significance to me as they are both featured in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, which is one of the best films of all time and I will fight anyone who says otherwise. So needless to say I was excited to see where Kevin Costner got his bum out (1min 34 seconds in this video if you’re interested in a reminder)
First up was Aysgarth, which is where the famous fight scene occurs between Robin Hood and Little John. It’s split into three falls; upper falls, middle falls and lower falls and are about a 5 minute walk from the main car park. There are excellent viewing points for all three falls and at the lower falls, if you’re brave enough, you can get right down onto the rocks for some good pictures. The walk is easy and relatively flat, probably not ideal for pushchairs though.
The car park has a small fee, but since it’s ticketed rather than one where you have to input your registration in like at High Force, someone had very kindly left their all day ticket on the machine for the next person to use so we ended up parking for free. We then left the ticket back where we found it for the next person – paying it forward and all that. There’s also a really nice coffee and gift shop where we had a pretty amazing bacon sandwich.
About a 20 minute drive away across to the town of Wensleydale is Hardraw falls, which is home of the infamous shower scene in Robin Hood: Price of Thieves. And if somewhere is good enough for Kevin Costner’s bare bot, it’s good enough for me.
You get to the falls through a little cafe at the back of the Green Dragon Inn pub and hotel (incidentally, where we stayed – but I’ll probably review that in a separate post). The entrance to the falls used to be owned by the pub itself but has more recently be sold to the coffee shop at the back.
It’s not massively expensive at only £4 per person but one of the paths up to the top of the falls was shut due to a recent landslide. It’s annoying that only half of the paths were open yet the price was only reduced to £3 – such a Yorkshire thing to do! Anyway, we went bang on opening at 10am so had the whole place to ourselves. More so than Asygarth, Hardraw looks exactly the way it does in the film, perhaps albeit with a little less water. My attempt at getting Dave to recreate the shower scene by getting starkers for me, despite there being no one else around, was fruitless.
One thing that surprised me, and perhaps this is my naivety, that that nowhere we visited mentioned that these spot spots were places that have been in a major Hollywood film. If this was America, the whole place would have been transformed into a shrine to all things Kevin Costner, and Robin Hood and Hardraw would have been renamed ‘Kevsarse Falls’ (patent pending – say it quick enough and it sounds like a legitimate place!). But then again, I imagine filming probably disrupted the peace and tranquility of the whole area for a god few weeks, so perhaps they’re glad to see the back of KC (no pun intended).
Considering they’re both in the Yorkshire Dales national park, you can see both falls in one day and relatively cheaply It’s also not too far from where we live in Newcastle (about and hour and 50 minute drive) you could get there and back in a day if you wanted to.
Since we stayed over night and had a bit more time, we also visited the Wensleydale Cheese Factory (about a tenner each to enter) and Mainsgill Farm shop in Richmond on the way home to check out the camels (camels in Richmond – amazing!), both of which are good ways to kill and hour or s if you’re in the area.