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by Terri Walton

Thornton ForceWho doesn't love a waterfall for there is surely something magical in the sight and sound of cascading water as it tumbles over rocks and boulders and there is none more attractive than the waters of the meandering River Twiss in North Yorkshire where there is much that is unusual to enjoy. Of particular interest is the ring fenced area where Orchids have been reintroduced. These beautiful flowers once grew in these parts in rich profusion but were dug up during the 19th and 20th century to be taken by many as souvenirs.

Areas to look out for include:
Thornton Force, considered to be one of the finest geological sites in Britain, here there are benches to rest and watch as the river falls in full cascade over the rocks below.
Entering Thornton Glen you will see Cuckoo Island and Pecca Twin Falls. Thornton Glen has ancient woodland which is something of a rarity in North Yorkshire.
After about 2 miles you can climb over a stone stile and take in extensive views of the extensively quarried landscape. Walking on and by following the marked route through Beezley Farm you will eventually arrive at a point where there is a magnificent view of the most famous of all the Yorkshire Peaks - Ingleborough. It is from here that you can join the marvellous oak wooded banks of the River Doe.
Falls along this stretch of the walk are Beezley Falls, Snow Falls and Rival Falls. Then once across the river the walker will enter Twisleton Glen, famed as the only place in Britain and probably the world, for a rare plant known as Yorkshire Feather Moss. This species is of the deepest green and lives on rock faces at water level, it thrives in the shaded damp areas of the ravine. In the Spring the area all around here is covered with a mass of Bluebells.
This walk will take approximately 3 to 4 hours depending entirely on the walker and time taken to tarry and enjoy. The walker can follow a well-defined path over moderately inclined ground with a few steps which can at times be slippery. Because of footbridges, stiles and gates, this route is not suitable for either pushchairs or wheelchairs.
Refreshments can be enjoyed at the Falls Cafe which serves very enjoyable home cooked food.
There is a small charge for entry to the Waterfall Trail, this includes car parking and an explanatory leaflet.

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(This article was added on 25th April 2012)