Exploring the Natural Wonders of Yorkshire

By Sue Talbot

With so much diverse and dramatic scenery, natural wonders in Yorkshire lurk around every corner. Laying claim to cascading waterfalls, soaring peaks and underground caverns that wind beneath the landscape, this epic county boasts three national parks. From the frothing waters of Ingleton Waterfalls to the mysteries of Mother Shipton’s Cave, Yorkshire is one of nature’s greatest powerhouses.

Malham Cove

Forming a curving, vertical cliff face that plummets down about 260 feet, Malham Cove is one of Mother Nature’s most incredible handiworks, which was formed from the erosion of ice and water over millions of years. On its summit, a large limestone pavement, almost resembling dinosaur bones, is an eerie yet magnificent sight which has been attracting visitors to North Yorkshire for centuries. In between the gaps of the pavement, a host of wildflowers grow within the unusual micro-climate.

A rise of limestone at Malham Cove, one of the best places to explore in Yorkshire

Janet’s Foss

Not far from Malham Cove, you’ll also find Janet’s Foss, a pretty, National Trust waterfall that tumbles into a deep pool below. Its woodland setting inside a leafy canopy and among moss-strewn rocks creates an enchanting scene where you’d expect to find fairies frolicking. So, it will come as no surprise that Janet was the queen of the fairies believed to have lived inside a cavern behind the falls.

A waterfall tumbles into a pool at Janet's Foss in Yorkshire

Linton Falls

Tumbling down the River Wharfe from Grassington in North Yorkshire, Linton Falls is a modest but beautiful waterfall with an idyllic backdrop. A pretty footbridge arches across the river where you can stand and enjoy the surrounding views. You’ll notice two different sections of the falls: a small weir that flows towards the bridge, and a livelier flow that gushes among limestone rocks below the bridge.

A pretty Yorkshire house stands between trees over the tumbling waters of Linton Falls, a great natural wonder to visit.


Known as the land of caves and waterfalls, Ingleton is a thriving village in the Yorkshire Dales, home to the famous White Scar Cave and a trail of impressive waterfalls. The 4.3-mile Ingleton Waterfall Trail guides you among the falls, letting you get up close to the sprays and listen to the thunderous roar of the water. The largest and most spectacular of the waterfalls is Thornton Force, which plunges 14 metres down a limestone cliff. Along the walk you’ll also come across various species of trees, plants and birds.

Water rushes between the pretty church at Ingleton, part of the Ingleton Waterfall Trail

Gaping Gill

Heading up towards the southern slopes of Ingleborough, you’ll find Gaping Gill, the biggest natural cavern in England and the most famous in the Yorkshire Dales. At 31 metres high and 129 metres in length, it’s a pretty spectacular sight with the water from Fell Beck gushing over the rock and plummeting to the floor. If you want to venture into Gaping Gill, a local potholing club lets visitors descend into the chamber twice a year.

Water runs into a dark hole in the ground at Gaping Gill, a famous natural wonder in Yorkshire.

Mother Shipton’s Cave

Wrapped inside ancient woodland along the River Nidd in Knaresborough, Mother Shipton’s Cave is one of the country’s oldest tourist attractions and plays an important role in Yorkshire’s heritage. The cave and petrifying well opened to the public in 1630 and have astounded visitors for centuries with the natural formations and fascinating tales of Mother Shipton and her prophecies.

Sue Talbot is an adventure travel blogger and iPhone photographer who’s often found hiking up the Lakeland fells or swimming in fairy pools. Her outdoor adventures and photographs can be found on her blog, Lifehop, and also her Lake District Lovers Facebook page.

Originally published 07/11/22

Top posts