Wain Wath Force
is a waterfall situated on the River Swale
in the Yorkshire Dales National Park
, North Yorkshire
. The falls are located at grid reference NY883015
, one kilometre upstream from the hamlet of Keld
which has three other waterfalls in its vicinity, namely Kisdon Force
, East Gill Force
and Catrake Force
. The falls in the north of England are often termed “Forces” after the Norse
word “Foss” which means waterfall.
Its name derives from the ford above the fall, wath
being the Anglo-Saxon word for a ford. Wain may denote that it was passable for a cart or wain.
Wain Wath Force is not a substantial falls; it has a drop of only around 1.5 metres as the river flows beneath the limestone
cliffs of Cotterby Scar. Despite its modest height it is popular with visitors, the Coast to Coast long distance footpath
passes the falls on the north bank of the River Swale while the main motor road up Upper Swaledale
passes on the south bank.