Rutter Force

Rutter Force & Hoff Beck

Walk Summary

A fantastic low level walk featuring lovely paths alongside the River Eden and Hoff Beck and an idyllic centrepiece in the waterfall of Rutter Force.

Distance: 7.8 miles
Total ascent: 800ft
Walk Rating: *****
Parking: Car park, Appleby
Route: Download Route [GPX]

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Walk Report

Having driven through Appleby on my way to and from a walk on Crosby Ravensworth Fell the previous week it reminded me that I'd still not done really had a look around the town. With my wedding anniversary fast approaching I decided to book us into the Midland Hotel for the night and enjoy some low level rambling around the town.

Extra impetus for this particular walk was the recent extension to the Yorkshire Dales National Park. This had seen the section of Hoff Beck containing Rutter Force included in the new boundary and so I needed to visit and photograph the waterfall for this website.

"I'd seen pictures of this waterfall but none had done justice to the truly idyllic scene created by the combination of waterfall and Rutter Mill."

Starting from the car park on Chapel Street we walked up the lovely Boroughgate, the main street in Appleby, to the entrance to the castle. Swinging around on Shaw's Wiend we soon left the road on a steep little track leading down to Jubilee Bridge. Withouth crossing the bridge we headed upstream on a path.

This path was to be our guide for the next two miles alongside the River Eden through fields and woodland. Noticeable along this stretch were the variety of wildflowers including betony, self-heal, red clover, harebells and some cuckoo pint, one of our most poisonous plants.

After crossing Jeremy Gill we passed underneath the Settle to Carlisle railway and followed a track into Great Ormside. A bit earlier we should have seen Ormside Viaduct but with the vegetation running wild at the height of summer it was obscured from view.

In the village we turned right for a spell of road walking, the only slightly dull section of the walk. Upon reaching the house with the unusual name of Donkey's Nest we crossed a couple of fields to bring us on to Broadmire Road. Turning left it was only a few minutes along the road to the lane dropping down to Rutter Force.

I'd seen pictures of this waterfall but none had done justice to the truly idyllic scene created by the combination of waterfall and Rutter Mill. Unfortunately the vegetation on the north bank has completely covered what apparently used to be a grassy bank. This is a real shame as it would have been a great place to stop and enjoy the scene.

For most people then the footbridge above the ford offers the best viewpoint. We were lucky therefore when the lady who owns the cottage and mill said I was welcome to take some photos from the private lawn next to the mill. It was exceptionally kind of her and so I was able to get much closer to the waterfall than otherwise possible.

Finally leaving the waterfall behind we continued on, this time following the course of Hoff Beck downstream. In places the path was slightly overgrown but for the most part the views of the beck were much more open than the section along the Eden. All in all it was lovely stuff.

After crossing over the road at Hoff we continued upstream before leaving the beck behind at Bandley Bridge. Here we bypassed a field of cattle by taking the left hand of two options back to Appleby. Supposedly a bridleway this thin path took us through a small pasture that has seen a lot of saplings planted and seems to be called Rachel's Wood.

After passing through the newly created wood we crossed the brow of a pasture to be greeted with a super view of the East Fellside of the North Pennines with Appleby below. Particularly striking was the full length view of High Cup Nick above the town.

I don't do too many low level walks but of those that I've done this was one of the best. If I was to do it again I think I'd choose October / November time to see how different the colours are in the autumn.

7 thoughts on “Rutter Force & Hoff Beck

  1. Me and my wife have just Stayed in Ford Cottage at Rutter Falls and decided to do this walk using this as a start point 1/11/2020 with the exception we went right instead of through Rachels Wood….Very Muddy especially the first section to Hoff due to weather but we had a great time on our first ever proper walk. Thanks for the info on here.

  2. Wilfred Owen could have written a poem about this walk – Mud, Mud, Mud. A shame as the surroundings are pleasant. But spoiled by terrible underfoot conditions.

    1. Hi Derek, shame about the conditions underfoot. When I did this walk we didn’t have any mud issues but then again it has been quite a wet spring this year. I hope you still at least managed to enjoy Rutter Force.

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