Janet’s Foss in Skipton

Rory Calland
National Trust, Malham village to Janet’s Foss

If you are, or know, someone who loves wild swimming in northern England, then you, or someone you know, will probably have spoken in reverent tones about Janet’s Foss. The gin-clear turquoise waters of this beloved Skipton waterfall have a magical aura and despite its popularity, it still feels very personal. You ought to come in from Malham through Wedber Wood if you can – it’s a nice easy stroll and you’ll feel that you’ve earned your dip. What with all I’d heard of the Foss, it felt like a pagan ritual padding slowly through the gnarled woodland towards the storied falls.

After steeping yourself in the hallowed waters there’s plenty more to enjoy about this enchanted place (try and spot the tree-trunk studded with coins – your guess is as good as mine). The waterfall spills out of Gordale Scar, meaning you get two stunning geographic curios for the price of one. The striking limestone ravine was itself the muse of both Wordsworth and JMW Turner, two people who seem to be cropping up rather a lot around decent wild swimming spots.

If you go at the right time of year then the distinctive tang of wild garlic definitely adds something to the atmosphere. And that atmosphere is one of the big draws of this place. Janet’s Foss is tied to many myths and legends, the name itself is said to come from the fairy queen that is said to dwell in the cave behind the falls. Though others have reported more malevolent spirits in the green misty spray so choose what you want to believe wisely. If you’d rather recall something more jolly, then you can imagine the crowds of people gathered to enjoy the sheep dipping that once was often a well-enjoyed social

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Where to go near Janet’s Foss in Skipton

North Yorkshire
Yorkshire Dales Guides

The self-described ‘adventure specialists’ at Yorkshire Dales Guides are dedicated to delivering unforgettable experiences in this spectacular part of the world.

Aireville Park
Aireville Park

Aireville Park is a large, open space providing a meeting and stopping point for visitors as they go about their business through town.

Skipton Auction Mart

Cattle auction by week, cultural venue by weekend. Skipton Auction Mart hosts a variety of live music, comedians and theatre on a weekend.

Mill Bridge Gallery

Fine art, photography and sculpture – all by talented local artists – are exhibited in the Mill Bridge Gallery located in a canal-side building.

Skipton Town Hall

Skipton Town Hall is a live arts and theatre venue in the heart of the town as well as holding the Craven Museum and art gallery.

Elsworth Kitchen

Elsworth Kitchen elevates the already high quality local produce of the Yorkshire Dales to produce innovative and hearty dishes.

Tourist Attraction
Skipton Castle

As one the best preserved examples of a medieval castle in the country, Skipton Castle was originally built in 1090 and is well worth a visit.

skipton castle woods
Skipton Castle Woods

Skipton Castle Woods has idyllic spaces to walk and play in as well as a wealth of local wildlife, check out their events and tours.

Skipton Boat Trips
Tourist Attraction
Skipton Boat Trips

Join Skipton Boat Trips for a light-hearted look in local history from the boat with award winning comedians and on board dining.

Le Bistro Des Amis

Catering for light lunches as well as they can cater for three course meals, Le Bistro Des Amis is a charming and relaxed French inspired eatery.

Event venue
The Narrow Boat

The Narrow Boat is in an excellent location and serves hearty home cooked comfort food alongside exceptional beers, ales and ciders.

Culture Guides