Beck Hole and Thomason Foss Waterfall with Kids – Is it Possible?

One of our favourite days out exploring Yorkshire last year was when we walked from Goathland down to Mallyan Spout and then across to Beck Hole and Thomason Foss. But oh my gosh was it a lot to do in one day. If we were to return we would visit Beck Hole and Thomason Foss on a completely different day to Mallyan Spout. Both can be appreciated in different ways and the Thomason Foss walk is so incredibly challenging regardless of anything else.

Beck Hole is a small village in North Yorkshire just a short drive from Goathland. It is so small that there is nowhere to park and if you do want to visit you need to park at the main pay and display car park in Goathland and walk down. I will talk more about this below. The one and only thing to see at Beck Hole is the stunning Thomason Foss waterfall which has become a popular spot for wild swimming.

The oddest thing is that a lot of the posts I read before we visited seemed to make out that this waterfall is one of the easiest to get to. I wouldn’t describe it as easy, challenging yes, easy no, especially with kids. Is it possible with kids? Yes, it is. Would I recommend it for younger kids? No, I wouldn’t.

Beck Hole and Thomason Foss Waterfall with Kids – Is it Possible?

There are two car parks in Goathland where charges apply. The first is on a privately owned field and the second is a more ‘official’ pay and display car park with public toilets. This is the car park where the path starts down to Beck Hole. The path is the disused railway bed that runs from Goathland to Beck Hole. It is around 1.5 miles in length and is downhill all the way. You will cross a country road at one point. Here you just need to keep heading straight down.

Beck hole with kids
The public toilets and the start of the path down to Beck Hole
Beck Hole Walk with kids

Once in the village of Beck Hole follow the main road and head left. To your right you will see a signpost reading ‘Public Footpath Thomason Foss Waterfall’. If you’re struggling to find it I’m sure there will be someone about to ask.

Beck Hole and Thomason Foss Waterfall with Kids - Is it Possible?

There is a quaint pub in the village of Beck Hole if you need to stop for a well-earned drink. Next to the pub, there is easy access to the shallow river which is perfect for paddling in. The walk from the signpost to the waterfall took us around an hour and a half, probably less than this on the way back. I didn’t time it and I didn’t take many photos of the path.

The walk started off relatively easily with an incline that is a little strenuous but not too bad.

Beck Hole and Thomason Foss Waterfall with Kids - Is it Possible?

At this point, you are getting higher and higher above the river below and it was at this point that I started to question why we were doing this. The path gets narrower and narrower with all manner of obstacles. There’s steep-drop offs, rocks in the way and a heck of a lot of mud. At times our feet were deep in mud as they had nowhere else to go.

We visited on a hot summers day after very little rainfall in weeks so the mud was probably caused by footfall and water trickling down the hillside. But as challenging as it was it was incredibly rewarding. It was an adventure and if you arrive wanting an adventure and lasting memories then this is what you will get.

Beck Hole and Thomason Foss Waterfall with Kids

The closer you get to the water the more challenging and muddy the path becomes. Luckily, we didn’t have to cross the river but without knowing how much further we had to walk we nearly gave up on a couple of occasions. Now we know how long the walk takes we would be more than happy to do it again.

When you eventually reach the water’s edge there’s a really pretty spot with some mini water cascades. It’s not overly suitable for paddling here as there are some deep hidden spots and the water runs incredibly fast.

Thomason Foss Waterfall

There are then a few rocks to clamber over but nothing too challenging. At the end of the path, you can go no further and there in front of you is Thomason Foss waterfall and the beautiful pool of water in front of it.

Thomason Foss Waterfall
Thomason Foss Waterfall

I spent a long time sat on the huge boulders taking it all in. The sound of the water and the green vegetation growing around the pool is stunning. My son loved paddling at the water’s edge but he didn’t venture in far as it soon became deep. There was no one swimming when we visited but we certainly passed people who looked like they’d been for a swim.

You then basically have to walk back the way you came. Walking back seemed to be easier as we knew what to expect. It didn’t feel anywhere near as long a walk as we took to get there. We then headed back to the old railway path which starts beside Incline Cottage.

There is a reason it is called that! It is literally a 1.5-mile walk back constantly walking uphill. It’s not steep so that you struggle to breathe it’s just monotonous. If you have the energy it’s worth having a short walk in the village of Goathland. It was the setting of the fictional village of Aidensfield in the Heartbeat TV series that was set in the 1960s. If you watched the programme some of the landmarks may be familiar to you.

North of the village of the Mallyan hotel which has a path down to Mallyan Spout waterfall. This is the walk we did in the morning and it is an easier waterfall to access (although not without its challenges). You can read my post by clicking this link.

Beck Hole and Thomason Foss FAQ & Further Information

Address: Goathland, Whitby YO22 5LX, North Yorkshire – This takes you to Goathland Post Office which is almost directly opposite the entrance for the public car park. For some reason the car park doesn’t show on Google Maps but the puclic toilets do.

Category: Great Outdoors – Suitable for all ages

What are the ticket prices?

FREE. The only charge is to park.

What are the main facilities and things to do?

Walk on a disused railway from Goathland to Beck Hole, with information on how to get to Thomason Foss waterfall. There are public toilets at Goathland with shops, tearooms and pubs. There is a small inn in Beck Hole.

When are they open?

You can visit all year round

Is there food available?

Yes, you can purchase food and drinks in Goathland.

Is there parking?

Yes, there is a public car park where charges apply.

Are they dog friendly?

Dogs are welcome.

Are they accessible?

No. The pathway is not suitable for wheelchairs or puschairs.


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