Last Updated on May 1, 2023 by Suzy
Falling Foss waterfall is a popular beauty spot 6 miles south of Whitby in North Yorkshire. I found a short and relatively easy-sounding walk that takes you on a circular walk from May Beck car park to Falling Foss and back on two different paths.
It was a lovely walk for my son and I. We even made it down to the bottom of the Falling Foss waterfall which was a pretty major feat in itself. More about that in this post. You don’t have to walk down there as part of this walk and to be honest, I would strongly discourage going down there with really young kids.
The main thing to know about this walk and the walk down to Falling Foss waterfall is that they are not pushchair-friendly. They are dog-friendly though and you are encouraged to keep your dogs on leads, especially where the paths have steep drop-offs.
We can highly recommend the Falling Foss Tea Garden. This is more than worth getting food from. Please read my review of the Falling Foss Tea Garden. The sandwiches and scones are absolutely fabulous.
Parking at May Beck Car Park
If you google May Beck Car Park directions Google Maps will direct you there. It is signposted off the main road. You cross a cattle grid and then drive down a relatively narrow, but not a problem for passing traffic, road.
The drive down to the car park is beautiful and you will most likely spot sheep on the road on the way down. We arrived at 10:15 am and there were only 4 other cars in the car park. The car park is free and you can probably fit 20 cars in it. There were around 4 spaces free when we left at 2:45 p.m. There are no toilets in this car park.
The Walk from May Beck Car Park to Falling Foss
You can choose to cross the bridge to the left of the car park and then follow the May Beck stream to the left to Falling Foss. The walk we chose goes a different way but brings you back via the Beck. For this post, I am only going to write about the actual walk we went on. It’s up to you which you follow but I’d recommend the loop we did as then your walk is more varied.
This is the walk we did: If you click on this link there is a handy map with easy-to-follow instructions to print out. I’m glad we had it as we’d have struggled without it but it was really simple to follow and honestly, you can’t go wrong with it.
This was a really magical walk and for the first section, we didn’t see anyone.
Walk length: 2 miles
Time of walk: 1.5 hours (although we were much longer because of our walk also at the falls).
Location for the start of the walk: 6 miles (9.6km) south of Whitby, Grid Reference: NZ 892 024
#1 – From the car park entrance don’t cross the bridge. Instead turn right, uphill on a stone/gravel track, and immediately turn right again along a level track. After about 25 yards turn left up rough stone steps and follow a winding path through bracken.
This was really easy to spot and the immediate right really is that. The rough stone steps to the left are also easy to spot. The first part of the walk is up relatively steep and uneven ground. It turned out that pretty much all of the paths there and back were uneven with rocks and tree branches. There were muddy sections but nothing that couldn’t be avoided.
Pause for a while and catch your breath as the view is stunning.
You basically keep walking on that path until you come to a gate.
#2 Go through a gate. Don’t go left over the stile, but instead turn right and follow the path into the wood. Stay on this path, ignoring minor paths to left and right.
The next part of the walk is then a really long section through the woods. The woods were really quite spooky, especially with half-dead trees. We found a few dens in the woods and although the instructions tell you not to divert off the path we did venture into the woods but came out the way we went in.
The main path eventually then comes to a junction. This is the smoothest path as it is a small road for the staff of the tea garden.
We turned right here as per the instructions below. I wouldn’t say it was a ‘stony track’ and has perhaps been resurfaced recently.
#3 At a junction with a stony track, turn right, downhill. At the bottom, don’t go over the stone bridge but turn left to cross a footbridge.
We chose to cross the stone bridge and then walk back again as it was so pretty and perfect for pooh sticks. By now the walk hadn’t been too difficult and it would certainly suit children who can walk independently.
As you can see from the photo above this spot is a perfect spot for paddling. The water is shallow although there are a few deeper parts near the rocks. If you want safer water then I recommend paddling at the bottom of this footbridge pictured below. If you walk under the bridge here you may even find a troll lurking.
We arrived here around 10:50 a.m. What you do now is your choice. You can walk over to the picnic benches and take a photo of the Falling Foss waterfall. It is quite hard to see but we did manage to find one good viewing point for a photo.
Or you can rest for a while and enjoy some food at the Falling Foss Tea Garden (which is well worth it!). Or you can attempt the descent to the waterfall. When we arrived we saw a couple of families down there and thought what fun it looked. There are two ways down and both are pretty hard going. Don’t forget you can find out more on how to get down by clicking to read my post here.
If you haven’t fancied wild weeing then there is a toilet for customers of the tea garden but only when they are open.
Once you have finished what you have chosen to do you can continue on with the walk. Just to note if you don’t walk down to the falls but want to see something fun if you turn left instead of right in the first part of the instructions below you will come to a hermitage cave. There’s even a rock-like throne on top that you can sit in. You just need to retrace your steps to rejoin the walk.
#4 Please note that you should keep your dog on a lead from here to point 5 due to very steep drops off the path. Bear right, passing Midge Hall (Falling Foss Tea Garden), and keep the fence on your left. Down below is Falling Foss waterfall – and the path soon
becomes unfenced, so take care.
If you’ve seen the waterfall then you are on the right path. Just keep walking until…..
#5 Go through a gap in an old low wall to reach a signpost. Turn right (signposted ‘Car Park’) and go uphill through the wood.
The sign to the car park is easy to spot. It points left to Little Beck and Right to the car park. The old low wall is now very low and you just need to step over it. There’s no gap anymore as it’s so low.
The walk up to the car park for Falling Foss is relatively steep with a couple of dens or opportunities to make dens along the route. You then turn right into the car park and walk to the end of it where you will pick up the trail back. The car park was full when we walked through it.
#6 Go through a gap in the wall at the top and bear right (ignore the track on the immediate right) into the car park. Take the track at the far end of the car park and follow the path down through the wood.
#7 A path joins from the right and you continue down left to cross a footbridge. Continue on the path through woodland beside May Beck.
This was a lovely walk back along the beck. The path follows the Beck all the way and there are more opportunities to paddle should you wish to. So long as the Beck is on your right you can’t go wrong. You will then eventually come to a gate.
#8 Go up rough steps and through a gate. Continue ahead along the beck to return to the car park.
Had we not ventured down to the Falling Foss waterfall we wouldn’t have been quite so shattered had we just done this circular walk. In the future, we will just do this walk. We will stop and paddle in the water by the tea garden and then head back for more water fun along the beck. I’m glad we made it down to the bottom of the waterfall, but never again!!!!
Planning a short break to the area? There are some beautiful hotels in the area including one that is also near another waterfall walk, Mallyan Spout in Goathland. It’s also a great place to stay to enjoy a trip on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.
#1 TOP PICK Hotel
- Located a short drive from Falling Foss
- Another waterfall walk runs next to the hotel
- Great location for exploring the area