Nature and science combine at site of Yorkshire waterfall

PIC: Tony Johnson
PIC: Tony Johnson
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Natural wonders combine with man-made innovation at the beautiful North Yorkshire location of Linton Falls, close to Grassington.

Linton Beck runs down to the River Wharfe at the limestone Linton Falls, which first formed where a fault in the earth’s crust shifted millions of years ago, raising the limestone rocks to the north higher than those to the south.

A pioneering hydroelectric plant was built at the site in 1909 to supply electricity to the village of Grassington.

But with the advent of the National Grid in the 1940s, it was regarded as no longer viable and shut down in 1948.

However, the plant, which is a scheduled monument, was reopened in 2012 after being restored by construction company JN Bentley Ltd, with the support of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority and English Heritage for the project.

The electricity generated by the falls is the equivalent to the average energy use per year of 90 family homes, supplied to the National Grid.

The remains of a cotton mill which stood on the banks of the falls has now been transformed into a housing development after a history dating back centuries.

It is believed a corn mill had stood on the site from medieval times but in 1788, a worsted-spinning mill was opened there. That only last a short time before its use was turned over to spinning cotton in 1830.

In the mid-19th century, a new five-storey cotton mill was built but this burnt down in 1912 and was replaced with a smaller building, that itself went out of business in the 1950s.

It was demolished in 1983 apart from the houses facing onto the footpath that crosses the river.

A spokesman for the Yorkshire Dales National Park says the site is popular with walkers – with the right weather conditions making some visits particularly memorable.

“If there has been plenty of rain then standing on the bridge overlooking the falls thundering beneath can be quite scary,” he said.

Technical information: Fuji X-Pro1 camera with a 18-55mm lens and an exposure of 1/250th second @ f11, ISO 200.

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