High Force

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High Force is a waterfall on the River Tees, near Middleton-in-Teesdale, Teesdale, County Durham (until 1974 part of Yorkshire), England.[1] . The waterfall is within the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and European Geopark.

Despite popular belief, it is not, at 21.5 metres (70 ft),[2] the highest waterfall in England: Cautley Spout, in Cumbria's Howgill Fells, is almost 180 metres (600 ft) high; and Hardraw Force, in North Yorkshire, has an unbroken drop of 30 metres (100 ft).

The whole of the River Tees plunges over a precipice (cliff edge which is almost vertical) in two stages. In former times flooding created two separate falls, but after the completion of Cow Green Reservoir in the upper Teesdale this seldom happens now. In harsh winters the falls would freeze, creating cathedral-like ice formations[citation needed].

High Force was formed where the River Tees crosses the Whin Sill - the hard layer of igneous rock followed by Hadrian's Wall. The waterfall itself consists of three different types of rock. The upper band is made up of whinstone, or dolerite, a hard igneous rock which the waterfall takes a lot of time to erode. The lower section is made up of Carboniferous Limestone, a softer rock which is more easily worn away by the waterfall. Between these two layers is a thinner layer of Carboniferous sandstone, which was baked hard when the Whin Sill was molton 295 million years ago. The wearing away of rock means that the waterfall is slowly moving upstream, leaving a narrow, deep gorge in front of it. The length of the gorge is currently about 700 metres. The bedload (rocks that the river is carrying) is mainly composed of large boulders, which are rolled along the river bed. Upstream of the waterfall, the river is narrow; downstream, it widens and meanders.

Notable visitors

J.M.W. Turner, the celebrated painter, arrived at High Force at 10:00 A.M. on 3 August 1816 to sketch the scene. He then travelled upstream to Cauldron Snout and eventually made his way to Dufton, across the fells, in inclement weather.[citation needed]

Arthur Young came with his wife on horseback from Durham in 1771:

References

External links

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