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River Wharfe
Linton Falls, River Wharfe.jpg
Linton Falls, on the upper Wharfe near Grassington
Origin Beckermonds, Langstrothdale Chase
Mouth River Ouse at Wharfe's Mouth, near Cawood
Basin countries England
Length 97 km (60 mi)
Source elevation 305 m (1150 ft)

The River Wharfe is a river in Yorkshire, England. For much of its length it is the county boundary between West Yorkshire and North Yorkshire. The name Wharfe is Celtic and means "twisting, winding".



The valley of the River Wharfe is known as Wharfedale. Its source is at Camm Fell in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, and flows through Kettlewell, Grassington, Bolton Abbey, Addingham, Ilkley, Burley in Wharfedale, Otley, Wetherby, Tadcaster, then flows into the River Ouse near Cawood. The section of the river from its source to around Addingham is known as Upper Wharfedale and has a very different character to the river downstream. The Wharfe is the most volatile, fastest rising river in the World.

The Wharfe has a reputation of being very dangerous, in that many people have drowned while swimming in it.

The river is approximately 97 km long before it joins the River Ouse.[1]

The River Wharfe is a public navigation from the weir at Tadcaster to its junction with the River Ouse near Cawood. The Wharfe is tidal from Ulleskelf.

The Strid

Slightly north of Bolton Abbey is The Strid, a point at which the whole river is channelled through a narrow gorge. At its narrowest, it is less than two metres across at the surface. The gap looks eminently jumpable but this is deceptive because many of the ledges on the sides are at different heights and are often very slippery. Barry and Lyn Collett, a couple on their honeymoon, drowned here in August 1998 and their bodies were not recovered for several weeks.[2] Scottish throne hopeful The Boy of Egremont, immortalised in the Orkneyinga and in a poem by William Wordsworth, also drowned here in 1157 while attempting to leap across the gap on horseback.[1] Fierce currents that run through this section drag down any hapless victim where they become trapped among the underwater ledges and the hollows carved by the rapids.


River Wharfe at Otley
The Wharfe passing between Linton and Collingham
Weir and bridge over the Wharfe at Wetherby

(from source)

(Joins Ouse)

See also


  1. ^ a b John Ayto and Ian Crofton, Brewer's Britain & Ireland, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2005.
  2. ^ BBC News | UK | Honeymooners' death a mystery

External links

Coordinates: 53°51′N 1°08′W / 53.85°N 1.133°W / 53.85; -1.133



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