Nelly Ayre Foss

Waterfall of the week, Nelly Ayre Foss on West Beck although I prefer the name used upstream, Wheeldale Beck. A magical place especially on a sunny winter’s day but, wanting everything perfect, the sun happened to be directly behind the falls so they are backlit. Not ideal but not too distracting I think.

But who was Nelly Ayre? The name first appears on the 1914 Ordnance Survey map; previous editions had “Nelly Hay Force”. I’m none the wiser but notice the use of the word “force” contrary to my remark a couple of weeks ago that ‘ force’ is more likely encountered in the Yorkshire Dales as opposed to ‘foss’ on the North York Moors.

Whilst there are virtually no waterfalls on the Western Moors, around Goathland, by contrast, there are quite a few. And not surprisingly they were all formed in the same way during the last Ice Age, as the furthest points of the ice sheet penetration up Wheeldale. Apparently a bank of the terminal moraine can be discerned. The glacier dammed up and created a small lake in the upper reaches of Wheeldale.
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