Hidden Yorkshire: How To Find Folly Dolly Falls

Last Updated on 11/03/2022

While international travel is grounded, we’re taking the opportunity to find some superb secret spots around our home in Yorkshire, England. We’ve been inspired to share some of our favourite secret spots in our new Hidden Yorkshire series. To kick things off, here is a guide on how to locate Folly Dolly Falls, West Yorkshire’s hidden waterfall.

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Folly Dolly Falls

Folly Dolly Falls is an impressive beauty spot that is pretty well hidden; if you don’t know where to look, you could easily miss it! Because it is tucked away, it makes for a great trip that you can enjoy in peace without many visitors.

In this guide, we’ll recommend where to park, how to locate the falls and the best time for visiting.

What You Need To Know

Location: Meltham, West Yorkshire

Where to park: alongside Morrisons supermarket (navigate to HD9 5QR and follow instructions below)

Walk time: approximately 30 mins from the car to the falls so a 1 hour round trip. You’ll want to factor in extra time for taking photos and reading the information boards though.

Terrain: fairly accessible on the greenway but gets challenging towards the waterfall. The steps are steep and slippy, and there are minimal paths near the waterfall. Ensure you have sturdy, waterproof shoes.

When to visit: generally recommended around autumn time or after heavy rainfall for the most impressive water flow. During especially cold winters the waterfall has been known to freeze, which would make an impressive spectacle!

Important Information

If you are planning a visit to Folly Dolly Falls, please observe this advice to ensure that every visitor enjoys their experience.

  • Don’t bring a picnic. There isn’t really space at the falls for a picnic so don’t pack one.
  • If you do bring a snack for your journey, make sure you take all of your rubbish away with you.
  • Do not hang around in the fields near the falls. These are private land and many are used to keep horses. They don’t want your company and if they consume any litter you drop it could be deadly.
  • Respect the environment and the local residents. Please be conscious that you are a guest in Meltham and this area is home for the local community. Littering, graffiti and vandalism is not acceptable anywhere.
  • Practice leave no trace and leave Folly Dolly Falls exactly as you found it. Do not leave anything behind, and do not take anything away with you. The only exception to this is if you see litter. Please help to keep the area as beautiful as possible by picking up a piece of litter if you see it and placing it in a bin. Think of how much good we can do if every visitor picked up one piece of litter on their visit!

How To Find Folly Dolly Falls

So, to kick off your visit to Folly Dolly Falls, you’ll need to locate a spot to park the car. The easiest thing to do is to drive towards the Morrisons supermarket in Meltham (HD9 5QR) but instead of turning into the car park, continue straight over the mini roundabout towards the residential estate. There should be space to pull up beside Morrisons before the delivery entrance on the right-hand side of the road.

Once you’ve found a safe spot for the car, follow the footpath into the residential estate, alongside the river. This will take you beyond the houses and onto a bridal path. Once you reach the route photographed below, your journey begins!

The route along Meltham greenway is obvious and easy to follow. As you continue down the path you will encounter what used to be the old turntable. This formed part of the testing track for the David Brown Tractor Company.

It is worth pausing here to read the information boards to learn about the geology and local history before you continue on the greenway.

Once you’ve read the information boards, you can continue along the greenway path. This area is a pretty, shaded woodland that makes for a pleasant walk. The path is fairly accessible at this stage but does get more challenging near the waterfall.

As you progress down the greenway, the woodland opens up to show some of the beautiful surrounding countryside. There are several little pathways branching off the main greenway, which you can climb to admire the scenery.

Getting To The Waterfall

To find Folly Dolly Falls, you need to keep an eye out for the gap in the fence pictured below. The greenway does extend beyond the gap so make sure you don’t pass it! From this point the terrain gets a little more challenging.

You’ll want to go through the gap in the fence, and head towards the metal gate on the left. Don’t pass through the gate however, swing right round the tree and follow the steps downwards as pictured below.

As you get to the bottom of the steps, be sure to look over to your right. You’ll find this cute little tunnel. The river flows through the tunnel, which cuts underneath the greenway and out to the other side.

Using the term ‘path’ would be generous here, but from the tunnel turn left and follow the river around the corner to get your first glimpse of the falls. The space for footing is narrow and muddy, even when visiting in summer, so be sure to watch your step!

Folly Dolly Falls, Waterfall in Meltham, West Yorkshire

What To Do At Folly Dolly Falls

Admittedly, there isn’t a large amount to do at the falls, as the shortage of space means you can’t really set up a spot to sit and it doesn’t accommodate a huge number of visitors.

That being said, it is a wonderful place to capture some beautiful photographs, step across on the rocks and (if you’re feeling brave) take a little paddle in the shallow water. You can also retrace your footsteps and take a path that branches off the stairs to the right, to walk up to the top of the falls as pictured below.

It’s a beautiful little hidden spot, which is a great place to explore and is usually free of other visitors so you can enjoy the natural wonder in peace.

Folly Dolly Falls, Waterfall in Meltham, West Yorkshire

When To Visit

It is generally recommended to visit the falls around autumn time, as the rainfall means that the water is gushing and looking impressive. However, we visited on a beautiful summer’s day after a week of persistent rainfall and it looked lovely. Plus the low water lever meant it was easy to cross the river to the other side. Occasionally, the waterfall has been known to freeze in winter so if you time it right you could find an impressive sight!

If you’re visiting during the height of summer after a dry spell, you’re likely to be disappointed! So hold out for a bit of rain. Trust me, it will be worth it!

Why Folly Dolly Falls?

The origin of the name name of Folly Dolly Falls is often debated. According to local folklore, there was a local woman who lived in one of the cottages above the waterfall who was jilted by her lover and took her life at the falls. However, historians suggest that the name stems from a nickname, most likely given to a clothier or ‘dolly’ who build his home in the remote setting, making it somewhat of a ‘folly’.

Folly Dolly Falls, Waterfall in Meltham, West Yorkshire

Want to visit more waterfalls in West Yorkshire?

If you love chasing waterfalls, check out these guides to other beautiful waterfalls in West Yorkshire:

Or why not travel a little further afield to discover these incredible Yorkshire waterfalls:

Will You Visit Folly Dolly Falls?

So here is our guide to visiting Folly Dolly Falls, will you be paying this beauty spot a visit when you’re next in the area? Be sure to bring your camera along, as you’re bound to get some wonderful photos whatever the time of year!

If you want to discover more incredible Hidden Yorkshire locations, see here for the complete series.

And if you love Yorkshire as much as I do, sign up to my weekly newsletter where I will be sharing even more Yorkshire adventures and tips!

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Are you looking for hidden gems in Yorkshire, England? If you love beautiful waterfalls, be sure to include Folly Dolly Falls in your travel itinerary. One of the most beautiful places, this secret beauty spot rarely appears on a map or list of things to do in Yorkshire. With such a beautiful aesthetic, it is the ideal spot for some waterfall photography! Click the pin to check out our guide to locating Folly Dolly Falls including handy tips! UK Countryside | England Countryside | England Travel
Are you looking for hidden gems in Yorkshire, England? If you love beautiful waterfalls, be sure to include Folly Dolly Falls in your travel itinerary. One of the most beautiful places, this secret beauty spot rarely appears on a map or list of things to do in Yorkshire. With such a beautiful aesthetic, it is the ideal spot for some waterfall photography! Click the pin to check out our guide to locating Folly Dolly Falls including handy tips! UK Countryside | England Countryside | England Travel

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71 thoughts on “Hidden Yorkshire: How To Find Folly Dolly Falls”

  1. Love the name! It’s so fun! Plus, they’re beautiful! I’d love to visit them one day, it seems like a nice hidden gem in West Yorkshire, thanks for sharing 🙂

    Reply
    • It’s a great name isn’t it! I find it fascinating that there are so many little places like this and we have no idea where the names came from! It’s a stunning little escape, I hope you have a chance to visit one day!

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    • It’s a brilliant little spot! I especially like it because there was no one else around while we were doing the photo shoot…which was handy for when I slipped off that rock!

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    • I totally agree! There are so many surprising hidden gems that no one seems to know about! It’s mind-blowing that this is only a short walk from a huge supermarket and just off a popular walkway, and yet we were the only people there!

      Reply
  2. Folly Dolly Falls looks like a beautiful and serene spot. I’d love to hike to it and spend a while relaxing with a good book. Thanks for this detailed guide on how to find these lovely falls!

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    • It’s a really beautiful spot! It’s a little tricky to find somewhere to ‘set up camp’ but if you’re happy to cross the river and bring something to sit on that you don’t mind getting muddy it would make the perfect reading nook!

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  3. What a helpful post! I love it when instructions on finding something hidden are so detailed—you know you could actually find it! Folly Dolly Falls looks so beautiful (plus it has a hilarious name 🙂 ).

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    • I’m glad the instructions are clear. We were trying to follow some instructions to find it and it was proving a little tricky! I love finding these unknown places, but they’re so tricky to find because no one writes about them! I’m hoping to unearth some more to share!

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    • It’s a really magical destination to escape to! It’s also really interesting to learn about the history of the area and how the railway has been converted into the greenway. It was a great day out for us!

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    • It is great finding these spots isn’t it! It feels a bit like finding buried treasure! I was amazed we were the only people there and it was so quiet and peaceful. It’s definitely worth a visit!

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    • Its a really beautiful place! We’re so lucky to have so many wonderful hidden gems so near to us! The UK is a lovely place!

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    • It has been great exploring some of the local gems in my area while we can’t travel! This was an amazing discovery! I can’t wait to unearth more!

      Reply
  4. I’m not sure which I like better; the walk to the waterfall or the waterfall itself. This is such an idyllic setting. I would love to picnic by the waterfall but it doesn’t look like there is enough room.

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    • The waterfall is really beautiful! Unfortunately there isn’t much space near the waterfall for a picnic which is a shame but it is still a lovely location to explore!

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  5. You have me so excited to return to England! I don’t think it’ll be happening anytime soon, but I can’t wait for when it does.
    P. S. I also love the whole look of your blog!

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    • I hope you have an opportunity to return to England soon! And thanks so much for your feedback, I’m really pleased you love my blog!

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    • You’re very welcome, I hope you enjoy discovering Folly Dolly Falls, it is one of my favourite spots!

      Reply
  6. What a beautiful place to visit. The falls are stunning! Should be lovely for walking too.. That’s so helpful you have detailed instructions otherwise I believe would not be easy to find. Surely the best time to visit would be after heavy rain for the best waterfall

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    • It is quite a tricky one to find! If you didn’t know it was there, you could walk right by it! It is definitely best to visit the falls after heavy rainfall. In summer after a dry spell it is nothing more than a trickle!

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    • Oh I bet Wisconsin has some beautiful waterfalls! Folly Dolly Falls really is a beautiful one! It’s well worth seeking out!

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  7. what a truly magical name for a hidden waterfall! i love discovering off the beaten path places in england… they all look like private fairy tales you can have all yourself. i hope to visit folly dolly on my next UK trip!

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    • It is a great name, isn’t it? I love learning about where fun and unique place names come from! There are so many fairy tale places in the UK! We’ve got lots of beautiful ones in Yorkshire if you are ever in the area! Thanks for reading!

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    • I love finding hidden gems too! And I agree on the name! The first one is a little morbid! Although personally, I think the second one is much more likely!

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    • I do love the name! It is certainly a memorable one! It is a beautiful hidden gem, I hope you’re able to visit one day!

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    • It’s great discovering new places in your local area, isn’t it? Despite having lived here my whole life, I still find new things that surprise me!

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  8. This is such a useful guide and I can’t believe how gorgeous this place is! My family are from Yorkshire so I feel like I must have been when I was younger but I definitely need to go back as an adult!

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    • It’s such a pretty place! It’s definitely worth visiting when you’re in the area! It is a beautiful hidden gem.

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  9. What a sweet little spot! It’s funny to see this as last week I was chatting with an English friend and neither of us could remember visiting many named waterfalls in the UK (just small un-named ones) So it’s nice to see such a nice one!

    Dolly Falls is such a fab name as well!

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    • It is a fantastic name, isn’t it? I’m lucky to have a few beautiful hidden ones nearby! Although I did have to do a bit of research to dig up the names as a lot of them aren’t that well known! Thanks for reading!

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  10. It was more commonly known as Dolly Folly (occasionally spelt “Dolley”) until the early 20th century. This is from Richard Orton’s 1977 book about Meltham:

    “This name first appears in the Baptism Register for 1819. The entry states:- ‘Alice, daughter of Samuel and Sarah Wood, clothier of Dollyfolly, baptised.’ The two questions arise in connection with this — who was Dolly and what was his folly? Perhaps Dolly was the nickname either of Samuel Wood or of some other clothier who lived in the house before him. The nature of his folly is in dispute. A recent correspondence in the Huddersfield Examiner suggested that Dolly committed a folly in building a house in such an out of the way spot. This correspondence was prompted by a photograph printed a few nights previously of Folly Dolly Falls in spate. Anyone familiar with Folly Dolly Falls will know that it is in spate only after heavy rain when there is plenty of ‘top water’. Most of the time there is only a trickle coming down the Falls. I would suggest that the folly was connected with this fact. It was not at that time a folly to build cottages in out of the way spots. There were many cottages built in spots much more out of the way. We can still see the ruins of them dotted about on the edges of the moors. Wherever there was water a weaver’s cottage would be built. In any case this particular spot is less out of the way than most. Two paths cross there, one from Meltham to High Brow past the brickworks, and the other from Helme to Bent Ley. Before the turnpike road was built up the valley these paths would have been much used. Dolly Folly would be quite a busy cross roads. We must seek some other reason for the folly. Clothiers at that time were thinking in terms of mechanisation. It had been discovered that looms could be driven by water power, more cloth produced and more prosperity attained. One can imagine Dolly saying to his wife, ‘Everybody’s doing it. We must have a water wheel.’ So he dug a dam, and a channel from the dam to the stream, constructed a wheel, connected his loom to it and sat down waiting for the wheel to turn. Nothing happened! There was indeed plenty of water after heavy rain, but very little of it got into his dam. The majority went straight past and over the Falls. It is possible that the dam never filled up at all. Dolly certainly committed a folly in imagining that that stream could ever provide enough power to drive machinery.”

    Reply
    • This is such an interesting snippet, thanks for sharing it! I love reading all of the different theories about where the name Folly Dolly came from! It is such a great name!

      Reply

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