OS grid reference:- NY 908 280
Low Force, one of the most beautiful waterfalls in England, is situated on the River Tees, and lies within the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), one of England's most special places offering a stunning landscape of open heather moors and peatlands, attractive dales and hay meadows and tumbling upland rivers.
The waterfall, which was once known as Salmon Leap, consists of an impresive eighteen feet (5.5 metres) high set of falls, further upstream is its larger sister, the spectacular High Force waterfall.
The word force (pronounced 'foss' locally) derives from 'fors' in the old Norse language used by Viking settlers in the area.
Low Force is the site of the Wynch Bridge, a chain suspension bridge which spans the ravine. That first bridge was of wood supported by iron chains. It was 70 feet in length, and ran across a chasm 60 feet deep and was originally built for the Holwick lead miners who used it to access the lead mine at Little Eggleshope in the fells to the north. The bridge was only 2 feet wide, and had only one hand rail. Contemporary descriptions show that it was a bridge not for the faint hearted with inadequate planking, and the bridge swayed alarmingly in use.
In 1802 a chain snapped, and the bridge collapsed under the weight of nine users. Two men fell onto the rocks below. One survived, and the other was drowned. The bridge was strengthened following this incident, but as late as 1833 it was described as 'a trap for human life'. In 1830 a new Wynch Bridge was built, upstream of the original site, on the orders of the Duke of Cleveland. This is the current bridge, which spans 21 metres and is built of wrought iron hangers with a timber deck.