Skip to Content

The Strid: Visit The World’s Not-So-Deadly Stretch of River

The Strid: Visit The World’s Not-So-Deadly Stretch of River

The Strid is infamous for being the most dangerous stretch of river in the world! Found deep in Strid Wood along the River Wharfe, the waterway has apparently claimed the lives of many who have dared enter the water. In this guide, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about The Strid at Bolton Abbey. This will include details about how to find it!

About The Strid at Bolton Abbey

Also known as The Bolton Strid, The Strid is a popular place to visit along the River Wharfe at Bolton Abbey. There are many cautionary tales about the dangers of The Strid, while it’s notorious for having a 100% mortality rate for those who have fallen into it! So, what exactly is The Strid?

Well, The Strid is a small section of the River Wharfe in Strid Wood where the river is forced through a narrow gap in the rocks at a considerably high pressure. From a roughly 20 metre wide river, the water squeezes through a small channel, which is less than two metres wide.

As you can imagine, this creates an intense funnel effect, where there’s a wild and raging torrent of water. Instead of the water flowing normally across a wide horizontal course, the water begins to flow vertically in the tight passageway created by the rock bed.

This change in orientation of the flowing water creates a deceptively deep, powerful and unpredictable current. The current has even carved out an underwater void beneath the river banks where debris, and apparently people, have been trapped. Alternatively, it’s hypothesised that people can simply be smashed against the rocky walls by the current.

This is why The Strid is not only considered the most dangerous river in England but it’s considered the most deadly stretch of river in the world! So, is The Strid, which is actually fairly innocent-looking, really this dangerous?

Read about the Bolton Abbey Walk and the Bolton Abbey Waterfall

Beck at The Strid in Strid Wood
The Strid at Bolton Abbey in Yorkshire

The Most Dangerous Stretch of River in the World?

Despite its infamy as a place of death, there is no official death toll at The Strid. Although a couple honeymooning in the area in 1998 was reported missing in the news, there is no proof that anyone has ever died at The Strid. The deathly reputation doesn’t come from any actual deaths it seems but from a cautionary tale!

To understand the tale, we have to understand the meaning of the name. The Strid takes its name from the Anglo-Saxon word, ‘Stryth’, which means turmoil. This word was later corrupted into the name, ‘The Strid’, because the narrow width of this section of the river looks like it can be easily crossed with a long stride.

Legend has it that a local boy attempted to ‘stride’ from one bank of The Strid to the other. Unfortunately, his dog refused to jump, so the boy fell into the water, was sucked under by the current and died!

Of course, this is only a story. Apparently, there is proof that this same boy signed legal documents well after his alleged death! But, this didn’t deter the famous poet William Wordsworth, or the American author Gertrude Atherton, from writing about this tale in the 1800s. There is even an Old English saying which refers to the dangers of The Strid.

So, it seems the tale stuck and The Strid earned itself a reputation as a deadly natural wonder! You’ll find vloggers have visited the site at Strid Wood, claiming it’s the deadliest river in the world. Fair to stay, the crocodile and hippo-infested waters of the Congo River or the rapid-riddled rivers that flow from Tibet’s Mount Kailash may pose a bit more danger than the Strid!

A danger sign at the Strid in Strid Wood

Travel Insurance

Heymondo Travel Insurance

Don’t leave for your trip without booking travel insurance. We all know accidents can happen and having Heymondo travel insurance could save you thousands of dollars if something goes wrong. Click the button below to receive a 5% discount!

Why Visit The Strid

Sure, The Strid may not be as deadly as its reputation suggests. Nevertheless, this spot along the River Wharfe in Strid Wood remains a popular place to visit. So, Beck and I decided to see what all the fuss was about and checked it out as we were exploring Bolton Abbey.

No, it isn’t the most deadly river in the world! But, The Strid is an area still worth visiting, simply because of its natural beauty. The moss-covered chasm in Strid Wood is truly a sight to behold. Indeed, The Strid is one of the most enchanting places to visit in the Yorkshire Dales, let alone Bolton Abbey.

Of course, we’re not saying that The Strid is a safe place to swim or that isn’t inherently dangerous at all. You’d be foolish to even think about entering these waters. Additionally, the banks along the river are very slippery. So, there definitely are dangers present if you’re not careful or sensible. So, as the signage and warnings suggest, do take care during a visit!

Anyway, let’s look into how you can visit this immensely beautiful (not deadly) place. Let’s start by looking at its exact location.

Dan and Beck at The Strid in Strid Wood

DJI Air 2S

DJI Air 2S

Capture breathtaking aerial photography and videography with the DJI Air 2S. The DJI Air 2S Fly More Combo comes with all of the necessary accessories such as the remote controller, spare batteries and battery charger.

Where Is The Strid?

The Strid is located in North Yorkshire in the northwest of England. Specifically, it’s found along the River Wharfe in Strid Wood. This is a woodland found in Bolton Abbey in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. To help you get your bearings, please click on the image below to access an interactive map of the area on Google Maps.

A screenshot of a map showing the location of The Strid in Strid Wood

How to Visit The Strid

To visit this spot along the River Wharfe, you’ll need to walk there. Below, we’ll go through the different route options for accessing The Strid.

Dan and Beck at The Strid in Strid Wood

Walk to The Strid

It’s possible to walk to The Strid from various locations at Bolton Abbey. We’ll cover these options below. Please note, that all of the official car parks at Bolton Abbey cost £15 if you pay on the day and £12.50 if you pay online in advance. The only free parking option is at Barden Bridge.

  • The Strid Wood Car Park: this seems the most logical option. You’ll simply park here at The Strid Wood Car Park located by the Strid Wood Tea Rooms. You’ll then follow the Green Trail and walk approx. 500 metres to reach The Strid.
  • Cavendish Pavilion: you could park here at the Riverside Car Park by Cavendish Pavilion. You’ll then follow the Green Trail and walk around 2km to reach The Strid.
  • Bolton Abbey Car Park: by parking here, you’ll follow the Pink Trail, pass the Cavendish Pavilion, then follow the Green Trail, walking 3.4km in total to reach The Strid.
  • Barden Bridge: it’s possible to park for free here at Barden Bridge and then you can walk 1.9km, via the Green Trail, to reach The Strid. If free parking is full, you can pay to park at the Barden Field Car Park, which is right next to Barden Bridge and opposite the free parking area.

Personally, Beck and I parked for free at Barden Bridge and walked to The Strid from there.

A map of Bolton Abbey
The Strid parking and trail options

The Strid Wood

Whichever route option you choose, you’ll enter the enchanting Strid Wood at some point. This mesmerising woodland is actually a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Strid Wood is an acidic oak woodland, which is known for its beautiful bluebells in the Spring. It’s also home to a variety of wildlife including roe deer, otters, kingfishers, slow worms and greater spotted woodpeckers.

Regardless of which direction you come from, you’ll eventually descend Strid Wood to arrive at the River Wharfe, where you’ll find The Strid.

The Strid, River Wharfe

After passing a danger sign nailed to a tree, you’ll soon hear the loud noise of water rushing through The Strid. You’ll notice the banks of the river are completely covered in moss, which looks truly spellbinding. Of course, this means the rock platforms are slippery, so take care. We’re convinced you’ll spend an age at this mesmerising part of the River Wharfe. As mentioned, the Strid is one of the most naturally beautiful places in the Yorkshire Dales.

The Strid in Strid Wood

Things to Know Before You Go

Now you know all about visiting The Strid, let’s look at some practical tips to help you plan your visit to Bolton Abbey.

Dan at The Strid in Strid Wood

How to Get to The Strid

The most convenient way to get to Bolton Abbey is to drive there yourself. If you don’t have your own set of wheels, then we recommend hiring a car using You’ll find a wide variety of cars on Discover Cars for very reasonable prices. Also, the website is user-friendly and booking online is super easy. Have a look at car hire from Manchester.

As mentioned, regardless of which car park you use or how long you stay, it’s £12.50 for prebooked parking or £15 if you pay upon arrival. An alternative free parking option is to park here at the Barden Bridge.

Car Hire

If you don’t have your own car, you should hire one using Discover Cars. Personally, we use Discover Cars and highly recommend them for finding your ideal car hire at an affordable price. Booking online is super easy and the free cancellation policy is great.

To find out more about renting a car with Discover Cars, read our Discover Cars review and Discover Cars Insurance review.

Public Transport

It’s also possible to use public transport to get to Bolton Abbey. That way, you don’t have to pay for parking. But, you’re looking at a much slower journey time. So, we actually don’t recommend using public transport. If you’re visiting by train, the closest stations are Skipton or Ilkley. From there, you’d have to catch a taxi to Bolton Abbey. We recommend using a combination of Google Maps and Trainline to plan and book your journey.

A better public transport option is getting a bus as you’ll be taken directly to Bolton Abbey. Each day brings about a different bus service going to Bolton Abbey. Please head to Dales Bus for information about the latest timetable.

Booking Trains


Trainline is one of the best online platforms for booking trains. By using Trainline, you can easily find the best available prices and times for your journey. We always use Trainline to book our train journeys in the UK and in Europe.

Other Things to Do in Bolton Abbey

Other than visiting The Strid, there are many brilliant things to do at Bolton Abbey. Below, we’ll quickly detail other things to see during a visit to Bolton Abbey.

Bolton Abbey Ruins

Of course, you’ll need to explore the historic Bolton Abbey Priory Church and Ruins during a visit.

Simon’s Seat and Valley of Desolation

Perhaps the best walk at Bolton Abbey is the Simon’s Seat and Valley of Desolation Walk. Simon’s Seat is an epic gritstone-capped summit located on Barden Fell. Whilst, in the Valley of Desolation, you can find the Bolton Abbey Waterfall.

Read more: Simon’s Seat and Valley of Desolation – The Complete Walking Guide

Dan at Simon's Seat

Bolton Abbey Waterfall

Also known as Posforth Gill Falls, Bolton Abbey Waterfall is one of the most underrated waterfalls in the Yorkshire Dales.

Read more: Bolton Abbey Waterfall – The Ultimate Visitor’s Guide

Bolton Abbey Waterfall

Bolton Abbey Walk

The Bolton Abbey Walk (AKA the Bolton Abbey Circular Walk) is a great walk to see most of the major attractions on the estate. Although, there are many different walks and route options for exploring Bolton Abbey. Certainly, you’ll want to spend a day at Bolton Abbey, walking along different paths, to see all of the attractions and places of interest.

Read more: Bolton Abbey Walk – Everything You Need to Know

Dan walks alongside the River Wharfe near the Strid and Strid Wood

Bolton Abbey Accommodation

Given the wealth of activities and places to see at Bolton Abbey, you may want to stay in the area during a visit. Also known as Bolton Abbey Hotel, Devonshire Arms Hotel & Spa is the only accommodation option on the Bolton Abbey Estate. Devonshire Arms Hotel & Spa is an impressive four-star country house hotel that features an award-winning restaurant, an adult-only spa, a gym and an indoor pool.

For a memorable experience at Bolton Abbey, we highly recommend staying at Devonshire Arms Hotel & Spa.

Dan at Devonshire Arms Hotel and Spa

What to Wear and Take

These are our gear essentials for visiting The Strid at Bolton Abbey.

Osprey Skarab 30
Osprey Skarab 30

The Osprey Skarab 30 is our go-to hiking backpack for day hikes. This well-designed unisex backpack is comfortable and spacious, so you’ll have plenty of space to pack everything without feeling the strain on your upper back.

Osprey Ultralight Raincover
Osprey Ultralight Raincover

A waterproof backpack cover is an absolute must when you’re adventuring outdoors. The Osprey Ultralight Raincover Medium is a high-quality waterproof cover that’ll keep your backpack bone dry.

GRAYL Reusable Water Bottle
GRAYL Reusable Water Bottle

The GRAYL GeoPress is the best water filter bottle that allows you to purify 710mL (12 ounces) of water. This bottle will make water safe to drink wherever you’re hiking.

BUFF Original Ecostretch
BUFF Original Ecostretch

The BUFF Original Ecostretch is a great option when it comes to multifunctional headwear. We use the Ecostretch as a neck gaiter to keep the sun off our necks and it helps us keep warm in cooler climates.

Sony Cybershot RX100 VII
Sony Cybershot RX100 VII

Capture epic photos and videos with the Sony Cybershot RX100 VII. This is hands-down the best compact camera. We love using this simple point-and-shoot camera when we’re hiking as it’s lightweight and durable.

To find out more about all of the gear that we use and recommend, read our guides about our favourite hiking gear, travel gear and camera gear. Otherwise, read our comprehensive travel packing checklist.

FAQs About The Strid

Below, you’ll find the most frequently asked questions about The Strid at Bolton Abbey.

Dan at The Strid in Strid Wood

How Deep Is The Strid?

According to a well-known vlogger, who used a sonar device, The Strid depth measures an astonishing 65 metres at its deepest point! But, this claim has come under scrutiny. The average depth is more likely to be around 4–5 metres.

Can I Swim in The Strid?

No, swimming is banned. After all, this place boasts a 100% mortality rate for swimmers!

Has Anyone Dived in The Strid?

Before swimming was banned, some scuba divers went underwater in the 1970s. They lived to tell the tale and reported a maximal depth of nine metres downstream from The Strid.

Has Anyone Survived The Strid?

Yes, the 100% mortality rate of death is a myth, centred around a cautionary tale.

Why Is the Strid So Dangerous?

It’s dangerous because of the powerful and unpredictable current. This is created by the narrow passageway where water is funnelled through at a high pressure.

Best Villages to See in the Yorkshire Dales

Other Yorkshire Dales Guides

Hardraw Force

For more information about the best things to do in the Yorkshire Dales, click the button below. Otherwise, to help you get started, read our 42 Best Yorkshire Dales Walks or 48 Best Yorkshire Dales Waterfalls guides.

Bonus Tips

  • The Strid fishing: fly fishing is possible at the Bolton Abbey Estate near The Strid. Head to the official website for more details.
  • Visit early to avoid the crowds: all of the official Bolton Abbey Car Parks have opening times. But, there aren’t any time limitations or opening times for the free parking at Barden Bridge as it’s an unofficial parking area. So, you can park there very early in the morning and reach the Strid early to beat the crowds.
  • Visit Ilkley and Otley: near Bolton Abbey, you’ll find more brilliant walks at Ilkley Moor and Otley Chevin.

Please leave us a comment below.

Daniel Piggott

Dan is a travel blogger, physiotherapist, hiker, natural wonder seeker and world traveller. He loves writing travel guides to help his readers explore the most beautiful destinations in the world.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *