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janet's foss

Janet's Foss

Foss is the old norse word for a waterfall or force and Janet (or Jennet) was belived to be the queen of the local fairies who lives behind the the fall in a cave.

The fall is noticeable for its moss-covered tufa screen over which it falls, the tufa extending from the lip of the fall down to the level of the pool. The calceous Gordale Beck, along with the moss that has grown on the edge of the fall, causes some of the calcite to be deposited over the moss. Gradually the deposited tufa has grown forward to form the apron which we now see today.

Across the stream there is a curved fold in the Gordale limestone under which there is a cave, known as Janet's cave (although she was not thought to live her). According to records, this was inhabited by smelters working the copper mines at Pikedaw to the west.

The pool below the waterfall was once used to wash sheep before shearing in late june. Washing encourages the growth of new wool which lifts the fleece from the skin. The sheep were driven to the pool and the men washing them would be up to their chests in water. Sacking and strong drink kept out the cold. This area was also host to many social occasions, where friends and relatives gathered to eat and drink.

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