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Lake District Tourist Guide - Local Information

Lake District Waterfalls

Lake District Waterfalls

In the Lake District, a hill or mountainside is called a fell and a waterfall is known as a force, derived from the Old Norse word fors. A stream is a beck or a ghyll. As with all waterfalls, those in the Lake District can be spectacular after any quantity of rain and disappointing trickles during a drought.

Aira Force
Mentioned in Wordsworth's poems, the Aira Force near Ullswater in the north-eastern lakes is perhaps the most famous. It descends dramatically over rocks and below a packhorse bridge for about 65 feet. It is certainly one of the most accessible falls being about 150 yards from the junction with the A5091. It is about 3 miles from Patterdale along the A592. There is a car park close to Ullswater. A path follows the Aira Beck to the smaller High Force waterfall.

Dungeon Ghyll Force
The Dungeon Ghyll Force, a sixty foot waterfall, is located on the southern face of Harrison Stickle in Great Langdale, west of Ambleside. Also mentioned in a Wordsworth poem, 'The Idle Shepherd Boys', it is accessed by what has been described as a 'highly scenic path'. In other words, it is quite a steep climb! Offering food, drink and accommodation, the nearby Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel is popular with walkers and climbers. There is also a New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel and a pub close by.

Stock Ghyll Force
Stock Ghyll Force can be accessed from the rear of the Salutation Hotel in Ambleside and through the daffodil strewn Stock Ghyll Woods. It descends through a series of waterfalls which once powered twelve watermills. There is a safe railed viewpoint from which to observe the falls. Stock Ghyll passes through the centre of Ambleside and under the famous Bridge House. Adjacent to the road, the Old Corn Mill is on an ancient site, was restored in the 1970s and now contains tourist shops.

Scale Force
Scale Force is the highest waterfall in the Lakes. It consists of a single fall of 120 feet and then another of 170 feet through a wooded ravine. It can be found to the south of Crummock Water near the village of Buttermere. A walk from the Buttermere carpark is about 2.5 miles both ways; allow about 2 hours. The waterfall is on National Trust land.

Stanley Ghyll Force
Stanley Ghyll Force is located near the village of Boot in Eskdale and is reputed to be one of the most beautiful falls in the Lake District. Its sixty foot drop falls through a deep narrow ravine. Travelling in part as a series of small falls and pools, the force is adorned by Rhododendrons, which grow wild on the surrounding ledges. A number of small footbridges cross the beck below the force but in places the path is steep and not fenced.

Lodore Falls
Lodore Falls drop in total about 200 feet through a series of cascades composed of huge boulders on Watendlath Beck. They can be reached from Derwentwater by the Lodore Falls Hotel or from the Ashness road. Impressive in wet weather they can disappoint in dry spells. Robert Southey's poem the 'Cataract of Lodore' was written by the Keswick based Lakeland poet in 1820.

Other well known waterfalls include the Skelwith and Colwith Forces on the River Brathay, Taylor Gill Force at Stockley Bridge in Seathwaite and the series of waterfalls on Tom Ghyll in scenic Glen Mary.


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