When I moved to Lancaster some eight years ago, I had heard of the lakes but little did I know the beauty that they behold. Growing up in Hertfordshire, just outside of London, I thought the rolling fields and farm lands were pretty. My first trip north, I realised there was nothing quite like it up here.
I was having a little google of places in the Lakes to go and see that were less commercial than that of Windermere, and Keswick. I wanted to visit somewhere that was a little under the radar. And what an absolute gem I found. Aira Force Falls, made Hertfordshire look like central London in comparison.
I had no idea that England had these pretty waterfalls; I didn’t think they existed here! Aira Force Falls blew my mind. They were set in a beautiful national trust site; they are steeped in history and on the doorstep of Ullswater.
A Little Bit of History – I am that geek.
In the 1780’s the Howard family of Greystoke Castle, had a hunting lodge on the shore of Ullswater, they landscaped the area around the falls, planting over half a million trees and putting in pathways to then go on to use it as a pleasure garden, forming Gowbarrow Park – oh how the other half live eh?!
In the 1900’s Gowbarrow Park came up for sale, it was proposed that the garden would be made into housing. It was thankfully saved by the National Trust, which hadn’t long been up and running.
The nicest piece of history I have found in regards to the falls, is the two stunning bridges. They were built to honour two members of the Spice-Rice Family from the nearby village of Watermillock – what a beautiful sentiment.
The trail contains several small falls, every single one was beautiful in its own right. The main falls thunders down around 65 feet. It was nothing shy of breathe taking. The bridges that are set over the several tiers of the falls just made it even more picturesque. The sounds of the water bring a really tranquil feeling. I could have sat by the falls just listening to the sound of the water crashing down all day.
We did the full circuit of the falls, with many stops along the way for me especially because I quite frankly would take pictures of all of it if I could. The ancient moss covered trees tower above you, you can hear the sound of the water from wherever you are on the trail. There were loads of little nooks to get into. You could bring your own picnic and sit at various viewpoints. I have to say I loved every minute. The only thing I would recommend is wearing proper walking boots, as this rookie didn’t. I personally can fall up the stairs. So it’s not surprising that I stacked it more times than I like to admit.
Where are they?
I travelled up from Lancaster, so for us it wasn’t far off the side of the M6 and the down the A66. Opposite the entrance was Ullswater Lake, which in itself is a must see in my book. But just in case the full address for the car park and start of the trail is:
Aira Force Falls
The car park was really busy by the time we got there at midday, so I would advise you to get there earlier as we had to stalk people to get a car parking space. We finally did after going round the car park three times. Have to say some people got very creative with their parking!
All in all, if you have time – well if you don’t, make time! Aira Force Falls is a must see. The trail is beautiful and gentle hike for all age groups. You feel like you are in a magical place, the beautiful surroundings, and stunning nature, flowers and trees makes this place one of my most favourite places I have ever been. I don’t think I have ever seen that many shades of green.