12/03/2013
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The Best Waterfalls of Cumbria

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Wet weather can be a good thing on a touring holiday. Especially if you want to witness the full force of some of Cumbria's waterfalls. Here's our pick of a few good ones ...


Stock Ghyll Force, Ambleside
Located a short walk from the town centre of Ambleside is this spectacular 70-foot waterfall. Our suggestion is to park in the West Ring Road car park and head for the little road between Barclays Bank and The Market Hall, which leads the way to the waterfalls. It’s about 20-minute's walk up the ghyll to the top bridge with view points along the way. The path is rough underfoot with some drop-offs so dogs and children will need to be kept under close control. After listening to the sound of falling water and witnessing the visual spectacle you can stroll back to the town and enjoy the shops, pubs and restaurants.

Aira Force, Ullswater
This is a National Trust area and parking is easy in the Trust's car park. It's a half-mile walk from the car park to the falls, through lovely ancient woodland to where the water falls 70 feet from below a stone footbridge. You can view the Force from below or climb higher up the path and cross the footbridge to admire the awe-inspiring view back down. There's plenty of walking to do in the surrounding woodland and following the river. The crowds will swarm the pathways in season but late season mornings leave this spectacle devoid of admirers, a high-profile Lakeland beauty spot at its best. The surrounding woodland is part of an arboretum created in the 1840s, with over 200 specimen conifers from across the world, including a Sitka Spruce which is now over 100 feet high.

Spout Force, Whinlatter Pass
This waterfall lies near Whinlatter Forest Park. Park at the old quarry at Scawgill Bridge, two miles from the Whinlatter Visitor Centre, and then it's a 15-minute walk to the Force. You follow the path along the Aiken Beck upstream until you reach a steep stepped footpath riding up through the trees. You can ascend these steps to reach a viewing platform from which the falls looks their magnificent best. It brings the viewer close to the lively motion of Aiken Beck's white water descending over the cliff at a height of 30 feet. The route back is a simple retracing of steps, or there is an alternative two-mile marked walked to the falls and back, through Forestry Commission woodland.

Moss Force, Newlands Pass
Situated in bleak and beautiful Newlands Pass which connects the Newlands Valley to Buttermere, this force stands at 328ft high. The Newlands Pass climbs up between Robinson and Knott Rigg. The force is formed of 3 sections, at the upper reaches the water splits around a projection of rock before cascading further down the ravine. The waterfall can be accessed via a path which leads off the roadside car park. A one-in-four climb and a five-minute walk brings the noise of falling water to an invasive level with spray moisturising the whole world.

Lodore Falls, Borrowdale
These falls are located behind the Lodore Falls Hotel near Borrowdale. Park up at the Kettlewell National Trust car park and walk through the wood to these falls. The waterfall is formed by the beck from Watendlath Tarn cascading over huge boulders for some 100 feet. The falls are at their peak and best viewed after periods of heavy rain as they dry to a trickle in prolonged dry weather. After viewing the falls stroll back along the footpath, over the little bridge of Watendlath Beck, past the outside hot tub and indoor swimming pool of the Lodore Falls Hotel and through the back car park to the road.

Stickle Falls, Ambleside
Stickle Ghyll is located in the Langdale Fells about 6 miles north west of Ambleside. The waterfalls nestle in a hidden culvert above the Sticklebarn Tavern. This is definitely a venue of fantasy, difficult to uncover but worthy of effort. Stickle Falls loom above as the footpath leads behind the buildings of the tavern away from the National Trust car park. Turn left at the forking tracks after the National Trust Stickle Ghyll stone and climb the path close to a dry stonewall, go through the gate and follow another wall rightwards up to a stile to discover the world of Dungeon Ghyll. It’s compact, enclosed and enchanting.


Want to explore more of the Lake District?
View our top places to eat, here.
See our pick of the top Lake District attractions, here.

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