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There are dozens of waterfalls scattered throughout the entire National Park and they make up some of the most beautiful spots in all of Cumbria

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Aira Force
Scale Force
Stock Ghyll Force
With the Lake District being so full of hills and rivers, it's inevitable that there would be a waterfall or two somewhere - and in fact, there are dozens, scattered throughout the entire National Park. Between them, they make up some of the most beautiful spots in all of Cumbria.
You'll notice that many of the falls have the word "force" in their names. That's derived from the old Norse word, "fors", which is a synonym for "waterfall". A good example of this is Aira Force, a 70-foot tall stream of water that's the Lake District's most famous, and most dramatic. It plunges down at high speed, sending spray in all directions. You might need to take a raincoat! There are bridges both above and below the falls, giving great views of this impressive sight.

Aira Force. Photo dumbledad
William Wordsworth, the famous Lakeland poet, used to be a regular visitor to Aira Force, and he was so taken with the place that he mentioned it in several poems. One of these in particular references a sad medieval legend. The story is about a girl called Emma, who lived in a nearby hunting lodge. She was happily engaged to a knight of the realm, but unfortunately he was away from home for long periods of time. These times of absence had a huge effect on Emma, and after a while, she began to sleepwalk. One day, when her knight finally came home, he arrived just in time to see her sleepwalk right into the waterfall! He tried to save her, but there was nothing that could be done. So when you're looking at Aira Force, remember this story, and watch your step!
The tallest waterfall in the area is Scale Force, standing at 172 feet high. However, it doesn't generally get many visitors, because to see it, you have to walk a 2-hour round trip from the nearest car park. It's worth the journey, but as tall as it is, its volume of water is very small.
Many tourists instead head for more easily-accessible waterfalls, such as Stock Ghyll Force, which is a short trip from the popular town of Ambleside. The walk takes you through a verdant wood, which is even more attractive in Spring, when the ground is covered with a colourful carpet of daffodils. The waterfall itself forms an elegant V-shape, which makes for the perfect photograph. "Stock Ghyll", the stream which these falls are a part of, used to power up to a dozen watermills. Of course, these are no longer in use, but several of the buildings are still there. One in particular, the "Old Corn Mill", has been turned into a series of shops for tourists.

Stock Ghyll Force. Photo foshie
There are many other waterfalls in the Lake District, and every one of them has its own unique features. Lodore Falls is a bubbling, cascading example that was immortalised in Robert Southey's poetry. Stanley Ghyll Force, meanwhile, has an exciting approach across several wooden footbridges. Rydal Falls is close by to William Wordsworth's old home, Rydal Mount, which together make for an ideal afternoon.
Visitor Information
Cumbria Tourism. Tel: 01539 822 222

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