Aira Force Waterfall
Cumbria CA11 0JS
There are many waterfalls in the Lake District but the largest and best known is Aira Force, seven miles (11 km) south of Penrith in the north-east ‘Lakes’.
Aira Beck cascades 65 feet (19.8 metres) down a cleft in the rock on its way to the northern shore of Ullswater Lake and is reached by a path through beautiful landscaped woodland. Keep your eye out for the rare Red Squirrel that frequents these woods. The beck has its source high on the slopes of Stybarrow Dodd.
Walk from Car Park to Falls
The half-mile (805 metres) walk up to Aira Force generally follows an easy route with surfaced paths and safety railings in places. However, please note that some of the paths in this area are steep, rocky and narrow in places and can get muddy after rain. There are some steep and long flights of steps, particularly near the waterfall itself.
The path to the waterfall leads out of the top of the car park. Most walkers do the circular walk, ascending by one path, crossing the bridge over the waterfall and returning by the other path. The best view of the falls is from the lower bridge.
Paths lead beyond the falls to Yew Crag, which offers excellent views east over Ullswater. Alternatively one can continue uphill from Aira Force for another quarter of a mile (402 metres) to High Force which is less spectacular and not as popular as Aira Force.
History of the Area
In the 1780s the Howard family of Greystoke Castle had an old hunting lodge close to the Ullswater shore renovated into what is now Lyulph's Tower, set amongst its own sporting estate.
They landscaped the area around the force, and used it as a pleasure garden, planting over half a million native and ornamental trees. They established a network of tracks, footpaths and bridges. In 1846 the Howards created an arboretum below Aira Force, planting over 200 specimen conifers (firs, pines, spruces and cedars) from all over the world, including a Sitka Spruce, now 118 feet (36 metres) high.
Plan Your Visit
Accommodation - Search & Book through Tripadvisor here:
The National Trust car park is free to members otherwise there is a charge.
Located at the car park are toilets with baby-change facilities in the women’s section, information panels, a seasonal tearoom and seasonal information stewards who can advise on events and other places to visit around Ullswater.
The waterfall is not accessible but wheelchairs can access Aira Beck and there are plenty of other beauty spots around the lake. There are five accessible parking spaces in Aira Force car park.
Audio trail guides are available from the NT Information Vehicle for Visually Impaired visitors.
Contact & Further Information
+44 (0)1768 482 067
- By Car
Approach the valley via Windermere and Bowness (A591) and Ambleside (The Struggle) for a scenic drive down the steep windy Kirkstone Pass. Alternatively access the valley from Junction 40 of the M6, or from Keswick/Penrith on the A66.
Parking: three ‘Pay & Display’ car parks at Aira Force and Glencoyne Bay. Sat-Nav: use CA11 0JS
- Other Transport Methods
The National Trust website has detailed information at Web: 'How to Get Here'
Google Maps - Aira Force Waterfall