windermere panoramic
Stock Ghyll ForceWindermere
Cumbria LA22 
Unlike many waterfalls in the Lake District, Stock Ghyll Force at Ambleside is only a short walk from the centre of town and can be viewed safely from a number of protected viewpoints.
The waterfall feeds the pretty Stock Ghyll Beck which rushes through the town on its way to join the River Rothay and Windermere. The water draining off the fells tumbles through woodland down a 70 foot drop, in a series of waterfalls.
In spring the wood is carpeted in daffodils making the walk particularly beautiful. Obviously the walk is uphill but it is not too steep and is approximately 2 miles (3.2 kilometres) in length.
The path is Waymarked and starts at the Salutation Hotel on the eastern side of the square. Next to the hotel is a closed Barclays Bank branch and the walk starts by following the lane to the right of the bank. At the T-junction bear left and continue to Stock Ghyll Lane. The road continues uphill following the course of the stream.
On the way up the hill, on the left bank of the stream, is the Old Corn Mill with a small weir. The path turns left through a gate into Stock Ghyll Woods. Follow the path until the track forks. We suggest you continue right along the higher level. Ascend the rock steps, continue on another few yards, then, navigate over or through the oak tree roots, and turn left towards the iron fence. You should now be able to continue to the iron arches and go through for access to the lower viewpoints.
To continue on, return to the path and turn left towards the picnic bench and another viewpoint further up. Proceed up the rough stone steps and rest on the wooden bridge above the force - here you can see views down the ghyll and of the waterfall itself. The bridge is right above the start of the waterfall.
Behind and to the left is Red Screes, with Wansfell on your right. Continue down with the force on your left. Further down you will find a path which doubles back but heads towards the beck; follow this to a great viewpoint of Stock Ghyll Force from below. Now retrace your steps until you join the descending path. Follow it down and cross the stream by the wooden bridge. Return to Ambleside via Stock Ghyll Lane.
There is a nice picnic area just before crossing the wooden bridge, with some benches and a pleasant open space overlooking the beck. In the winter months there are fine views of the Langdale Pikes.
As with all Lakeland waterfalls, they are most spectacular after heavy rain but of course the path is likely to be muddy and a little slippery.
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History of Water Power in Ambleside
Once there were 12 watermills driven by the power of Stock Ghyll and other local becks, producing bobbins, processed fabrics, paper and ground corn. The view from the main street opposite Old Bridge House gives some impression of those industrial times.
The mill nearest the road is the Old Corn Mill, on a site occupied by a mill since 1335. This was the old manorial mill, rebuilt in 1680 by the Braithwaite family of Ambleside Hall. The building was restored in the 1970s and has a replica waterwheel.
Interested visitors should pick up the leaflet Town Trail - Ambleside Above Stock published by the Armitt Museum which describes a walk around the old area of the town, with information on the many old mills to be seen in this area.

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