Stanley Ghyll Force Waterfall
Within the Lake District there are walks and there are super special walks. In my opinion Stanley Ghyll Force waterfall belongs in the category of super special. The reasoning behind this is quite simple as I thoroughly enjoy the mode of transport in getting there and back.
It is not a requirement to start my Stanley Ghyll walk at Ravenglass Steam Railways but it does add that great bit of panache in arriving at Dalegarth station, which is the actual starting point. The 7 mile and 40 minute journey on a thumping polished steam engine takes some beating with the smell of burning coal in the air. The train takes the strain as I arrive at Dalegarth in a relaxed state ready to embark with rucksack, map and lunch.
Stanley Ghyll Walk
Stanley Ghyll waterfall is the most popular walk from Dalegarth station and is approximately a one mile walk. Surrounded by a stunning backdrop of trees, it is in my opinion one of Lakeland’s most beautiful waterfalls.
Upon leaving the station, take a right turn along the road and you will pass the local coach yard. Continue forward for a short distance before turning left onto a narrow signposted lane, which will take you across the River Esk. This is a beautiful spot and judging by the rope swing hanging from the tree, this has been enjoyed by many a young person playing in the river on a summer’s day.
Within a 100 yards of the River Esk bridge, there is a car park for use, should you arrive here by car.
Pressing forward, you will come upon a road junction with Dalegarth Hall in view. Taking the left lane, we continue upwards at a gentle easy amble, until we arrive at a gate on our left with a sign post and access to Stanley Ghyll wood. From the gate, the path starts wide and easy to follow as it makes its way to the stream’s water’s edge as it continues upwards through the woodland ravine.
The path here can be wet and slippery in places and good walking boots are recommended.
The path continues to wind its way upwards following the stream with a total of three bridges on route to Stanley Ghyll waterfall, with the ravine narrowing dramatically after the third and final bridge. With a scramble up the left hand bank of the stream, you will arrive at the sumptuous waterfall. Should you have small children keep them close as the water can be deep and cold here.
Jurassic Stanley Ghyll Walk.
From this point a return to car or train is easy by the same route, although for us we had decided to go upwards and around the high ground of Stanley Ghyll waterfall. You do wonder where all the water comes from and the catchment area of such spectacular waterfalls.
Returning from the water fall and crossing the first high level bridge you will notice a path going off to your left with what looks like a steep climb. Taking this path it only rises some 40 feet or so before opening into a small woodland glade with no path to be seen and what looks like a dead end. The path is to your left upon the steep bank and will take you upwards to a spectacular vantage point near the top of Stanley Gyhll waterfall and this will help you to navigate to this spot.
Reaching the summit of the 150 feet ravine and awesome aerial views of Stanley Ghyll waterfall looking downwards from the cliff edge, is very rewarding and a great spot for lunch. It is worth a mention to all here to be careful near the edge as it is a long way down and there is no lift back up !!!!
Leaving our lunch spot at the top of Stanley Ghyll, follow the less well trodden path out onto the fields over the stile and turn left. The footpath here is very poor and hard to follow. We simply followed the dry stone wall by keeping it to our left until we reached the open path leading to the farmhouse. The path continues through the farmyard and you will clearly see another farm located to your left and a track leading there. Following the track and passing through your second farm, the footpath leaves via the left side of the main farmhouse. Remembering to shut all gates and leave things as you found them, following the country code.
With the vantage point now high above Stanley Ghyll and Dalegarth your way back will now be more clearly visible. We found the ground to be very wet under foot.
The footpath here is not the clearest, yet hiking this route I believe is more enjoyable than simply walking to Stanley Ghyll waterfall and back. With the added altitude you are rewarded with some outstanding views of Eskdale valley towards the wild Scarfell mountain range.
It is at this point I will say that walking with my friend we lost our map. I like to photocopy my map and simply bring an A4 paper copy out walking as this saves my map from excessive use. I had my handheld GPS Garmin with me which took us the way home and is a great bit of kit for bad weather or when footpaths are poorly marked. With your Ordnance Survey map you should easily find your way back to the river and basically the Stanley Ghyll waterfall walk contours around the ravine and return back to Dalegarth Hall.
While planning this Stanley Ghyll walk in conjunction with the steam railways it is worth checking on train timetables as we returned to Dalegarth Station with 20 minutes to spare and time for a coffee.
Wear study footwear and enjoy Stanley Ghyll Force waterfall walk.