Ullswater Lake

Ullswater From Pooley Bridge

Ullswater From Pooley Bridge

Ullswater Lake

Ullswater is arguably England’s most beautiful of all the Lakeland lakes and is located within the heart of the Lake District National Park, Cumbria.

The surrounding area to Ullswater makes for a fantastic holiday destination and base camp with an array of great outdoor activities possible and available to experience and to suit all tastes and experience level.

The pristine lake itself provides a huge range of activities and water sports, including sailing, kayaking, fishing boat trips and much more. Whilst the surrounding area has some of the best walking country in the Lake District, with nearby fells including Helvellyn and the famous ‘Helvellyn via Striding Edge walk and the easier and very beautiful Aira Force walk and waterfall, situated on the western shores of the lake and is well worth the effort to go visit.

The Ullswater countryside provides a vast variety of walks from short ambles around the villages of Pooley Bridge and Glenridding and a browse around the shops to challenging hill walking. With local facilities to indulge a love of horse riding, you may take the strain out of seeing the beautiful scenery, or keep fit with some cycling or mountain biking for the more strenuous outdoor enthusiast.

The village of Pooley Bridge is situated at the northern end of the lake, with its narrow 16th century bridge straddling the River Eamont as it flows out of Ullswater, as it is overlooked by Dunmallard Hill, which was the site of an old Iron Age fort. There are several foot paths around Dunmallard Hill and it is possible to walk to Dalemain country house and the village of Dacre (the famous Dacre Bears are situated in the village church yard) as a Pooley Bridge circular walk.

Glenridding is a very popular village upon the shores of Ullswater, especially with mountain walkers, who can scale England’s third highest mountain, Helvellyn and many other challenging peaks from the village and with ample car parking.

Glenridding, Ullswater

Glenridding, Ullswater

Ullswater Villages and Hamlets

With the many varied villages and hamlets located around Ullswater, this the second largest of the Lake District lakes you will find such destinations as, Pooley Bridge, Glenridding, Patterdale, and with the picturesque hamlets of Watermillock and Howtown. All having their own individual charm and character which sets them apart from others.

There is a wide variety of holiday accommodation available within easy reach of Ullswater, including lake side camping sites, log cabins, luxury lake side hotels, wonderful Bed and Breakfast, self-catering holiday cottages.  The Quite Site campsite even has the new timber framed camping pods which are a great alternative to pitching your own tent, although with a great feel for the camping experience without the tent.

Ullswater attractions include the Ullswater Steamer which offers trips around the lake calling at Pooley Bridge, Glenridding and Howtown. The Steamers operate an all year round service, being originally working boats which from the 1950 moved mail, workers and goods to and from the Greenside lead mine at Glenridding which closed in 1962. Today there are four steamers plying the waters of Ullswater, Raven, Lady of the Lake, Lady Dorothy and since April 2007 Lady Wakefield. People often catch the ‘Steamer from Glenridding to Howtown and then return on foot along the lake shore to complete one of the most popular and scenic low level walks in the Lake District.

Ullswater and William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth in 1802 after visiting his friend Thomas Clarkson who lived in a house on the eastern shores of Ullswater was inspired to write the poem “Daffodils” after seeing daffodils growing on the shores of Ullswater on his return journey back to Dove Cottage at Grasmere. Wordsworth once wrote of Ullswater “it is the happiest combination of beauty and grandeur, which any of the lakes affords.

Should you wish to see better quality photographs of this Ullswater Lake please visit Ulls

Aira Force Walk

Aira Force Walk

Aira Force Waterfall, Ullswater

Aira Force Walk

Aira Force walk is probably the most famous of all the waterfalls within the Lake District National Park and makes for a great short woodland walk of approximately 2 hours, although it can be extended up on to High Force and Gowbarrow Fell following in part Aira Beck which rises onto the upper slopes of Stybarrow Dodd at a height of 720metres (2,362 ft).

Aira Force Walk can be accessed from several vantage points, whilst there is a National Trust car park on the Ullswater Lake road which is pay and display. There is free car parking currently available at 2 separate car parks on the A5091 heading towards Dockray. These offer an alternative walk to the Aira Force waterfall from above as opposed to walking upwards from the shores of Ullswater Lake, home to the daffodils that inspired Wordsworth’s most famous poem.

Aira Force Walk

Aira Force drops an impressive 66 feet down a rocky ravine and after heavy rain is impressive with a fine mist spray towards the bottom of the waterfall. In the 1870’s the Howard family of Greystoke Castle had an old hunting lodge or Peel tower (maybe similar to that of Dacre Castle) close to the shore renovated into what is now Lyulph’s Tower, set amongst its own sporting estate. The Howards landscaped the area around Aira Force walk, and used it is a pleasure garden, planting over half a million ornamental trees, and established a network of tracks, footpaths and bridges.

In 1906 Gowbarrow Park, including Aira Force came up for sale for housing plots. An appeal was launched by the recently formed National Trust, which resulted in the purchase of 750 acres.

Aira Force waterfall is now on land owned by the National Trust.

Any walk that is undertaken to visit Aira Force waterfall,  it is worth pointing out that depending on the time of year and recent rain fall that the footpaths and tracks can be very wet and even slippery where the paths consist of smooth stones.

Undertaking the Aira Force walk from the National Trust car par simply follow the footpaths and within a short distance you will see a bridge crossing the Aira beck and here you can simply choose to go clock wise or anti clock wise around the main Aira Force waterfall. Taking the anti-clock wise route cross the bridge and follow the footpath upwards and Aira Force walk through the woods and to view the woodland river scenery should take about 2 hours.

Aira Force Walk

To make more of a day’s outing to Aira Force it is worthy of a mention of the Royal Hotel which offers a friendly Cumbrian bar with a fine selection of Real Ales and food after a walk to or from Aira Force waterfall.

Should you wish to see better quality photographs of this Aira Force walk please visit Aira Force Waterfall on our Lake District Walks Flickr account.

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