Adventure & Travel Blog Lake District Lovers Sue Talbot Photography

Chasing Waterfalls in the Lake District

lingcove beck waterfalls Eskdale

There’s something so captivating about waterfalls, I almost enter a hypnotic state watching the water cascade down rugged rock faces. The monstrous roar. The chilling spray. The mist. The uncontrollable urge to touch the frothing bubbles. But it’s not just the water that vies for your attention, it’s the surrounding scenery too. I’ve yet to visit all of the waterfalls in the Lake District but the ones I have seen are pretty impressive!

1. Stock Ghyll Force, Ambleside

Tucked away behind the bustling town, Stock Ghyll Force is a little gem that often gets overlooked by visitors in Ambleside. There’s plenty of parking in the town and it’s just a short walk up to the beck behind the Salutation Hotel. Follow the signposts to the waterfalls as you walk uphill along the beck. Once you reach the top, there are fabulous views looking down the falls and fairy pools from the bridge. Because this is just a short walk, you’ll still have lots of time to explore the shops and stop for a coffee on the way back to the car.

stock ghyll force waterfall in ambleside
Stock Ghyll Force, Ambleside

2. Ritson’s Force, Mosedale Valley

From the Wasdale Head Inn, just along from Wastwater in the Wasdale Valley, make your way over the little bridge from the beer garden. With the beck on your right, pass through the gorgeous countryside of Mosedale Valley with views of Great Gable and Scafell Pike. As you reach some conifers, you’ll see a National Trust sign for Ritson’s Force. Go through the gate and walk down to the waterfall. There are several smaller waterfalls here that are set among quiet woodlands overlooking the valley. And don’t forget to stop off at the Wasdale Head Inn on your way back for a drink!

Ritson’s force waterfall Lake District
Ritson’s Force

3. Aira Force Waterfall, Ullswater

Overlooking Lake Ullswater, Aira Force waterfall is one of the most widely known of the waterfalls in the Lake District. There’s a National Trust car park just a short walk from the top of the falls. However, it is fairly small and gets full quickly especially at weekends and school holidays. Gushing down the craggy ledges, Aira Force is reminiscent of a tropical rainforest with its mossy, fern-strewn rocks and leafy canopy. Walk along the Gowbarrow Trail to explore nooks and crannies and hidden pools. You’ll be tempted to stop for photos or a paddle!

4. Tom Gill Waterfall, Coniston

Plummeting down the stream from Tarn Hows, Tom Gill falls are pretty impressive, eespecially when you get close up and feel the cold spray on your cheeks. There are several ways to reach the falls but the easiest is from the National Trust Car Park at Tarn Hows. As you come out of the car park, follow the path down to the water in a clockwise direction. Within a few minutes you’ll pass through a gate where you’ll see a signpost to Tom Gill on the left hand side. Just follow the flow of the stream downhill and you’ll come to this wonderful series of waterfalls.

Tom Gill waterfall coniston
Tom Gill Waterfall

5. Rydal Grot and Waterfall

Tucked away among the 30 acres of woodland of Rydal Hall, The Grot and Rydal Falls is an enchanting hideaway that looks like it belongs in a children’s fairy tale. The Grot is a small stone building that was built by Sir Daniel Fleming in 1668 to frame Rydal Falls, the beck and its stunning backdrop. Just a short walk from Rydal Mount, the former home of William Wordsworth, Rydal Falls was a favourite spot of the poet and he would come here to enjoy the tranquility among nature. And when you visit, you’ll see why it was worthy of a mention in his poem ‘An Evening Walk’.

Rydal Waterfalls in the Lake District
Rydal Grot and Falls

6. Tongue Pot, Eskdale

Tucked away in the Esk Valley, Tongue Pot boasts the most beautiful setting and is one of my favourite waterfalls in the Lake District. This series of waterfalls and emerald-green pools is hugged on all sides by fells and rolling fields. Tongue Pot is a totally idyllic hideaway for a spot of wild swimming and a picnic.

To reach Tongue Pot, park a little further up from the old telephone box at the bottom of Hardknott Pass. Follow the river (on your left) through the valley. You’ll pass smaller waterfalls on your way up before reaching the piece de resistance. Climb the steps over the stone wall and continue on the path until you see the old packhorse bridge at Throstle Gill. Just before it on the left, you’ll see Tongue Pot below the tree. Just over the bridge you’ll also find Lingcove Beck and falls. This is one of my favourite spots in the Lake District as it’s more secluded with fewer people around.

tongue pot eskdale
Tongue Pot, Eskdale

7. Sour Milk Gill, Buttermere

This is a nice easy walk from the village of Buttermere to the bottom of Sour Milk Gill with the head of the lake on your left and views of Fleetwith Pike and Haystacks in the distance. If you want to enjoy a longer walk, the circular route around Buttermere is really straightforward. There had been a lot of rain prior to my walk to Sour Milk Gill so I didn’t risk climbing up the falls. The waterfall flows from Bleaberry Tarn through the trees to Buttermere and builds up a fair amount of force as it reaches the bottom of the hill. Be sure to call in at Syke Farm Tea Room on your way back to the village for a homemade pie or cake!

sour milk gill waterfall at buttermere
Sour Milk Gill

8. Fairy Glen, Stonethwaite

Fairy Glen is a pretty haven where you’ll find lots of waterfalls and plunge pools along Stonethwaite Beck. It sits in the shadow of Eagle Crag just further up from Stonethwaite campsite. For more detailed directions, read the Fairy Glen blog. Wild swimming is a must when visiting here, and although the water’s cold when you first dip your toes, you soon adjust to it. Once in the water you can swim up to the waterfall, known as Galleny Force, from the gin-clear pool. If you don’t fancy packing a picnic, stop off at the Langstrath Inn at Stonethwaite Village.

fairy glen and galleny force waterfall
Fairy Glen and Galleny Force

9. Gill Force, Eskdale

Starting from Dalesgarth Station, there’s a peaceful walk through Boot to Gill Force. Further along the road, opposite the Brook House Inn, you’ll see a sign for St Catherine’s Church. Follow the sign and the country lane until you reach a gate where you can either turn left and cross the bridge or continue on to the church. Just past the church, you’ll come to some giant stepping stones, which are great fun even for the big kids like me! Turn left and you’ll arrive at Gill Force and several shaded little pools in the river where you can go paddling and picnic on the rocks.

gill force waterfall lake district

10. Kentmere Reservoir, South Lake District

Although this isn’t a natural waterfall and is actually the overflow from Kentmere Reservoir, the sheer beauty of its location makes it equally as impressive as those of above. The reservoir can be found in the South Lakes and is surrounded by nine imposing fells that make up the Kentmere Horseshoe. If you’re a stickler for only natural waterfalls, then you’ll be pleased to learn that there are several smaller falls that gush down from the fells into the valley.

Park at Kentmere Institute by the telephone box and you’ll find a signpost a little further up the road that sends you in the direction of the reservoir. Taking the top route through some fields, you soon reach the main path where you turn right then keep heading straight on.

11. Barrow Cascade, Derwentwater

Gushing down beneath Ashness Bridge, Barrow Cascade is a pretty waterfall that runs into Derwentwater. Enveloped by lush greenery, the crystal clear pools and plummeting falls create a magical setting. The surrounding woodlands are brimming with wildlife such as various species of birds, butterflies, red squirrels, deer and dragon flies. Teamed with Derwentwater’s shoreline, this is an exciting and enchanting walk that kids will love.

Barrow Cascde Waterfall, Derwentwater

12. Scale Force, Buttermere

Thundering down a a steep rockface, on the northern side of Red Pike in Buttermere, Scale Force is believed to be the highest waterfall in the Lake District. Starting at Buttermere village, take the path down towards Crummock Water, where you’ll see a signpost for the waterfall. Continue over the stone packhorse bridge and follow the path along the shoreline. The path can be quite boggy and rocky underfoot, and you’ll cross 4 wooden bridges along the way. At the 4th bridge, take a left and follow a stoen wall up along the beck. You’ll need to cross a further two wooden bridges on the path before you arrive at the foot of the falls.

scale force waterfall
Scale Force

13. Lodore Falls, Watendlath

Forming beautiful cascades that flow down from Watendlath Tarn, Lodore Falls have been causing a stir with visitors and locals since Victorian times. The falls are relatively easily accessed from the back of Lodore Falls Hotel. Follow the path through the gardens and cross the bridge over the beck before climbing up through the woodland. You’ll soon reach the base of the falls where you can sit and listen to the roar from the bench. If you continue to climb up the beck you’ll reach even more waterfalls.

watendlath waterfalls
Watendath Beck

You Might Also Like