Sunday 28 September 2014

Walk around Aira Force, near Ullswater, Cumbria

Owned by the National Trust, Gowbarrow Park incorporates the Aira Force waterfall, which drops about 65 feet, a series of quaint stone bridges and an arboretum containing more than 200 species of conifers from all over the world. There are several short, but dramatic, walks following footpaths that hug steep tree lined slopes tumbling down to the river below. For kids, the park is a lush, green adventure playground with fallen trees, rocky crags and stony stairways to scramble over and clamber along.  Several fallen trunks have hundreds of coins hammered into them. Moss and ferns cling to the rocks, while some spectacularly gnarled and deformed trees are dotted around the park. 

At one point, the park opens out on to a broad view of Ullswater, giving you a sudden surge of daylight after being sheltered by the thick trees.  Now served by a cafe and a car park, Gowbarrow Park dates from the 1800s when it was laid out by the Howard family of Greystoke Castle. 8/10