Best waterfalls in the Lake District

When I say ‘best’…. well these things are always subjective aren’t they. This post should probably more accurately be titled ‘some of my favourite waterfalls in the Lake District’ instead.

The main criteria for a waterfall’s inclusion in this post is of course whether or not I’m interested in taking a photograph of it. That doesn’t just mean ‘does it look pretty?’

As always with me and a landscape photography location, the journey to and from it is inextricably part of the process of achieving the final image, and as important as actually composing the shot, setting up the tripod and clicking the shutter.

Anyway, I digress, here are some waterfalls…

Langstrath Falls

As far as I know this small waterfall doesn’t have an official name, but I’m happy to be corrected on that if anyone knows any better…

Located in the delightfully lonely – feeling (for the Lake District) Langstrath valley, you can find this waterfall a few miles in, where the path begins to ascend out of the valley over Stake Pass towards Langdale.

This one gets bonus points for acquainting the company of a lone tree, and being a bit more out of the way and therefore much less photographed than the likes of Aira Force.

Scale Force

Another waterfall that involves a little bit of effort, particularly if you want to get up close to the main cascade, which, as its the largest in the Lake District, of course you’d want to.

Scale Force lies close to Crummock Water at the Buttermere end of Mellbreak. To reach the narrow chasm that houses the main fall involves a simple haul up a 10ft slab of rock. It’s easy enough as there are plenty of holds, but it can be slippery if wet so take care.

The trickiest part when it comes to photography can be capturing the fall without getting a lens full of spray, as your exposures naturally extend to a few seconds in the unlit ravine.

Lodore Falls

More a succession of small falls than one main one, which is often more interesting for the camera. There is usually more scope for compositional creativity with smaller waterfall details, whereas there are only so many angles you can approach one main dominant cataract.

The falls are located behind the Lodore Hotel at the Manesty end of Derwent Water

Stockghyll Force

Despite being only a short walk from the centre of Ambleside, Stockghyll is one of the best places to catch autumn colours in the Lake District. Apart from the main waterfall (which is awkward to get close to and photograph) the rest of the woods and short section of Stockghyll are equally photogenic. Just don’t expect to have them to yourself.

Stanley Ghyll Force

Another of those where the photograph of the waterfall doesn’t always convey the complete experience of the location. The walk up Stanley Ghyll is a splendid stroll amongst lush varied vegetation into an increasingly high sided ravine, with a feel more of North Queensland than West Cumbria (ignore the temperature difference).

A couple of footbridges crisscross the stream, before a walk along a narrow rocky ledge to reach the impressive 60ft drop of Stanley Ghyll Force itself.









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One Response to Best waterfalls in the Lake District

  1. Rex Baum says:

    Hello, Stewart,

    great blog about “favorite water falls”. You are spot on with your comment about what goes into it being a favorite falls or not.

    Thought that the idea of photographing a water fall as inspiration to go for a particular walk was great, I had never thought of it in that way.


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