Stock Ghyll Force is the only major waterfall in the Lake District that can be reached by a short walk from a town centre. The main falls drop 70ft in a slender Y shape at the head of Stock Ghyll. There is also an impressive weir and some attractive woodland, all within 5 minutes walk from the centre of Ambleside.
From the front of the Salutation Hotel in the centre of Ambleside, turn right and take Stock Ghyll Lane off the A591. After about 400m, a gate into the woods is reached, clearly marked “To The Waterfalls” with a ‘Monty Python’ hand. Pass through the gate into Stock Ghyll woods. Stock Ghyll was once home to 12 watermills, producing bobbins, fabrics, paper and corn. These are all either demolished or converted into residences. The main relic of this time is an impressive weir which was used to regulate the flow of water. This is reached after a few minutes walking. Continuing beyond the weir, the path splits in two – one path descends to the left to cross the river by a footbridge, but it is probably best to continue on the right side of the river, climbing until Stock Ghyll Force comes into sight. This is a slender series of falls, forming a Y shape as two arms of the river tumble 70 ft through rocks. There are a few vantage points for viewing the falls. Continue to climb above the falls, and cross the river above the waterfall via a footbridge. Descending on the left side of the falls, there are no views of the full drop, but there is a spot where the top part of the falls can be seen close up.
Descend back to the river to reach the footbridge mentioned above, and crossing it, rejoin the main path to complete a short round of Stock Ghyll. The total walk is only about 1 mile, but it is easy to spend a couple of hours if you wish to get a few pictures of the river, woodland and waterfalls.
Location and Parking
Post Code: LA22 9AN or LA22 0EE
Ambleside is one of the main towns in the Lake District, located at the head of Windermere. It is a popular starting point for many walks into the surrounding mountains, but Stock Ghyll provides a very short but attractive woodland walk, less than 1 mile from the town centre. There are two pay and display car parks in Ambleside. The most central one is just past the town centre when heading north, left off the A591 just beyond the famous Bridge House. This can get rather busy during peak times. The other car park is south of the town centre off the A593, just before White Platts recreation ground.