I decided I should visit more of Ambleside whilst I was staying so close. However, I still wasn’t interested in shopping or sitting in a beer garden. So my photographer and I compromised, deciding to wander around the streets and see if we could find anything exciting along the way. If not we would head back to the Waterhead Coffee Shop for another delicious blueberry scone. Escaping the rows of terraced slate B&B’s I chose to head up an unassuming side street. This led away from the town up towards the hills, with the added bonus of passing numerous blooming magnolia trees. I love it when England spends a few weeks smelling of magnolia (its delicious, but don’t eat the trees – it makes the humans angry).
Venturing further away from civilisation I took a small path which was signposted as a Public Footpath, vague I know. But I knew I was going in the right direction as the route I took is on Google Maps (Hooray!). The hills surrounding Ambleside are simply beautiful even if they are tough on the legs. Though I hadn’t planned for my stroll through Ambleside to involve some hill walking. However, in true adventursaurus style, I had taken the hard route. A more accessible route is available from the Bridge House in the centre of town (I didn’t go here since I wanted to avoid the humans).
There is a road you can walk up to get to the falls which is a long incline. Entry to the waterfall is free, all you have to do is find the small and unassuming gate amongst the bushes. The route I took joined the hill about halfway up. I always think waterfalls are at their most spectacular after a good rain. Unfortunately, this means the mud is also at its muddiest. Take your wellies! Dinosaurs don’t like getting muddy or getting wet. So, I was a bit grumpy when I realised the first path was one huge muddy puddle. Luckily, I wasn’t grumpy for long because the area surrounding the waterfall was covered in a blanket of daffodils. I did go on this adventure in April and then forget to write about it (oops).
Various different types of daffodils were growing in different areas, giving the hill a pattern of yellow and white stripes. I liked the fried egg daffodils the best because they remind me of the sweets from a pick and mix. Stopping a number of times to enjoy the flowers I hadn’t thought to even look at the waterfall which was providing me with some background noise. Stock Ghyll is a relatively small waterfall, standing at 70 feet high (21 metres).
You can view the waterfall from a number of railed viewpoints. I really liked how small they were so humans couldn’t crowd in one spot. The sight when looking down to the stream below was very scary. The tributary of the river Rothay tumbles down the hillside as you walk alongside it. Thankfully the path is far enough away that you don’t get soaked.
Sadly, some of the huge trees were damaged in the storms of winter 2021-2022. However, they have been left to become nurse logs for a few rather adventurous plants! The daffodils mainly live at the top of the hill where it is quieter.
As you get closer to Ambleside the greenery disappears and the path widens. This part of the waterfall is busier as it is more accessible. One side of the river is sheltered by apartments made up of the ancient mills. I like how Ambleside’s history is still present. Especially with the cute bridge house.
This walk around the waterfall is just over a mile. A distance which is achievable for most humans and dinosaurs. Though the hill is steep and has a few uneven surfaces. The best part is, this hike is completely free!
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