Latest updates

05 Apr 21

New views

As work progresses with the new walkways at Aira Force this spring, some sections of footpath will be closed to ensure the safety of visitors. A one-way system around the waterfall trails will ensure the site remains easy to navigate and we have been busy opening up new views along the trail to ensure that visitors still get to snap a great picture of the falls on their walk.

New view of Aira Force waterfall

22 Mar 21

A bit more detail about the plan

The project is going to impact two sections of the Aira force waterfall trails. The new sections will be constructed in steel bolted into the rock in sections and will closely following the established route. The new viewing platform at the bottom of the waterfall will be cantilevered out over the gorge, sitting above the bedrock, the old infill and sold path will be removed offering a more open view of the area and water below. This drawing shows what the new platform should look like when completed. This might feel like a big change from the Aira Force we know and love right now, however change has been a common theme at this site over the years, as Harvey Wilkinson, our NT curator explains: “It has a history of over 200 years of tourism, which has become increasingly formal over time. It has transitioned from a private pleasure ground of the Duke of Norfolk, to a very, very popular beauty spot in the Lake District over this period, and the infrastructure to support the footpaths has been developed over time as well. In a sense we are going back to a slightly more open framework for the platforms here at Aira Force, rather than the very heavy, solid stone infill we have at this point.”

A drawing of what the new walkways at Aira Force will look like

15 Mar 21

Some history

Built as the picturesque setting of a hunting lodge, Aira Force was a pleasure ground for the Dukes of Norfolk. It was a designed landscape used for hunting, picnics and drinking parties. Becoming well known during the 19th Century, it was an early example of formalised tourism (appearing in many guidebooks at the time.) It was in the heyday of Victorian tourism that metal, wood and stone was introduced more significantly into Lake District landscapes to allow for increased access to waterfalls and other features of interest. Aira’s earliest infrastructure was in wood and stone. In August 1906 Aira Force was opened by the National Trust, having been purchased for £12,800, through public subscription, to protect against the plan for townhouses to be built in the area.

An engraving of Aira Force waterfall by T Allom