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Saturday, 20 September 2014

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New viewing platform for Lake District waterfall

A waterfall near Ullswater can be seen in a whole new light – thanks to a new viewing platform.

Aira Force photo
Aira Force

The new viewing balcony has been created at the head of the fall by the National Trust, which owns and manages the Lake District visitor attraction and is embarking on a major improvement programme.

The platform overlooks Aira Beck and is part of a network of upgraded paths, repaired bridges and new routes around the site. Included in the upgrade are paths which can be easily used by pushchairs and wheelchairs.

There is also a new one-way system for traffic entering and leaving, new visitor welcome building and a new off-road path between Aira Force and the village of Glenridding.

Audrey Riordan, Aira Force manager, said it would make a big difference to people’s experience of visiting the waterfall.

“We want to keep the original dramatic feel that Aira Force was designed for, but make it a better experience for a range of people. We want people to enjoy being here, but also to understand why it is such a special place and how the National Trust cares for it,” she said.

She said that making it easier for people to get to the waterfall meant the trust also hoped to get more visitors.

“We hope that more people will enjoy Aira Force in a way that suits them, whether they are planning a family day out, a long fell walk or exploring the area around Ullswater,” she added.

The upgraded paths will be complemented by a new ferry stop, developed with Ullswater Steamers, which will mean visitors can join a steamer at Glenridding, get back on dry land at Aira Force and either walk back to the village, or rejoin a steamer to continue up the lake. The new onshore jetty is expected to open later in the summer.

A new bridge has also been installed over the beck at High Cascades, allowing walkers to enjoy a circular walk through Aira Force and take in a view towards Ullswater which was previously hidden. The path connecting the bridge also allows walkers to continue up to Gowbarrow Fell.

Aira Force was developed in the 18th century by the Duke of Norfolk as a picturesque pleasure ground for visitors to the family’s hunting lodge at Lyulph’s Tower. The National Trust acquired Aira Force in 1906 from the Howard family. More than a quarter of a million people visit each year.

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