Aira Force is a waterfall in the English Lake District, in the county of Cumbria. The word force is used in many parts of northern England as a synonym for waterfall it comes from the Old Norse language old Norse word fors.
The stream which flows over the waterfall is Aira Beck, which rises on the upper slopes of Stybarrow Dodd at a height of 720 metres (2,362 ft) and flows north-easterly before turning south, blocked by the high heather-covered slopes of Gowbarrow Fell. It turns south on its eight-kilometre journey to join Ullswater, at a height of 150 metres (492 ft). One kilometre before entering the lake, the beck makes the 20 metres (66 ft) leap down a rocky ravine at the falls known as Aira Force.
Aira Force lies on land owned by the National Trust. The Trust has provided facilities, such as car parking, disabled access, graded paths, and viewing platforms to make Aira Force one of the most famous and most visited waterfalls in the Lake District. A small arched bridge spans the stream just as the beck goes over the falls giving a spectacular view from the top as the water makes its magnificent leap.
The Lake Poet William Wordsworth paid many visits to the area around Aira Force; he was probably inspired to write his poem “Daffodils” with the opening line, “I wandered lonely as a cloud” as he observed daffodils growing on the shore of Ullswater near where Aira Beck enters the lake near Glencoyne Bay. The falls themselves are mentioned in three Wordsworth poems, with the most famous reference being in “The Somnambulist”, where in the final verse he writes:
Wild stream of Aira, hold thy course,
Nor fear memorial lays,
Where clouds that spread in solemn shade,
Are edged with golden rays!
Dear art thou to the light of heaven,
Though minister of sorrow;
Sweet is thy voice at pensive even.
And thou, in lovers’ hearts forgiven,
Shalt take thy place with Yarrow