For our second day in the Lake District we made for the great outdoors to explore some ancient woodland with a stream running through it. Aira Force is the waterfall at the top of a gentle ascent up through the wooded valley.The wooded valley is owned by the National Trust so we had a warm welcome as we do at most of their properties. A beautifully carved wooden finger post gave us the choice of going left to the tea room or right to Aira Force. You’ve guessed it – we went left first and enjoyed a mighty good coffee and cake break.
We were soon on our way up the valley after a quick look at a map where some lovely benches crafted from single chunks of slate caught my attention.
As we walked towards the more wooded section of the valley we initially had open grassland along side the path, but we soon found that the trees increased in number and the atmosphere changed completely. Woodlands have their own brand of intimacy that engulfs those who walk in them. There is something about the light creeping in through branches which highlights areas to draw the observer in. We discovered the wonderful original signage used to identify the main tree species. They were very rustic and in keeping with the setting.
The seasons come late to the Lake District so the tree foliage was still Spring fresh.
As this woodland was once the grounds of a shooting lodge there were areas for seating with ornamental paved areas and surprising finds. The second photo shows the patterns made by coins being hammered into the trunk of a fallen tree – we just couldn’t work this out!
As in all woodlands we explore we found some interesting creative works sculpted by Mother Nature.
As we moved slowly uphill we followed the stream and even when we couldn’t catch glimpses of it we could hear its incessant burbling to our right.
The damp atmosphere within the wood allowed mosses, ferns and foxgloves to grow on any natural surface.
Where light penetrated shade wildflowers were in bloom. Bluebells and Bugle painted a blue haze on the woodland floor.
As we approached the waterfall open views were suddenly revealed as our path came to the wood edge, and we enjoyed a glimpse of lake and mountain.
As we followed our path upwards we could hear the waterfall roaring in the depths of the valley, before it suddenly appeared, a sparkling ribbon dropping down the valley.
This was the end of our upward journey so we stopped to enjoy a well-earned rest. We sat on an old wooden bench listening to the many woodland birds all around and above us. In the second part of this post we will be making our way back down the valley.