List, ye who pass by Lyulph’s Tower
At eve; how softly then
Doth Aira-force, that torrent hoarse,
Speak from the woody glen!
So begins William Wordsworth’s poem The Somnambulist, one of several works that were inspired by this beautiful part of Ullswater.
Wandering along the neglected old Victorian walkways that wind up through Yew Crag towards Memorial Seat on Gowbarrow Fell, I, too, felt inspired. The result is this themed Lake District walking route, which meanders along the west side of Ullswater. It complements and can extend the famous walk along the east side from Howtown to Patterdale.
There’s a main walking route and a few optional add-ons, but all walk routes take in Wordsworth Point, the inspiration for the poem ‘I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud’ (the one about the daffodils!). The walk then passes Lyulph’s Tower, which was the original entrance to the Pleasure Park of Aira Force.
It continues on to the old Victorian walkways of Yew Crag where aged yew trees adorn every level and the old staircase is still clearly visible winding its way up through the crag. It always makes me feel like I’m in an Indiana Jones movie! Its broken staircase will reward you with ever-changing views through the yew trees and giant oaks.
Important note: The main section of the walk through Yew Crag follows an unused public right of way that has suffered through lack of use and repair and you’ll need to use your hands to scramble across. Known as ‘The Bad Step’, it requires care and is recommended for scramblers only!