The walk up Stanley Gill to the falls is full of drama. The path follows a fast-flowing river up an ever-narrowing ravine, under a high canopy of trees. Arching fans of ferns and sun-dappled moss cover the steep banks; bridges criss-cross the boulder-strewn cascades; and, in mid-May, the brightly coloured trusses of the rhododendrons add an exotic touch.
The walk’s highpoint is the sudden plunge of water, coming from out of nowhere, into a deep, dark cauldron. Climbing above the falls you gain a view down the sheer rock face into this secretive gorge. This is a walk for all seasons. In spring and summer the foliage is at its most luxuriant; in autumn the trees glow scarlet and gold; and in winter the gill is transformed into a magical spectacle of sun-sparkled snow and ice.START THE WALK from Dalegarth Station
Turn right and follow the main road for a short distance to the old school and war memorial. Take the side road to your left here, and follow it over Trough House Bridge, past a car park and then past Dalegarth Hall, on your right.
Going through the gate the track leads to an open area, a crossroads of bridleways, marked on the Google map below.
Head over the clearing to where a gate on the left, signposted 'Waterfalls', leads into the wood. A broad track takes you across to the river, and a well-defined path follows its course right up to the three bridges and the falls. The walk progresses from a riverside stroll, to a stone-laid path, the gorge narrows and steepens, ending on the final bridge. A precarious ledge continues on a little after the bridge to gain an excellent view of Dalegarth Falls, but care must be taken as the rocks are slippy and the drop into the gorge presents a real danger.
After lingering to admire the falls, those with a head for heights can climb up to the viewpoint, above the falls, or simply retrace your steps down Stanley Gill. If going on to the viewpoint, back-track to a flight of steps, just below the final bridge, where a narrow path zigzags up the slope. Note - warnings of the precipitous drop should be heeded, but the view is superb. You can further enjoy the views across Burnmoor to the Wasdale fells by taking the path round Force Hills which then drops steeply back to the Gill.
instead of turning away from the river you can follow the path through the trees to the V bridge and bridleway then take the new riverside path, known as ‘Anne’s Walk’, as featured on Walk 2. This takes you back to Trough House Bridge. Return to Dalegarth Station, turning right along the main road.
You can also extend your walk by taking the bridleway over the V Brigde up to Gill Force - again, see Walk 2.