As well as tourists, the park attracted poets and painters, including Wordsworth, Coleridge and Turner.
In 1846, the 13th Duke planted a pinetum in the area below the falls. It stood above an open lawn with a bridge over the beck at the south end. It included 200 specimen conifers including a Sitka spruce which is now 118 feet.
The site continued to attract tourists in the 19th century, although the experience was perhaps more sedate, with a landing stage allowing arrival by boat to the bay below the falls. It was recommended in many of the 19th century guidebooks and directories, including Wordsworth’s Guide to the Lakes.
The spelling of Aira Force has varied through the centuries. Early maps and documents refer to Airey or Airy Beck and William Wordsworth used the term Airey in his poem about the valley in 1842. The Crosthwaite map of 1783 uses the spelling Ara. By the late 19th century, however, the term Aira was in mainstream use.
by Emma Bray
James Clarke’s Survey of the Lakes, 1789
Peter Crosthwaite’s Tourist Map of Ullswater, 1783