Malham Cove Hike (Loop), North Yorkshire

One of the seven wonders of Yorkhire, Malham Cove (geo) is a large eroded limestone wall just north of the town of Malham in the Yorkshire Dales national park.

The trail starts in the village itself (duck in just to the right of the Malham Smithy and cross the bridge behind it. Head right along the stream upwards. On the way, you pass by Janet’s Foss (aka force) which is a waterfall and a large pool once used as a sheepwash before shearing the sheep long ago. It bears this name because a cave next to the falls, is said to have once been the home of the Queen of the Fairies, named Janet.

A short break at a local ice-cream stand later, you hike into Gordale scar, a couple of large overhanging limestone cliffs with two waterfalls. It appears to be a favorite for local climbers – you can tell from the chalk-dotted cliff walls and a medium sized campground just below.

Back up the road the trail leads up to through farm land and winds its way around and through dry stone walls through thistle-studded countryside. Gorgeous views of the Yorkshire Dales greet you at the top. It was hazy for us, but nonetheless beautiful. The occasional car winding down the road reminded me of postman Pat… except he’s said to be from Greendale – which loosely based on Longsleddale, Cumbria – apparently. I can see the resemblance 🙂

Hiking along the top of the trail you reach the top of Malham Cove. Amazing views of the village of Malham down below and the white rock dust pathway that winds it’s way down. The limestone at the top has lots of vegetation growing in the deep cracks of the stone and there are lots of places for a little bouldering. A hike another 2km away takes you to Malham Tarn, Englands highest glacial lake at 1237ft of elevation.

A stairway takes you to the bottom of the the cove, which unsurprisingly is also popular with climbers. Many small birds are found around the stream here as well. The pathway down from here takes you to the pub about 1km away 🙂

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