Classic Malham.

Start. Malham.

Route. Malham - Malham Cove - Ewe Moor - Comb Hill - Water Sinks - Water Sinks car park - Malham Tarn - Lings Plantation - Street Gate - New Close - New Close Knotts - Gordale Bridge - Gordale Scar - Gordale Bridge - Janet's Foss - Foss Wood - New Laithe - Mires Barn - Malham.

Notes. Malham’s limestone credentials are unmatched, beyond compare, major highlights include Malham Cove, this 230ft high gently curving cliff of sparkling limestone once carried glacial melt water, a fall to rival Niagara. Not withstanding grandeur Gordale Scar is one of the most breath-taking features in the Yorkshire Dales, a collapsed cavern, overhanging crags backed by a fearsome waterfall, this awesome scar has been wooing visitors for over two hundred years.

Apart from cliff, scree and scars water plays a big part in the Malham experience. Features include Malham Beck a crystal clear stream emitting from the base of Malham Cove, Water Sinks where the beck draining Malham Tarn goes to ground re-emerging at Aire Head to the south of Malham, then of course there is Malham Tarn an enigma in limestone country as water usually permeates under ground. Gordale Beck takes a tumble into a magical woodland setting at Janet’s Foss, a small but perfectly formed cascade, home to Janet Queen of the Fairies.

We left Malham via Cove Road, after passing Town Head Barn we joined the foot-path leading to Malham Cove, you can’t very well miss it, it’s the bloody great cliff across the fields. After a quick mosey around the base of the cliff we ascended the steep staircase to the left. We spent some time soaking up the scenery from the top of the scar taking care not to lose our footing traversing the many Clints and Grykes. Happy we'd seen enough we turned to head up a dry valley, Waterlows cuts through Ewe Moor, with limestone cliffs to the left and right we ascended the deep valley. Under the cliffs of Raven Scar and Ing Scar we wandered, above the dry waterfall at Comb Hill, like a cork from a bottle we popped out of the valleys confines at Water Sinks. Here the beck draining Malham Tarn goes to ground, it was a short walk to a single grey ribbon of tarmac from the sink holes, after following the lane a few yards we stepped into Water Sinks car park, a green trod that guided us to Malham Tarn, our next stop.

With a cold wind ripping across the moor we wasted little time, a quick look across the tarn before following the wall bordering Lings Plantation to access the lane leading to Malham Tarn House, we turned away from the tarn and house, our aiming point was a stile next to Street Gate, we crossed said stile stepping into limestone pastures. Easy walking followed passed Seaty Hill, through New Close between limestone pavements and scars, the bones of the landscape breaking through the top soil. After crossing another stile we reached a path junction, the left fork descends into the staggering limestone scenery at the head of Gordale Scar, that meant a scramble down the cataract, we’ve climbed it a number of times but didn’t fancy descending it, so turned right.

Above New Close Knotts we wandered, dizzy views into Gordale accompanied our every step, ever had that falling feeling, you will up there don’t get too close to the edge. We eventually reached our descent path, steep but safe, it deposited us on the path linking Malham Cove and Gordale Scar, we’d enjoyed dizzy views into Gordale Scar it would be rude not to pay it a visit.

So visit it we did, it’s an awesome place well worth the short diversion, after soaking in the spectacle we re-traced our steps to Gordale Bridge. Our route then passed Janet’s Foss, a waterfall in a magical woodland setting, home to Janet Queen of the Fairies, she lives in a cave behind the fall. With Gordale Beck for company we wandered through Foss Wood, the gravel path we now followed guided us back to the delights of Malham.

view route map.


The cliffs of Malham Cove, gleaming majestic where water once flowed, on view from Cove Road.

Ascending Malham Cove looking back across the sunlit fields of Malhamdale.

The spectacular limestone scenery of Malham Cove.

Impressive limestone pavements above Malham Cove, I mentioned Clints and Grykes above, the Clints are the blocks the Grykes the fissures.

Carving a passage through Ewe Moor, Waterlows a dry river bed.

The extinct waterfall on Comb Hill.

Our route continues above the extinct waterfall, still cutting through a deep gorge amidst gorgeous scenery.

Across Malham Tarn, Malham Tarn House in the shadow of Highfolds Scar.

Stretching across the skyline, in sunlight and shade Fountains Fell.

Dappled light on Great Close Hill.

A scar across the pristene moor, the drive accessing Malham Tarn House.

En route through New Close.

Dazzling limestone scenery in these high pastures, the bones of the landscape.

Views over the valley cut by Gordale Beck, dark Great Knott with The Weets in dappled light.

Striking limestone scenery above Gordale Scar.

Sue strikes a lonely pose drinking in views from above New Close Knotts.

Sunlit, the steep slopes and cliffs of New Close Knotts plunge abruptly into Gordale.

Dizzy views to Gordale Scar, a few ant like people give the scene a little perspective.

A short step from the dawn of time, an almost primal scene, Gordale Scar, the picture doesn't do it justice, it's size dwarfs everything around.

Rising from Gordale New Close Knotts.

We've done primal now we have alluvion, a calming scene Janet's Foss, small but perfectly formed.

Gordale Beck flows serenely through Foss Wood, after the drama up stream it's earned a rest.

I took this photo just to show you our descent route from New Close Knotts, the lesser walked path to the left.

Near Mires Barn looking to Malham Cove.

Malham Smithy producer of bespoke metal work.

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