The countryside around the village of Malham in North Yorkshire is a favourite spot for walkers and takes in some of the most famous geological formations in the Yorkshire Dales.
Voted 3rd in ITV’s ‘Britain’s 100 Favourite Walks’, the route from the village to Malham Cove via Gordale Scar is one of our favourites too. Here’s the route we use. We hope you enjoy taking in the Yorkshire views as much as we do! (Just a note: it can get incredibly busy in the summer and in the good weather so try and get there early if you want a space in the car park!)
From the car park at the National Park Centre in the village, cross the beck by Malham Smithy. Turn right and follow the gravel path along the beck away from the village.
Turn left, following the signpost to Janet’s Foss with the beck on your right. Enter the National Trust-owned woods. In Spring and early Summer, you can really take in the smell of wild garlic but the woods are a magical place in any season! Follow the path, lined with tree stumps filled with coins towards Janet’s Foss, a waterfall where legend says a fairy queen, Janet (or Jennett) lived.
Once you’ve taken in the magical waterfall, continue up the path to the left of the beck. When the path meets the road, turn right and follow the road, past the sign to Malham Cove (and the handily-situated refreshment van) and enter the field where the path leads to Gordale Scar.
The Gorge was formed by melting glaciers during the last Ice Age and is a well-known spot for climbers and scramblers.
Turn back along the path and at the back of the refreshment van, start the steady climb through the fields signposted towards Malham Cove. Keep climbing up the fields and along the path (there are a couple of stiles) and the path becomes better-made at points. Keep going – it’s really difficult to get lost!
When you reach the Limestone Pavement, cross the impressive rocky formations and take in the view from the top of Malham Cove (careful not to get too close to the edge!).
To descend, use the steps at the far side of the cove and at the bottom you can go up close to the cliffs, where if you look up you may see peregrine falcon nests. With your back to the Cove, follow the path away from the towering limestone feature but make sure to look back and take in the view!
When the path meets the road, follow it down towards the village. On the left is a barn with an exhibition about the area and further along is the lovely Beck Hall. Turn left off the road and cross Malham Beck over the bridge. This is the perfect spot to finish the walk with a refreshing pint of beer, an afternoon tea or something more filling!
Once you’ve been fed and watered, rejoin the road and make your way back to the car park by the Malham National Park Centre.
Our pictures are from April 2019. Have you walked around Malham? Let us know what your favourite part of the walk is.