Where is this walk?

Malham Cove

March 28, 2018

Malham Cove is a spectacular face of rock that is climbed by stone steps on its western fringe. The limestone pavements on it’s top are rightly world famous with good views over the stone walls and fields of the area.

The Walk

There is one major problem with a walk to Malham Cove. It is too popular. The 1,000s of visitors who arrive in Malham walk the one mile from the village centre to stand under the impressive 250′ rock face. They take a photo and retire to one of the cafes or pubs in the village. It is probably the most popular mile of track in the Dales. Sadly only a small proportion of visitors climb the steps that lead up to the left of the rock face. If you physically can everyone should.

The limestone pavement on the summit of Malham Cove is one of the very best examples of clints (blocks) and grykes (gaps) in the Dales. Even though the rock has been smoothed out by the pounding of walkers boots it does not harm this spectacular spot. The large pavement shows how weathering and in particular ice has created fractures in the originally solid rock. These areas of weakness have gradually eroded to wider gaps creating the pavements of today.

There is no real access back down to the Cove on the eastern side. However if you carry on to the footpath under Sheriff Hill this does offer an interesting route back to Malham. Here the remains of ancient iron age settlements replace high heels, handbags and bored youths which tend to clutter the more popular path.

Recommend (from my daughter)

The limestone pavement for Malham Cove is the setting for a famous scene from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It is when Harry and Hermione were camping. My daughter took a photo from our TV of the exact place where the tent was placed. She then made it her mission to find the spot. Whether she actually did I am not sure but it helped encourage a reluctant teenager enjoy a walk through such spectacular scenery.

Navigation Tips on Malham Cove

When you are on the pavement above Malham Cove there is an easy path that traverses the rock face to the back of the rock. It avoids the scramble across the face, particularly if the rock is wet.

  • Min says:

    I am interested to climb to the top of the cove – but are the steps too steep?

    I’ve around 1.5 hours “at Malham Cove” and after my research, it seems like I may not have enough time to walk from Visitor Carpark to base of the cove, ascend, descend and walk back within the time. Is there any route that can bring me directly to the top? I will have a car.

    • Jonathan says:

      The steps can be slippy after rain particularly when coming down them.
      There is no real short cut to the top so it is best to walk directly there and back. I do not know how quickly you walk but it should take no more than 2 hours return.

  • steve says:

    It does not say that. The stream come from NEAR Malham Tarn

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