Malham
Without doubt this walk is one of the UK’s most spectacular routes. It passes through the impressive limestone canyon of Goredale Scar and later crosses an even greater wonder – the dry waterfall of Malham Cove. If you have never done this walk put it on top of your list. If you have go again to remind yourself just how special it is.

Start. Malham Village car park and Information Centre. BD23 4DA

 

 

Distance: 7 miles 11k

Time: 3 ½ - 4½ hours
 

Grade: For the most part quite an easy walk but with one section in Goredale Scar that includes an exposed scramble of about 10 feet followed by a strenuous ascent.

Map: OS OL2 Yorkshire Dales Southern and Western areas

 

 Map by kind permission of Johnston Press

Directions:

1. From the information centre turn left onto Chapel Gate to enter the village. After a short distance cross a stone footbridge on the right to join the Pennine Way.

 

Turn right to follow it south. This leads into fields. After ¼ mile close to a stone barn

 

turn left onto a footpath that soon joins Goredale Beck. For the next section of the walk this will provide a useful reference point. The path crosses several fields to enter a wooded valley which will bring you to Janet's Fosse a waterfall.

 

It's not Niagra Falls but an impressive feature all the same. The pool it has created was once used by farmers for washing sheep. The path soon after comes out onto Goredale Lane. Turn right cross the bridge

 

and then turn left onto a footpath taking you through a wide valley to the impressive cliffs ahead. Apart from the certainty of the path there does not appear to be a way through.

 

Soon the rock is towering above you as the path turns a bend and you enter the defile. Keep on the path until you arrive at a terminus with water cascading over a limestone shelf. In the confines of this canyon its noise is amplified to contribute to the spectacle - you can be in no doubt that this is one of Britain's great natural wonders.

 

The way ahead is up. (If you have no head for heights return to Goredale Bridge and take a path leading right along the base of the scar until you intercept a path on the right which leads over the hill to re-join the route high above the scramble. )The idea now is to cross the beck and scramble up the shelf which involves an exposed climb of ten feet. There are plenty of hand holds and foot holds so this should not present too much of a problem for the experienced walker. Once that pitch is cleared follow a very steep path to the left

 

which scales the valley side to bring you to an altogether less demanding terrain.

 

Keep on the path for a little under a mile to reach a lane at Street Gate - the name given for this junction of ways.

 

Cross he stone stile. Keep ahead following a wall on the right for just under half a mile to a gate in a wall.

 

Here turn left passing Great Close Plantation below Great Close Hill. This path will reunite you with the Pennine Way near the shores of Malham Tarn.

 

2. The plan now is to follow the Pennine Way south back to the village. When you reach the road turn right

 

and then after crossing the stream that flows from Malham Tarn turn left into pasture.

 

Close to this point the water flowing from Malham Tarn disappears underground in water sinks. Soon the way enters a valley which becomes more and more defined

 

as you progress. Close to Comb Hill there is a rocky descent

 

to the valley floor below. Continue for half a mile to arrive at the limestone pavements above the Cove. The wide area of pavement is impressive

 

but be wary of going close to the edge - it will result in a one way ticket to your demise. Go right crossing the pavement to a stile over the wall. This gives access to the steep way down. When you reach the base of the Cove you will be able to fully appreciate one of the natural wonders of Britain.

 

It is a dry waterfall of course. The water that once formed it now follows underground course through the porous rock. When there was water it fell 280ft to the valley below across a rim almost 900ft wide. From the cove the path leads obviously back to the village.