Malhamdale, Yorkshire

Malham Cove

Malham is a village in Yorkshire’s Dales National Park. The population of just 120 is swelled during summer months by day-trippers, hikers, school trips and campers. They all come here to see the ‘rare and exciting limestone features’, which have been formed over twelve thousand years, since the last ice age.

An anti-clockwise walk, which should take around three hours (add extra time for picnics) allows you to see the seven wonders of Malham. The first of these is Janet’s Foss, a waterfall named after a fairy queen, who is reputed to live in a cave at the back of the falls. This is most spectacular during the winter months, but is worth a visit at any time of the year. See if you can spot the nearby ‘coin tree’. Also nearby are the remains of a 2000 year old Iron Age settlement.

If you follow Gordale Beck you appear to be presented with an impassable hill. But keep going; as the valley walls close in and make a sharp right turn, you reach Gordale Scar. 300ft, overhanging limestone cliffs frame a double waterfall. The more adventurous amongst you may continue onwards; you can climb up through the scar, and on towards Malham Tarn. This natural lake lies in a shallow crater formed by a retreating glacier, and was the inspiration for the novel ‘The Water Babies’.

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