Malham is quickly becoming one of my favourite places in the Dales, mainly because of how warming and homely it feels, there’s just something about the area that really makes me feel calm - it also helps that the scenery is beautiful. For this walk, (it is slightly shorter than the rest), you will start in the peaceful Malham village, if arriving by car, there is a pay and display car park sign posted as you drive in, there is also bathroom facilities in this car park. You don’t need all the hiking gear for this walk, as most of it is nicely sign posted, I would just advise walking boots and waterproofs (Im sure reading these walks by now you know I will suggest waterproofs!).
From the car park, walk towards the village centre where you will walk past the Buck Inn, which has lovely outdoor seating for those warmer summer days. As you walk past, bear right and you will then walk past the Lister Arms towards Gordale Lane. Be careful on this road as there is no pavement so you will have to walk on the road, cars do frequently whiz up and down so be aware. You will be walking on this road for around 15- 20 mins, around mid way there is a small gate that goes off road that will take you across the field and back down onto the road again near the end, this is purely to take you off the road if you are wary of cars.
You will then come to a small refreshments takeaway which is always handy if you need a hot coffee to warm those frosty hands up! Just past here, following the road, there is a gate to the Gordale Scar camp site, by now you will see the limestone cliffs surrounding the path (starts to make you feel very small!). keep walking on this path, until you reach Gordale Scar waterfall, this is actually a very exciting lead up to the waterfall because you can’t see it until you turn the very last corner, I believe ‘wow’ was the only word I could get out at this point. This place is incredible, its a really peaceful spot to sit and eat a snack or two (please remember to take your rubbish with you). If you have some rain or the day before there had been heavy rainfall, then you can expect the waterfall to be extremely strong, you can actually climb up the waterfall however please do so with care, it can be quite dangerous. That being said, this walk Im taking you through today does not take you up over the waterfall, instead now you will walk to Malham Cove.
If you turn back on yourself and walk back towards the refreshments takeaway, just behind is a gate with a sign post to Malham cove, this is around 1.3 miles. This will take you over farm land which will give you stunning views of the surrounding area. If you’re visiting on a very windy day, then this part can be quite tough due to you being in a completely open space, there are multiple stops on the way if you need to sit down! On this walk towards Malham Cove you have a couple of stiles to cross and you may come across some locals (Sheep!). Once you come to the road, you are now a stones throw from Malham Cove, crossing the road, bearing in mind cars will be around, you will come to another stile and at this point you will start to see the limestone formation, this area will require you to watch your footing! Malham Cove has a very interesting story, it was formed by a waterfall from a glacier at the end of the last Ice Age.. very cool! (No pun intended there). You will start to realise why its such a popular tourist attraction, it really is a very unique place. A fun fact for any Harry Potter fans, a scene from the film Deathly Hallows part 1 was actually filmed here, this may be why it is familiar to you!
Very carefully, you can start to climb up to the top of the limestone pavement and witness the dramatic views in front of you, proving why its a great place for a film location. After a rainfall this limestone can be extremely slippy so I would advise, if you are with other people, helping each other across. If you keep walking over you will notice a small path leading downwards (this is sign posted), take this path and you will come to some narrow stairs that will meander through the limestone cliff down to ground level. Many people actually climb the cliff face so you may be able to spot some as you are coming down! You will now have reached Malham Beck which is a lovely peaceful river walk back, you just need to follow the path and it will take you right back to the Buck Inn pub! If you so feel like it, you can actually do this walk in reverse as it is a full circle. Now time for a refreshing drink at the pub, pop your feet up, you deserve it! These pubs are also dog friendly, so they can also join in on the relaxation.
Jodie O'Connor | @joc_creative