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Total Ascent



4 hrs



About the Hike

Discover the Untouched Beauty of Malham Cove and Gordale Scar: A Fascinating Hiking Adventure

If you don't already use the Ordnance Survey App, you can download it here, enabling you to download the GPX route from above straight into it. I use this App to plan all my hikes, and as its OS, it mirrors the paper map you should always use in conjunction with.

Nestled in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, Malham Cove and Gordale Scar are two natural wonders that have captivated the hearts and souls of hikers and adventure seekers for centuries. With their striking limestone formations, cascading waterfalls and breathtaking views that stretch for miles, these two sites are a must-visit for anyone looking to experience the beauty and grandeur of the great outdoors.

The walk starts in the lovely village of Malham at the Malham National Park Centre; I strongly advise using the car park and not parking on the roads. The National Park uses the money to look after the Park and ensures we have footpaths that are safe for us to use. You then head out of the village and up towards the Cove, which is fully signposted. You will soon hit a little sign that takes you along a lovely stream towards the Cove.

Malham Cove, it is believed, was formed over 50,000 years ago and was once a huge waterfall as the massive glacier melted on the land above. Since then, water and rain have continued to create the sheer limestone cliff face.

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The Limestone Pavement above Malham Cove
The Limestone Pavement above Malham Cove

Once you arrive at the Cove and admire its magnificence, you can take the steep steps up to the limestone pavement at the top. Please beware of the habitat as it is protected by law and the little cracks are home to some rare plants.

The walk through Ing Scar
The walk through Ing Scar

From here, you head through Ing Scar, another wonderment on this lovely little walk and following the Pennine way brings you out at Malham Tarn; this would be a pleasant stop off for lunch in the summer. From here, I deviated from the course as there were a lot of cows, and I couldn't walk through them. So I made up my path and headed in roughly the right direction and as it was reasonably flat so was easy to do.

Malham Tarn
Malham Tarn

You can head down towards Gordale Scar at a style at Seaty Hill. Which is a good path for about 1 mile, and thankfully there were no cows. However, the way down to the Sacr is steep, so please be careful. It is pretty breathtaking when you get down there, and I wanted to stay for a while, but once I realised I couldn't get through due to the amount of rain there had been, I realised I had to get back up, which was going to take a while. The rain, however, meant the falls were spectacular. If you can't get down the falls, then once you get back t the top, there is a path to the left that leads across the top and brings you back on the trail just before Janets Foss. (If you feel that you would rather go up the waterfall, then just do the hike in reverse)

Gordale Scar and Waterfall
Gordale Scar and Waterfall

From here, you head down a path along the stream, taking in Janets Foss and leading you back into Malham.

Janet's Foss
Janet's Foss

I would rate this hike fairly easy apart from the steep climbs up above the Cove and at Gordale Scar, other than that it is fairly flat.

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Disclaimer: At the time of this walk, all the rights of way were open, and the terrain was easy to navigate, I followed all the rights of way as per the OS maps, but things can change. Please be aware that the weather/farmers etc., can change things and therefore, the route may not be as possible as it was for me. Please make your checks beforehand including the weather. Please get in touch with me if any information that I have included has now changed.

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