Malham Cove is a geologists dream with it’s unusual limestone pavements, creating clints (limestone blocks) and grykes (the gaps in between), these are quite unusual formations for England. It really is an astonishing place to visit, entirely peaceful and so beautiful.
A huge waterfall once cascaded over Malham Cove, a magnificent sight that we were given a peek of back in December 2015, thanks to storm Desmond. However before that it’s difficult to decipher when water thundered over the top, some say it was back in the early 19th Century, others say the 1720’s, although it could have been as far back as the last Ice Age. Either way, with or without a waterfall, Malham Cove is a splendour.
Malham is just a short drive from Skipton, taking in some gorgeous little country roads along the way.
You can park on the main road just outside Malham Village and drop £1 in the honesty milk urn or there’s the Malham National Park Centre car park a little further along. (There are no other parking facilities closer to the cove.)
It’s then only a short walk to the start of the official route up to Malham Cove.
We met some cute cows in the fields along the pathway as we enjoyed a lazy stroll up to the plateau of the cove. It’s quite a feat making it up the stone steps but the views more than make up for that.
At the top we ate our picnic of chicken sandwiches, pork pies, apples and custard creams as we admired the breathtaking scenery.
Christopher and Zac lead the way across the limestone pavements, we kept an eye out for fossilised lizards but unfortunately we didn’t find any (Christopher assures me there are some around somewhere.) We followed the path to the right which eventually lead us to Gordale Scar, a stunning crevasse that was formed during the Ice Age and is now home to two spectacular waterfalls which apparently form part of the walk we were on.
The route is classed as a ‘difficult climb’ and as tempted as we were to give it a try Zac and Christopher didn’t really have the correct footwear for scaling waterfalls. We do plan to head back there another day though and attempt the ascent.
We headed back the way we came but instead of re-tracing our steps back up to Malham Cove we carried on up the road to Janet’s Foss. According to ancient folklore, Janet’s Foss is so called due to the fairy Queen (Janet) living in the cave just behind the Foss (Scandinavian for waterfall or force). The woodland walk from here back to Malham Village is really quite magical and you can clearly see why it has been the inspiration for such stories.