Malham Cove Walk

The Malham Cove Walk is probably one of the most popular family walks in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The circular walk takes in Malham Cove, Gordale Scar, and Janet’s Foss. The walk features waterfalls, limestone pavements, and plenty of stunning geology to cast your eye upon.

Where is Malham Cove?

Malham Cove is situated in the English countryside of West Yorkshire. The cove is just a short walk from a village of the same name – Malham village. The nearest large town is Skipton. 

How long is the Walk?

For walkers wishing to visit Malham Cove, Gordale Scar, and Janet’s Foss, they should expect a walking time of around 3 hours in total. For visitors who are looking for a less time consuming experience away from tourists, the hike can be enjoyed alone on less busy pathways – you won’t be disappointed!

How hard is the Malham Cove Walk?

As it is most popular with families, the Malham Cove Walk offers visitors an easy walk with stunning history, culture, and views.

Malham Cove

Malham Cove is a short walk from the central village. Starting from the National Park Centre car park, turn left – the route takes you through Malham village, where you can admire the quaint old buildings, shops, and pubs. Passing the Buck Inn, the route bears left following a signpost for Malham Tarn. Continuing through the village and passing Townhead Barn, continue up Cove Road towards Malham Cove. and turn right into the field. Following the Pennine Way signpost, walkers will be led towards the cove and then right up the steps to the top of the cove. Visitors can soak up the lovely views across Malhamdale.

Malham Cove is a huge amphitheatre shaped cliff formation of limestone rock. The vertical face of the limestone cliff sits at 250 feet high. At the top of this circular shaped cove sits a large area of heavily eroded limestone pavement. The rare and stunning patterns created by the limestone are ones rarely seen in England. The limestone pavement at the top of the cove boasts stunning views over the village of Malham – which is just one of the many reasons it has been attracting visitors for centuries. The limestone pavements are a prominent feature of the hike and the surrounding areas.

Harry Potter Filming

Did you know: Malham Cove was featured in the Harry Potter Film – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, when Harry was seen camping at the top of the flat peak. Filming took place across Malham, the limestone pavement, Malham Tarn, and Gordale Scar. The cove has also been a source of inspiration for many works of Art and Literature and even features in many walking books.

Today, the sheer cliff face of Yorkshire’s famous landmark challenges climbers and also protects a pair of nesting peregrine falcons.

Malham Cove on Pennine Way

Gordale Scar

After navigating the limestone pavement and over the stone stile, bear right, following the green dotted posts. Then, head straight following the signposts for Gordale Scar, where you can admire the geology and soak up the thousands of years of history and natural architecture the gorge offers.

One of the jewels in the crown of the National Trust Park, this nestled gorge at Gordale has stunned visitors for hundreds of years. Similar to Malham Cove, this impressive feature was on the Middle Craven Fault. Successive Ice Ages have carved the rock deeper and deeper over thousands of years to create the deep gorge we see today. There is an accessible route up to the bottom of the gorge so that even more people can enjoy the thrill.

Janet’s Foss

Retrace your steps back down to the road and cross the bridge until you reach a footpath with a sign on the left hand side saying ‘Riverside Path Malham’. Following this path, walkers will reach Janet’s Foss waterfall and pool.

Nestled in a magical wood along the footpath from Malham Village, Janet’s Foss is a small but wonderful waterfall and pool in Malhamdale. In the summertime, visitors can paddle or even swim in the pool. Janet’s Foss has been used as a natural sheep dip for local farmers, a location for family swims and celebrations and may even be home to Jannett the Queen of Fairies.

When to visit?

The picturesque views of the Malham Cove Walk would be best enjoyed during the summer months, when it is more likely walkers will be blessed with clear skies and a warm summer’s day. However, this wonderful trail can be visited any time of the year. If you decide to visit this popular tourist spot in the winter months, be sure to pack waterproofs and plenty of dry clothes.


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