Posted in Nature, Travel, places to visit, mini-adventures, Walks

Walks in the Yorkshire Dales – A Short Country Break: Malham

Malham Cove

Malham is a most unusual place, home to Queen of the Fairies and her magical waterfall, a 300 million-year-old pavement (none of this modern tarmac stuff of today) and a scenic tarn. And then there’s the intimidating Gordale Scar…

I can see why Malham has featured in films such as Harry Potter with its magical setting. We set off from Malham village, directions sending us to the way of Janet’s Foss. A nice and easy walk took us to a wooded glen, complete with waterfall and small pool. A woman was wild swimming and I hoped she didn’t think I was taking a photo of her when I was aiming for the waterfall!

We saw a dipper flying to and from a nest under ivy, high up over the waterfall, and bee nests made of books along the trees. One time I came here I followed Simon over the rocks in the pool to a small cave at the other end. Needless to say, I stumbled into the water and got my shoes and socks soaking wet.

Janet’s Foss

So who is or was Janet? It’s believed Janet (sometimes Jennet) is a fairy queen who lives in a cave at the back of the waterfall. (Maybe she was watching me and laughing when I got my feet wet that time?!) The word Foss means waterfall in Nordic and can also appear as the word ‘Force’ in English. It is such a magical setting that it doesn’t surprise me that a fairy queen lives here…

Janet’s Foss
Gordale Scar

We continued on our way to the section I was dreading, the limestone ravine that is Gordale Scar. Gordale Scar is a hidden gorge with two waterfalls that hardy hikers scramble over to get to the top. The first time I came here, I climbed this but not without wanting to turn back mid-way. The gaps between the leg holds seemed too vast for my little legs. But then a small 9-year-old girl bravely climbed past me and I thought if she can do it, so can I. But the last time and this time I gazed at it, wishing I could do it but my legs were tired and the lack of people climbing put me off. Yet when there are several people doing it, it feels safer somehow. The rocks were also wet and looked slippery so that’s my excuse!

We left the limestone ravine behind but rather than taking the long way back to Malham Tarn, we walked up a steep hill. It was steep but no scrambling was needed so an improvement on the 330ft high Gordale Scar! Finally at the top, we travelled on the flat, through moorland to Malham Tarn, a beautiful glacial lake. Here we took a short break, eating our sandwiches.

Malham Cove

From there, we continued to the famous 70 metre (230ft) Malham Cove. A series of steps took us to the famous 300-million-year-old limestone pavement. Except for its colour and being of a different stone (limestone as opposed to volcanic rock), it’s a little like the Giants Causeway, another geological wonder, although Malham Cove doesn’t have any legendary giants, more’s the pity. Most of the rocks are large and flat but there are gaps between each one. Another thing to be aware of is that it does look very steep – and potentially dangerous – when you venture nearer to the edge. Not a place to venture if you haven’t a head for heights. Poignantly we saw notices for The Samaritans on the way here.

Malham Cove

Once you pick your way past all the giant blocks, there’s more steps to climb down and then a long path.

The bottom of Malham Cove

Once back in the village of Malham, we looked for a cafe for a well-earned pot of tea. The first eatery was full but we went back to Beck Hall, a hotel restaurant which we encountered on the way back. In an idyllic setting, overlooking the river, it was the perfect ending for a great walk. And a good place to rest our weary legs!

Beck Hall


  1. Gordale Scar was formed on the Middle Craven Fault. This is a fault line of 22 miles and runs from The Yorkshire Dales to Cumbria.
  2. According to the Yorkshire Dales National Park website: “The torrents of glacial meltwater that flowed over it cut down through faults in the rock. Successive Ice Ages have carved it deeper and deeper over thousands of years to create the deep gorge we see today.”
  3. Over millions of years, Malham Cove was eroded by water and ice. It is believed that the site was once covered with massive sheets of ice. The Yorkshire Dales website explains: “As these glaciers ground their way over the landscape they plucked rock from the face of the Cove and carried it away. Each time the glaciers melted, huge floods of water further eroded the face of the Cove.” (


Interested in environmental issues, wildlife, spirituality, gardening, self-sufficiency and mini-adventures. There are two blogs, one is and the other, more recent one, is - ☺️

22 thoughts on “Walks in the Yorkshire Dales – A Short Country Break: Malham

      1. Hey Clare you are welcome – l see you are now following this blog. IIt is not yet a live blog, the small team of readers l have on board are beta testers πŸ™‚

        So by all means feel free to read but please do leave comments whilst the blog is developing the build.

        The blog goes live August 6th.


      2. Hi Rory, sorry I’ve been a bit quick there! It looks really good, I love the designs you have for the wildlife categories. And I’m impressed how you’re able to get up at 4am, I feel groggy getting up at 6am! I can unfollow and follow again when it’s live if you like? πŸ™‚

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      3. No don’t be silly Clare πŸ™‚

        You are very welcome here, l just wanted to let you know that whilst it appears live, it’s not yet live, as the countdown began a few days ago and l am awaiting the last few designs and creating content.

        Please feel free to look at as much as you want πŸ™‚

        WordPress made a change to their configurations two weeks ago, and my hidden site suddenly became visible in one of the secrecy modes so now l have to flit between two modes.

        So if you see the blog and then don’t, panic not, just hit refresh and it should appear again.

        The blog has to go into private mode from 8.30pm to 4.30 am and then ‘coming soon mode’ from 4.30am to 8.30 pm – very complicated hahaha, but that’s WordPress for you and their desire to fix things that aren’t broken :0

        So please stay, it is that there are an assortment of internal posts [admins] that are published to update progress πŸ™‚

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  1. Your country break is my kind of break Clare – beautiful scenery. Our weather is either horribly hot or uncharacteristically cool … we have been lucky to have nice weather for the last two weeks, so I’ve been trying to soak up the sun and get out as much as possible as we are now beginning the slow creep toward the dreaded Winter (for me anyway).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We’ve been having a heatwave at the moment in England. There have been some very warm days here but it’s believed to get even hotter next week. It’s extremely hot in some parts of mainland Europe though, there’s wildfires in Spain and Portugal.


      1. I have been hearing about the weather over here and Andy, a UK blogger I follow, said it was the warmest in the UK in 200 years! This climate change is very scary – we have days that are scorching hot early in the morning, then 24 hours later, you need a light jacket.

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