Circular walk from Malham

A circular walk from Malham in the Yorkshire Dales, taking in Malham Cove, Gordale Scar and Janet's Foss.

A circular walk from Malham village which climbs Malham Cove, follows a good path across to Gordale, enters the enchanted fairy grotto of Janet’s Foss and winds it’s way back to Malham next to Malham Beck.

Brief details

Length: 3.75 miles
Difficulty: Moderate. Some flat parts but there’s a stiff climb up stone steps to the top of Malham Cove and some hilly stretches to Gordale.

NB. The path from the village to the Cove is level and well-made, suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs.

Type: Circular element although you’ll return along some of the same paths.
Time required: Give yourself 2 hours. If you’re fit it will be quicker than that.

Map of the walk from Malham

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Photo, Cove Road, Malham, North YorkshirePark either in the official village car park or on the road if there is a space. Walk from Malham past the National Park visitor centre and through the village past the ford, Malham Smithy on the right and the Buck Inn on your left. Head up Cove Road and just past Town Head Barn look for a gate on the right signposted to Malham Cove.

Going through this gate, you’ll join a well-made, and level, gravel path which winds its way towards the Cove which looms ever large. As you approach it, the crowds will grow. There will be families picnicking, children playing in the stream, twitchers (bird watchers) with telescopes trained on the cliffs for a view of the peregrines, and, on the cliff itself, climbers hanging on ropes doing battle with the limestone. Look left to spot a path leading to the steps to the top of the Cove. There’s plenty of them.

Steps to the top of Malham Cove, North Yorkshire

During the climb, and at the top, most will need a breather before continuing.
When rested, walk across the limestone pavement to the far side of the Cove. Go slowly, both taking care across the stones and to enjoy the dramatic views down Malhamdale towards the village. At the far side, you’ll find a set of steps over a drystone wall. Climb these and head up the hill, keeping slightly right. The views just keep coming.

24-janets-foss-nr-malham-2The path is still clear and after half a mile or so, you’ll come to some more steps over a wall. Take these and descend onto a narrow road. The path continues the other side of the lane, through a gate. The path will start heading downhill now towards Gordale. At Gordale there will be a refreshments van where you can buy a drink, ice cream or something more substantial. Turning left across the stone bridge takes you to the famous Scar, about ½ to ¾ mile further on. For this walk turn right and walk along the road for a couple of hundred yards. Where the road bears right and starts uphill is a gate signposted Janet’s Foss. Go through this and enter the magical world of the fairy, Janet or Jennet, who is reputed to live in a cave behind the waterfall.

The path now follows the Beck through a wooded area, the ground thick with wild garlic. It then opens up to farmland and eventually turns right back to the village of Malham. You’ll enter the village on the other side of the stream and can cross over the narrow bridge behind the blacksmith’s shop.

There’s a cafe opposite, or head for one of the pubs for something stronger, You’ve earned it.

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