Last week my friends and I went on another practice walk, ready for St Cuthberts Way in a couple of weeks time. Our American friend had a friend visiting from home so we wanted to go somewhere special…we chose Malham Cove…
Malhamdale is limestone country, pavements, scars, gorges, it’s pretty dramatic countryside and Malham Cove itself is pretty iconic here in Yorkshire.
We started our walk in the village of Malham and walked across the fields and through the woodland to Janets Foss. The trees looked beautiful, it was so muggy that mist was rising from the water. The lichen and moss on the fallen tree was almost startling, it was such a vivid green.
Janets Foss is a very pretty waterfall in the middle of the wooded gorge.
We walked past the waterfall up to Gordale Scar. The entrance to the gorge is quite dramatic, classic limestone scenery.
This is a narrow gorge with overhanging walls of limestone up to 100m high. There is a footpath up past the waterfall but I was very relieved when my friend said we weren’t going that way! A month ago when it was dry we might have had a chance…
Instead we walked back down the gorge and then over the fields to Malham Cove, there were wonderful views across the valley as we walked along.
The patterns in these fields are from ancient farming methods…
Looking over towards Malham…Malham Cove is amazing, in glacial times it was a huge waterfall, but now it just has a spring emerging from it’s base…except in December 2015 when there was lots of flooding and for the first time in living memory there was a waterfall from the top of Malham Cove, for a short time it was the highest single drop waterfall in England.
The top of the cove is a huge limestone pavement, the slabs of limestone are called clints, the deep fissures between are grykes, these are probably about 2′ deep. We sat and ate our lunch on the top where we were delighted to be visited by a little vole, who didn’t seem at all perturbed by me taking photos!
The limestone pavement isn’t easy to walk on, it’s a bit like a field of stepping stones, there was a bit of drizzle as we arrived on the top, making the stones slippy, so I managed to measure my length and my shin is still a lovely shade of purple and yellow!
We walked down the path at the side of the cove, which gives wonderful views of the limestone cliff. In spring it’s a lovely place to visit as a pair of falcons nest on the cove and a telescope is set up so people can watch the nest. It’s also a popular place for climbers.
It’s easier to see the scale of Malham Cove from a distance…
The mist was still rising from the stream!
We made our way back to Clapham for a welcome cup of tea in a cafe.