Malham Cove Walk

in Malham

This walk takes in two beauty spots in the Yorkshire Dales National Park – Malham Cove and Malham Tarn.

Malham cove

The Route

  • what3words for start point: ///chew.afflict.voltages
  • Start Point: Malham, North Yorkshire
  • Finish Point: Malham, North Yorkshire
  • Distance: 9 Miles

Getting there

Travel by car – there is a sizeable car park just off Chapel Gate at the South end of the village, which includes a charging point.

GPX Route Map

Download file for GPS

Walk Description

This circular walk to the cove and the tarn is one of the most popular walks in Yorkshire. Malham Cove was put on the global scene as it was used as a filming location in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part 1).

The walk begins in the village of Malham, following the Pennine Way to the formidable Malham Cove. The cove is 260 feet high and was formed by a waterfall carrying meltwater from glaciers following the Ice Age over 12,000 years ago.

Embarking on the Malham Circular Walk is a venture into a landscape steeped in both geological wonder and cinematic lore. Nestled in the heart of North Yorkshire, the walk is a symphony of nature’s grandeur, spanning a robust 9 miles that begin and end in the charming village of Malham.

The walk’s starting point, pinpointed by the what3words coordinate ///chew.afflict.voltages, hints at an adventure as electrifying as the words suggest. Travelers reaching Malham by car will find the practicality of modern life in the form of a spacious car park located just off Chapel Gate. It’s a thoughtful amenity, including an eco-friendly charging point for electric vehicles, symbolizing a bridge between nature’s past wonders and the future’s sustainability.

As you set off from the village, the walk takes you along the well-trodden paths of the Pennine Way, a route trodden by countless boots and hearts seeking the tranquil beauty that only the English countryside can offer. The initial stretch meanders through the village, where quaint stone cottages and the welcoming smiles of locals are a prelude to the natural marvels ahead.

The approach to Malham Cove is nothing short of dramatic. The limestone amphitheater-like cliff formation looms ahead, standing as a 260-foot high testament to the raw power of nature. One cannot help but feel humbled by its enormity, which dominates the landscape. Its sheer face, akin to a stone curtain, reveals the history of Earth’s climatic shifts. The cove, carved by a colossal waterfall from melting glaciers over 12 millennia ago, is today silent, devoid of the thunderous water, but echoing with the whispers of its dramatic creation.

Following the base of the cove, a series of stone steps invites you to ascend. The climb, while rigorous, rewards with every step; each rise unveils new vistas of the cove’s curvature and the sweeping valley below. Upon reaching the top, the limestone pavement stretches out like a natural mosaic, each clint and gryke telling a story millions of years old, a habitat for rare plants and creatures that have adapted to this unique environment.

The walk doesn’t stop at the marvel of the cove. It beckons onwards towards Malham Tarn, England’s highest freshwater lake. The path to the tarn invites a contemplative silence, with the landscape opening up to rolling hills and fields dotted with grazing sheep and the occasional flash of a peregrine falcon in flight. The tarn itself is a serene mirror reflecting the sky, edged by reeds and wetlands, a vital oasis for birds and wildlife.

With each step around the tarn and back towards Malham, the walk offers a meditative rhythm. The sights, from the occasional quaint farmstead to the swathes of wildflowers and the limestone cliffs standing sentinel in the distance, are a patchwork of nature’s finest.

By the time you find yourself returning to the village, the circular journey feels like a closing of a loop, yet the experiences gained are far from circular. They spiral within you, a helix of stories, encounters, and vistas that have left an indelible mark. In this long walk around Malham, what begins as a simple trek becomes a pilgrimage through time, elements, and the undying beauty of Yorkshire.


Once you’ve finished your walk, why not stay for dinner at The Buck in Malham?

Related Accommodation

The accommodation below is nearby - and has been updated recently.

Picture of The Lister Arms

The Lister Arms

The Lister Arms Malham, Malham, BD23 4DB, United Kingdom
Picture of The Buck Malham

The Buck Malham

Cove Road , Malham, BD23 4DA, United Kingdom

The Hayloft at Tennant Barn

The Hayloft at Tennant Barn, Tennant Barn, Malham, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 4DA, United Kingdom

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