Just a short walk from the village, with its busy National Park Centre, cafés, Youth Hostel and outdoor and souvenir shops, is Malham Cove. The Cove is a massive natural limestone crescent-shaped cliff and former waterfall. This natural amphitheater extends across the line of the Mid-Craven Fault and is capped by a remarkable area of limestone pavement that has featured in many movies, including Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I. It is also home to many rare alkaline-loving planets that live amongst the fissures, or grikes, that divide the clints, or blocks of stone.
Easily accessible by footpath to the east is Gordale Scar, an impressive limestone gorge formed by torrents of glacial meltwater eroding frozen limestone and scouring out the gorge. For centuries it was rightly regarded as one of the natural wonders of England.
Close by is Janet’s Foss, another remarkable natural feature with a small cave and waterfall over a curtain of tufa or natural limestone deposits. It is said to be home to Janet, Queen of the Fairies.
It’s a pleasant, if steep, walk along the Pennine Way from Malham village past Malham Cove and through a remarkable natural limestone ‘Dry Valley’ to Malham Tarn, a glacial lake which is now a National Nature Reserve. The Tarn is the highest lake in England, and one of only eight upland alkaline lakes in Europe.
Superb walks abound around Malham. These include Pikedaw Hill, notable for former lead and zinc mines but also offering fine views down Malhamdale and across to the Tarn, and Weets Hill with its monastic cross. There are good tracks to be followed over Kirby Hill to Settle, or the new Pennine Bridleway Settle Loop can be followed via Gorbeck Lane - a green lane - to Langcliffe and Settle. Another fine walk is to follow the footpath over Malham Moor and the Monks’s Road to Arncliffe in Littondale, or to take the Pennine Way over Fountains Fell and Pen-y-ghent to Horton-in-Ribblesdale. The village itself also has great charm.
Local services: pubs, shops, cafes, accommodation, toilets, Youth Hostel, National Park Centre