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Malham Cove

The 70 metre (230ft) high, gently curving cliff of white limestone has amazed visitors for centuries. Formed along the line of the Middle Craven Fault, it has been eroded backwards from the line of the fault by the action of water and ice over millions of years.

Over the last one and a half million years, Malham was probably covered at least three times with huge sheets of ice. 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.

The water flows underground now, but then, the ground was permanently frozen and so the glacial meltwater had to run over the top. The result was that a massive waterfall once thundered over the Cove.

Today, the sheer rock face of Malham Cove challenges climbers and also protects a pair of nesting peregrine falcons which can be viewed during the summer months diving and wheeling alongside the house martins and jackdaws that also call the Cove home. Check out the Date with Nature page for further information on the RSPB viewpoint.

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