Malham Cove

Malham Cove is one of the most incredible natural wonders that you must see on your visit to North Yorkshire. In the Yorkshire Dales, not too far from Skipton and Grassington, you’ll find the great basin and towering cliffs of the Cove.

Malham Cove basin

What is Malham Cove?

Malham Cove was formed by a massive waterfall that carried the melt water from glaciers at the end of the last great ice age that shaped the land as we know it today. Over 12,000 years ago, water cascaded down this great limestone rock formation.

At the top of the cliff, you’ll find a limestone pavement and beautiful views over this stunning part of the world. The pavement has featured in many films and TV shows, most notably as one of the places Harry and Hermione visit in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1.

Impressively, in 2015, water once again flowed over Malham Cove following severe weather and heavy rains. In doing so, it briefly became England’s highest single drop waterfall. Once the water stopped flowing, Hardraw Force reclaimed this title.

There’s also a complex series of cave and tunnel systems underneath the limestone cliff that water still runs through today. Many of these remain completely unexplored by cave divers.

limestone causeway at Malham Cove

Visiting Malham Cove

Visitors are encouraged to leave their cars behind in the Yorkshire Dales National Park car park and walk to the cove, through the village of Malham and beautiful Yorkshire countryside. The path to the cove is reasonably easy underfoot, but it does get trickier as you approach the basin.

On one side of the cove, you’ll find a set of stairs that you can follow all the way to the top and the limestone pavement. These do get slippery when wet and vary in height, so do take caution as you make your way up.

The unique geography of Malham Cove has also attracted exciting wildlife. Peregrine falcons and little owls call the cove their home. It’s one of the most successful peregrine nesting sites in the national park and many bird watchers have seen adult peregrines teaching their young to fly here.

Nearby points of interest

If you’re in the area, there are lots of other wonderful places you can visit as well as Malham Cove. Janet’s Foss always makes lists of the most beautiful waterfall in the area and is well worth a visit. The fall wouldn’t exist without the impressive Gordale Scar, a 1 mile long limestone ravine that’s also a must see. The impressive remains of Skipton Castle and Bolton Abbey are also fantastic places to wander around. You can also take a trip underground at White Scar Cave, the longest show cave in Britain.

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