One of the most spectacular and well visited villages in the Dales is Malham. With dramatic limestone scenery just a stone’s throw from the village centre, Malham has few equals anywhere in the UK.
Just a short walk from the village, with its busy National Park Centre, cafés, Youth Hostel and outdoor and souvenir shops, is Malham Cove, a massive natural limestone crescent-shaped cliff and former waterfall which extends across the line of the mid Craven Fault and is capped by a remarkable area of limestone pavement.
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, which for centuries 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’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 Malham Tarn Shuttle bus (service 809) on summer weekends passes the Tarn en route from Malham to Settle.
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 has great charm. Sadly buses are non-existent on weekday mornings, but there is an afternoon bus to and from the village. If you want to visit Malham mid-week it is therefore a good plan to walk there and get a bus back to your starting point. On Saturdays all year round and on Sundays in the summer, however, Dales Bus services offer very good links from Skipton, Gargrave or Settle.
Public Transport Links:
Local services: Pubs, shops, cafes, accommodation, toilets, Youth Hostel, TIC, Park Information Point (PIP)