Visiting Malham Cove

Malham Cove is one of the jewels of the Yorkshire Dales

Malham Cove is one of the ‘must do’ things when visiting the western side of the Yorkshire Dales. It’s geologically fascinating, the views are magnificent and it’s steeped in history. It’s biggest problem however, is its popularity. So right from the start we want to say, make sure you go early, and midweek if possible.

If you take the time to walk up to the top of the 260 ft natural amphitheatre shaped cliff you will experience the ‘limestone pavement’ which continues to fascinate geologists and historians from around the world. But actually, when you are standing on the ancient limestone looking at the view across the fields and valleys below, you could easily believe you are on the top of the world. If you are lucky enough to be there on a quiet day you can often get the top to yourself for a few moments of silent contemplation. A lot of visitors to Malham Cove don’t do the full walk, so even on a busy day, if you commit to doing the full 7.5 mile route, the crowds at the beginning of the walk soon dwindle away, so it’s worth persevering.

Literary, Hollywood and TV connections

The majestic cliff front, which is very popular with climbers, is said to have inspired J.R.R. Tolkein’s Fort of Helm’s Deep in Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.

In 2009 Malham Cove became the backdrop to several scenes in Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows where Harry and Hermione set up camp in a tent on the limestone pavement at the top of Malham Cove. As you can imagine this brings a lot of Harry Potter fans, particularly during the summer holidays.

The following year Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon filmed at Malham Cove as part of their hit BBC TV show The Trip. As a result, Malham Cove now attracts more adult visitors who like to follow the exact journey Steve and Rob made from The Trough of Bowland, into the Lake District and then through the Yorkshire Dales. You can see a clip of Steve Coogan at Malham Cove here.


Limestone karst pavement at Malham Cove, Yorkshire Dales, England.

Walking around Malham Cove

The traditional walk at Malham Cove is approximately 7.5 miles and takes the average walker around 3 hours. Allow longer if you want to take it at a more leisurely pace and take breaks to enjoy the scenery. It’s classified as a medium grade walk, which means it has some steep climbs and rugged terrain, so suitable footwear is essential. There are plenty of places to eat and drink in Malham village and there are toilets in the main car park.

You can find a step by step guide to the full walk here.

Visit The Malabar

If you are planning a visit to the Yorkshire Dales, naturally we’d be delighted to welcome you to the Malabar which is the perfect location to explore the Western Dales.

You can check out our availability here.

You can read more articles from The Malabar here.

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