The village of Malham lies within a short walking distance of two of the most dramatic natural features in the Yorkshire Dales – Malham Cove and Gordale Scar, and only two miles south of Malham Tarn. The village itself is divided in two by Malham Beck, which at one point also marked the boundary between the lands of Fountains Abbey to the west and Bolton Priory to the east.
There is now a large reasonably priced National Park car park at the southern end of the village. Just north of the car park the road splits in two – Malham Cove can be found on the left hand branch, which climbs up through the village to Town Head, with the path to the cove leaving to the right just outside the village, while Gordale Scar can be found along the right hand branch (although the path that runs alongside Gordale Beck is more attractive).
A village green lies at the heart of the village, with the Lister Arms on one side. The building is probably older than it’s 1723 date panel, which probably indicated the date at which the current front was added.
Although a public right of way does run through Gordale Scar, this route does involve a sizable climb up the front of a waterfall, and should not be relied on, especially after wet weather. The scar can be visited from above using a rather steep footpath, which also runs along the almost equally dramatic upper reaches of the valley above the scar.
Malham Cove is rather more straightforward. The path to the top climbs up the grassy slopes to the west of the cover, but it is well worth following the path to the base of the cove before climbing to the top. The views of the cove are best from below, but the views south from the top are spectacular, the limestone pavement is fascinating and the dry valley behind the cove well worth exploring.