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Malham Cove | Malham

North Yorkshire

Malham Cove | Malham

Malham Cove is a natural limestone formation just north of the village of Malham in the Yorkshire Dales.  This well-known beauty spot is a large, curved limestone cliff at the head of a valley, with a fine area of limestone pavement at the top.


Describing the cove in 1779, Thomas West said, "This beautiful rock is like the age-tinted wall of a prodigious castle; the stone is very white, and from the ledges hang various shrubs and vegetables, which with the tints given it by the bog water gives it a variety that I never before saw so pleasing in a plain rock.


On the west side of the 80 metre high cliff face are about 400 irregular stone steps, these form part of the route of the Pennine Way and lead to an uneven limestone pavement at the top.  Originally, a large waterfall flowed over the cove as a glacier melted above it.  The remnant of a stream, which once fell over the cliff, now flows out of the lake of Malham Tarn, on the moors north of the cove.  That stream now disappears underground at the aptly named 'Water Sinks', one mile before its valley reaches the top of the cove.