Malham Cove
Landscape Skipton North Yorkshire

Malham Cove

Landscape In Skipton, North Yorkshire

A spectacular natural landform of Limestone Pavement in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Malham Cove is a large, curving limestone formation located in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the park, and is known for its dramatic scenery. The name “Malham” developed from the name “Malgun” which means “settlement by the gravelly places”.

The distinctive shape of Malham Cove was formed by a waterfall carrying meltwater from glaciers at the end of the last Ice Age more than 12,000 years ago. The waterfall was once much larger than it is today, and it is estimated that it dropped over 80 meters (260 feet) high. The water flowing over the waterfall created the curved shape because the lip was more heavily eroded than the sides due to the speed and force of the water being more powerful towards the centre of its flow.

There is a well-maintained path that leads to the top of the cove, where there are stunning views of the surrounding countryside. The bottom of the cove is home to a small stream, Malham Beck, which emerges from a cave at the base of the cliff. It is a wonderful place to spot the local wildlife such as Redstarts and Green Woodpeckers and if you are really lucky you might see a Peregrine Falcon! If you listen carefully you will probably at least hear their calls.

In addition to its natural beauty, Malham Cove is also of historical and geological importance. The limestone pavement that lies above the cove is one of the largest in England, and it is thought to have been formed over millions of years by the action of water and ice. The cove has also been the site of human activity for centuries, and there are a number of archaeological sites in the area, including the remains of a Bronze Age settlement.

Limestone pavement is a natural landform consisting of a flat, incised surface of exposed limestone that resembles an artificial pavement. The term is mainly used in the UK and Ireland, where many of these landforms have developed distinctive surface patterning resembling paving blocks.

Limestone pavements are formed by the action of water over millions of years. The limestone is slightly soluble in water, and the water slowly dissolves the rock, creating a network of cracks and fissures. Over time, these cracks and fissures widen, forming deep depressions called grikes, and flat slabs of rock called clints.

The distinctive surface patterning of limestone pavements is created by the different ways in which the clints and grikes are weathered. The clints are more resistant to weathering than the grikes, so they tend to be more angular and jagged. The grikes, on the other hand, are more easily eroded, so they tend to be more rounded and smooth.

Fans of Harry Potter may recognise Malham Cove as one of the locations Harry and Hermione visited during the Deathly Hallows Part 1. It is certainly a magical place to visit!

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How To Find Malham Cove

Where Is Malham Cove?

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54.072836, -2.157915

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Where To Park For Malham Cove?

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54.060061, 54.060061

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There is parking available nearby in Malham at the National Park Car Park.

Contributed by Andrew Gardner

I love being outdoors, in nature, and experiencing the relaxation it brings. Wandering through the northern countryside seeing unexpected buildings, historic places and occasionally surprised wildlife is one of life's great pleasures.

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Andrew Gardner

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Malham Cove was listed in Landscape // North Yorkshire // Skipton