Where to next? Malham Cove

There's something about the words �Yorkshire Dales� that makes you smile. Maybe it�s the influence of a million ad campaigns for everything from tea to bitter to spa water, wherein a warm and fuzzy Yorkshire accent warmly and fuzzily explained that the product hails from �reet under the Yorkshire Dales�.

Maybe it�s the fact that the word �Dales�, broadens your face muscles into a grin, forcing you to enjoy the simple act of pronunciation in a way few words can. Maybe it�s the automatic resonances: cheese, humour, clean air, sparkling water, the overwhelming lushness of green against white. Or maybe it�s just remembering � or seeing for the first time � how beautiful they are.

And perhaps that�s nowhere more true than Malhamdale, wherein lurk three of the loveliest attractions a walker can find in Yorkshire.

We don�t feel you�ve done Malham Cove a justice without a regular pilgrammage there. You can walk it six times and still be finding new joys at the end of your last walk.

Serene idylls
You can find new routes too; do I trot up to the lonely expanse of Malham Tarn, or plump for the quick-fix drama of Gordale Scar? The sylvan idylls of Janet�s Foss or the serene swathes of the Watlowes Valley?

Any cynicism is dispelled on the approach to the Cove, this 80m-high concave curtain of limestone which is unlike anything else on earth. And if the view from underneath is special, the view from the top is even more so: a cross-hatched plateau of clints and grikes, with hart�s tongue fern climbing implausibly from every unknowable depth.

It�s touristically popular but it hasn�t been tamed: no-one has put a railing at the lip of the abyss or an ice cream van at the tarn. This is still a countryside for people who respect it, and respect themselves enough to stay safe. And at the end of a day on Malham Cove, retreat into the Listers Arms or the Buck Inn and ask someone to say �Yorkshire Dales�. You�ll know you�ve arrived.

View Larger Map

Looking for more inspiration?

The Bronte Moors

Sgurr na Sgine

Isle of Arran