On our recent stay in the Yorkshire Dales we were a short distance away from the imposing limestone cliff, Malham Cove. Keen to explore on foot without needing to worry about where we left the car, we headed over one afternoon to see the renowned area of natural beauty for ourselves.
As you reach the footpath and walk towards your destination it’s hard to miss the cove but it’s not until you’re much closer that you realise how imposing it is.
Appropriate shoes are a must for exploring – it involves clambering over rocks by the stream to get up close and hiking up a great number of steps to reach the top.
Once at the top you may recognise that it was a location for Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part I before remembering that you need to focus on where you’re stepping so you don’t end up with a foot down one of the cracks! On our visit it became rather blustery as we stood looking out from the cliff and as I’m rather little (and can literally be moved by the wind), we made our way back down the steps to be sheltered by the cove.
Aside from the cove, there are paths that take you towards Malham Tarn, a glacial lake near both the cove and the village of Malham. We didn’t make it over to the Tarn so it’s at least a reason to return in future.
Malham Cove, gr 897642 OS Map: 98 – footpath entrance is accessible via Cove Road.
As well as visiting the nearby cove, we took the short drive towards a nearby cave. We’d read about White Scar Cave, the longest show cave, online after our visit to Stump Cross Caverns as we’re both trying to remember which caves we visited years ago with our schools. After realising that it wasn’t too far away from where we were staying, it was quickly on our agenda to visit.
Like many caves and caverns in the area, the exterior visitor area is rather unassuming and feels a little like a random car park in the middle of nowhere. It’s only once you’re in the cave and reach the first waterfall that you realise that you’re somewhere special.
Unlike Stump Cross Caverns the majority of the cave highlights are open to view without restrictions and you’re trusted not to be silly and break anything. The nature of the cave does mean that as well as keeping low in some areas, you need to breathe in at others to make your way around and it’s not suitable for those with pushchairs, wheelchairs etc.
The tour is guided so you learn more about the first known people to uncover the cave, the myths about turning to stone if you get caught by dripping water in a certain area and various other facts about the formations found in the cave.
We thought that the cave tour was good value for money (it lasted approx 100 minutes and cost £9.50) and we’d advise that you arrive early for your chosen time as there can be quite a number of groups in the cave at any one time and even though we visited in the morning, we passed a good number of people whilst exploring the cave.
White Scar Cave, Ingleton, North Yorkshire, LA6 3AW.
Near Enough is a series of blog posts about travel in the UK. To see other posts about places to visit, click here.