A nice circular walk from Malham in a westerly direction towards Settle and then curving north past Attermire Scar with a detour to explore Victoria Cave. The loop returns towards Malham via Malham Cove. Interesting and varied scenery throughout the walk and mostly on well maintained paths or tracks.
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
Park at Malham. This is described from parking beside the road just before the village, there is also parking available within the village and on busy days the farmers will open fields for overflow parking. Expect to pay for all parking and bring change.
(D/A) From the parking, walk into the village where there is a turning into the National Park car park on the left.
(1) Turn left and walk along the road but do not turn right into the car park, instead keep straight on, onto a lane with stone walls on either side. This quickly splits, take the right hand lane that runs behind and above the car park. Walk along the lane to the second lane on your left.
(2) Turn left at the second lane and walk uphill, the lane bends to the right and ascends gently to a small water works building where the lane splits. At the water works take the left hand split and walk along the lane passing barns on the left hand side. The lane bends to the left and crosses a stream. After the stream look for a stile in the wall on your right.
(3) Cross the stile into the field and cross this diagonally and pass into the next field just above a barn. Cross another stream and ascend diagonally across the field until parallel with a row of trees in front. The path turns slightly uphill, in the direction of a solitary tree in front of a wall, walk up to another path in front of the tree and turn left, walk along the path to a gate and go through it. (At the time of writing the gate had been taken off its hinges) Now ascend diagonally to a further wall (this section of the walk can be wet and muddy after rain)
(4) Cross the wall. The path splits almost immediately, the right hand split ascends more directly but we recommend the left hand split which ascends to where the fell levels off at some old mine workings and a pool of water. Continue to a gate in the wall.
(5) Go through the gate (signpost) and take the path on the left (Stockdale Lane part of the Settle Loop). This path is obvious and leads through two fields before it starts to descend to Stockdale Farm (obvious). The path always keeps to the right of the fell wall before joining the end of the farm track at the tarmac section of Stockdale Lane.
(6) Go through the gate onto Stockdale Lane (tarmac road) and walk in single file at a point where it bends left. At this point you will see a concrete ramp leading into a field on your right and a wooden signpost.
(7) Go up the concrete ramp and through the gate into the field. Turn left and walk along the path with Horseshoe Cave up and ahead on your right with the edge of Attermire Scar just beyond. The paths lead through four fields in quick succession until you are underneath Attermire Scar with the obvious cave above you. You will arrive at a junction in the path where it turns uphill or goes through a gap in the stone wall.
(8) Turn uphill (leaving the Settle Loop) and take the path with a wall on your left and Attermire Scar up on your right; on a dry day you might see climbers on the cliffs. The path ascends and then levels off a little. Pass through a gate and walk along until the obvious Victoria Cave is above you on the right.
(9) A path leads up to a smaller cave with a square entrance, it is possible to go into this for about 15m or so. Higher up is Victoria Cave, this has two obvious levels inside, one on the right which is higher than the larger cave below it on the right. The lower cave has barriers and signs reminding people that the deposits on the rock walls of the cave are fragile. It is possible, with a headtorch to cross the barrier and follow a passage with a low roof (muddy underfoot) into a section where you can stand upright again. From here you can scramble up some rocks into the higher left hand level; thus making a small tour of the cave. (Note it is muddy underfoot where the cave is low and you will need a torch or head torch. Please do not go to the rear of the cave and touch the fragile calcium deposits on the walls)
From Victoria Cave rejoin the path and walk to a gate and junction with a stony track
(10) Go through the gate and turn right onto the track. (joining the Settle Loop again) Follow this gently up, passing the smaller Jubilee Cave (possible detour but if little interest) the track curves around to the right and passes a plantation of trees on the left. Continue along the track which starts to veer away from the fell wall, pass through two gates and shortly after the second the track splits.
(11) Take the right hand (more obvious) split and follow the track to pass through another gate, where it descends to a signpost and junction with a track on the right. (Views of Malham Tarn over the wall on your left)
(12) Go straight ahead passing through a gate, the path will soon bring you to a gate in front of the road from Malham (Langscar Gate) (Note if you turn right you will follow the path (Settle Loop) back to point 5 and can return to your car via pts 4 to1. This is one way of shortening the walk but you will miss out on the magnificent views of Malham Cove)
(13) Cross the road, go through another gate and down to a wooden stile and signpost.
(14) Cross the stile and turn right, walk down to a wooden fence. cross this via one of two stiles and continue down a narrow gorge, soon this will lead to a view where the limestone pavement is in front of you.
(15) There is a prominent fingerpost pointing in two directions. At the fingerpost, turn right and step up onto the limestone pavement. Take care as a few blocks (Clints) are wobbly and the cracks (Grykes) are just the right size to twist or break an ankle should you slip a foot into one. Take the time to walk to the front and admire the view across to the left, directly below you is the steepest part of the cove so be careful it is along the way down. Cross the limestone pavement to a place where the path turns left onto some well-maintained steps.
(16) Go through the kissing gate and take the good steps down to the bottom of the cove. As you near the bottom, the view of the sheer cliff face will come into view. Malham Cove is a major rock climbing venue although climbers avoid the crag during the nesting season in spring as it is home to Peregrine Falcons. (There is often a viewing area set up at the bottom of the cove with scopes so that visitors can spot the birds)
From the cove bottom, turn right follow the path south back towards Malham, it soon joins the road where there is a path beside the road but after the campsite. You will have to walk along the roadside.
(17) Just past Town Head (National Trust Barn), there is a path on the left crossing the beck and going into Malham village if you want to look around but the best way to get back to your car is to take the track on the opposite side of the road (right) through Hill Top Farm and follow the lane south passing (2) until it comes out beside the National Park parking area at (1) Return to your car, in whichever car park you used.(D/A)
D/A : mi 0 - alt. 643ft - Parking
1 : mi 0.13 - alt. 643ft - National Park car park
2 : mi 0.38 - alt. 692ft - Long lane
3 : mi 0.89 - alt. 843ft - Sell Gill
4 : mi 1.63 - alt. 1385ft - Wall
5 : mi 2.12 - alt. 1696ft - Gate
6 : mi 3.54 - alt. 1325ft - Gate
7 : mi 3.91 - alt. 1237ft - Dales High Way
8 : mi 4.5 - alt. 1138ft - Path uphill
9 : mi 5.02 - alt. 1302ft - Cave
10 : mi 5.35 - alt. 1306ft - Gate
11 : mi 7.27 - alt. 1394ft - Split
12 : mi 8.51 - alt. 1444ft - Gate
13 : mi 8.97 - alt. 1280ft - Road
14 : mi 9.15 - alt. 1201ft - Stile
15 : mi 9.78 - alt. 948ft - Fingerpost
16 : mi 9.92 - alt. 1010ft - Kissing gate
17 : mi 10.64 - alt. 696ft - Town Head
D/A : mi 11.15 - alt. 643ft - Parking
No places to stop for water or buy food so take all that you need.
Pretty easy walking underfoot but the first section through the farmland can be muddy after rain and it is easy to turn an ankle on the limestone pavement if you are not watching what you are doing.
Take a windproof/waterproof as it can get cold on the tops, even on sunny days
If taking your dog please keep it on a lead as there are many fields with sheep and cows.
In lambing time please do not touch the lambs, even if you think one has been abandoned.
If you are planning to stay in the area for a few days or have a short holiday I can highly recommend the holiday cottage at Hill Top Farm; Neil and Leigh who are the owners are both very friendly and helpful. They also run bunkhouse accommodation. https://hilltopmalham.co.uk/
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
Plenty of good views.
The Settle Loop is a used by mountain bikers so keep a look out however they are not usually going fast.
The Settle Loop and Dales High Way overlap for sections of the walk. I have shortened it by taking the cut up past Victoria Cave.
From point 8 you can walk up onto the trig point at Warrendale Knotts for views over Settle and then take feint paths back to join the path just before Victoria Cave, these are not marked on OS maps but exist and can be seen on most open source mapping.
Global average : 4.33/5
Number of opinions : 1
Description quality : 3/5
Routemap quality : 5/5
Walk interest : 5/5
Global average : 4.33 / 5
Date of walk
Description quality : Average
Easiness to follow the route : Very good
Walk interest : Very good
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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.