walk from Airton to Malham Cove
Distance: 8.97 miles; walking time required about 4 hours
The walk starts in Airton
east of the bridge which crosses the River Aire by the former
mill complex. This part of the walk to Malham follows the
Pennine Way, is well signposted and should afford no difficulty.
This first part of the walk goes through wooded pasture with
the sound of running water not too far away. The approach
to Hanlith Hall is particularly beautiful. (30 min)
Hanlith Bridge turn right up the road through the hamlet of
Hanlith. The path starts again through the gate to the right
of the last cottage. The first view of Malham Cove is seen
shortly after. The path then begins a gentle descent into
Malham. (30 min)
the Buck Inn, turn right at the shop and look for the FP sign
on the left just after the Lister Arms. The path now enters
the National Trust Malham Cove Fields and leads through the
walled field system to the Cove.
After the Cove the walk continues on the left-hand side. A
steep climb up 500+ steps leads eventually onto the limestone
pavement. Walk across the pavement and look for the gap in
the wall and continue straight ahead. The grassy path then
keeps to the left of a stone wall and follows a gentle descent
to the road. Beautiful view over Malham are seen to the right.
Cross the road and continue along the path. Turn right at
the signpost to Gordale.
Gordale Bridge turn right along the road for 100 yd and then
left into the entrance to Janet's Foss. The path descends
through the beautiful wooded Gordale Beck ravine and continues
through wild flower meadows to the Aire. (30 min)
reaching the Aire turn right towards Malham and cross the
river at the ford. The path restarts at the stile into the
first field and continues over a series of meadows to channeled
water that leads to Scalegill Mill. The path now follows the
Aire to Hanlith. (30 min)
reaching Hanlith Bridge a diversion to the Victoria Inn in
Kirby Malham might be possible. Otherwise cross the bridge
and retrace the path back to Airton. (30 min)
This walk combines a number of contrasting features. Firstly
there is a tranquil riverside stroll along the upper reaches
of the River Aire to the village of Malham, and then on to
view the dramatic limestone landscape of Malham Cove. Secondly
there is a very steep climb to the limestone pavement above
the Cove. And thirdly the descent to Gordale Bridge followed
by a beautiful walk alongside the wooded Gordale Beck where
the magical Janet's Foss is encountered.
The walk returns to Airton from Malham along the western bank
of the Aire
Two lovely pubs are to be found in Malham:
Lister Arms is a 17th century coaching inn offering a
wide selection of ales;
Buck Inn is another beautiful English country pub.
On the way back to Airton a diversion to the Victoria Inn
in Kirby Malham might be made.