A circular walk from Airton to Malham Cove
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.
Details of these features and the unique geology of the area can be found at malhamdale.
The walk returns to Airton from Malham along the western bank of the Aire
Two lovely pubs are to be found in Malham:
The Lister Arms is a 17th century coaching inn offering a wide selection of ales;
The Buck Inn is another beautiful English country pub.
Food is served in both hostelries from 12.00 to 14.00 and in the evening 19.00-21.00.
On the way back to Airton a diversion to the Victoria Inn in Kirby Malham might be made.
8.23 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. (time = 30 min.)
At 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. (time= 30 min).
After 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.
(time= 90 min).
At 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. (time=30 min).
On 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. (time= 30 min)
On 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. (time=30 min).