Yorkshire Dales walk - Malham Tarn to Arncliffe

PUBLISHED: 00:00 20 May 2020

Malham Tarn (c) Leadinglights/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Malham Tarn (c) Leadinglights/Getty Images/iStockphoto


In a post coronavirus-era, we’ll all want to soak up some of our county’s finest landscapes. Get planning for that glorious day with this lengthy amble in the Dales.

Arncliffe in the Yorkshire Dales (c) Tim Lamper/Getty Images/iStockphotoArncliffe in the Yorkshire Dales (c) Tim Lamper/Getty Images/iStockphoto

This lengthy Yorkshire Dales walk gives more than stunning views. With this wonderful wander – because won’t we all be glad of one once we are able to move more freely – you’ll also get a glimpse into the limestone uplands to the north of Malham, the picturesque village of Arncliffe and there will also be plenty of exercise. Despite the length – this walk is just over 12 miles – there aren’t any tricky or hard-going sections. An added bonus is an interesting pub in Arncliffe – the perfect pitstop. There is very little shelter en-route, though, so it’s best to avoid this walk on days when there is heavy rain or high winds.

The start is Street Gate – you’ll find this at grid reference SD904656 – where there is adequate parking on the grass. Head west back along the road and take the first track on your right. This leads you to the shores of Malham Tarn. After following the shore for a short way take the signed path on your right – at grid reference 897671 – that leads you over a grassy col and down towards Middle House Farm. This is the Monk’s Path that will be followed all the way to Arncliffe. The path descends towards the farm with a finger post and stile in the fence by the farm access road. Do not cross the stile but follow the track/bridleway north to Middle House, an uninhabited farm that was restored by the National Trust.

Just beyond Middle House, ignore the path to Darnbrook, instead following a generally clear path through pleasant limestone outcrops to reach the top of Yew Cogar Scar with Cowside Beck far below. Beyond are the slopes of Darnbrook Fell and Fountains Fell. The path stays high above the valley for some way before dropping steeply down into Littondale and the village of Arncliffe leading you quite conveniently past the front door of The Falcon Inn – the famous Dales pub that was the original Woolpack in long-running series Emmerdale.

Continue through the centre of the village and turn left down the road to Litton. Just before the church take the footpath on your right. This leads across meadows beside the River Skirfare. Stay on this path until you reach a modern footbridge across the river – at grid reference 952706. Do not cross the footbridge but exit right on to a narrow tarmac lane and head back towards Arncliffe! Reaching a busier road, turn right still heading back towards Arncliffe. Follow this for a short way before turning left up the access road to Arncliffe Cote.

Stay on the track through a zigzag to climb easily up the valley with Cote Gill on your left. You will make excellent progress on the grassy track soon reaching the point where Cote Gill drops through a series of waterfalls – grid reference 934694. Continuing gently uphill you soon reach High Lineseed Head from where the track leads downhill, apart from a final short easy climb, towards Street Gate and the end of the route. 


Start/finish: OS grid reference SD904656/ BD24 9PU (approx. location only)

Distance: 12.5 miles/20.3 km

Ascent: 1650ft/500m

Terrain: Moderate

Time: 7 hours 50 minutes

Parking: At Street Gate, grid reference SD904656

Refreshment: The Falcon Inn, Arncliffe, a great community pub with fantastic ales and a chance to experience a bit of television history

Map: Ordnance Survey Explorer OL2

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