Malham Cove: The stunning Yorkshire spot featured in Harry Potter, Wuthering Heights and The Trip
At the end of the last Ice Age, a torrent of meltwater higher than Niagara Falls thundered over the precipice, but today a mere stream gurgles out of a slit at its base.
The vertical white crags attract rock climbers and host nesting peregrines, house martins and jackdaws. Peregrines were found nesting there in 1993 after an absence of many decades, and a viewpoint mounted each spring and summer by the National Park and RSPB has attracted over 300,000 people.
The cove is a popular outdoor filming location, featuring in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and the 1992 screen adaptation of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, as well as an episode of the BBC2 sitcom The Trip starring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon.
Its potential as a setting for fiction was spotted as far back as the 1860s when the Church of England priest, author and social reformer Charles Kingsley wrote his famous children’s novel, The Water Babies.
In the book, one of the so-called “climbing boys” who were sent up chimneys to clean them and were the shame of Victorian Britain escapes from a mansion and descends the cove, leaving sooty smudges on the cliff, before falling into the stream at the bottom to become one of the a water babies of the title.
Within a year of its publication, the Chimney Sweepers Act of 1863 became law, forbidding the exploitation of children for that purpose.