Why Malham, the Yorkshire Dales’ limestone beauty spot, has a touch of magic about it

PIC: Bruce Rollinson
PIC: Bruce Rollinson

The ethereal beauty of the limestone pavement on the moors above Malham is accentuated by the setting sun of a bright winter’s day in this exquisite shot of some of Yorkshire’s most famous countryside.

A century ago this North Yorkshire community was a place of mills and mines, but today, alongside hill farming, it has tourism at its core, and, with views such as this, it’s no surprise.

Four natural wonders sit a stone’s throw from the village, which was referenced in the Domesday book, the oldest surviving public record, as ‘Malgun’.

To the north east is Gordale Scar, a spectacular deep limestone gorge with waterfalls. It has inspired artists, poets and writers including JMW Turner and William Wordsworth and featured in a television series about the natural history of the British Isles.

Janet’s Foss waterfall and pool lies a short journey away, nestled in woodland. Legend has it that ‘Janet’ refers to a fairy queen who supposedly lived in a little cave at the fall’s rear.

Elsewhere, to the north of the village is Malham Tarn, a glacial lake that was a magnet for herds of wild animals during the Stone Age.

Slightly further south sits Malham Cove, a huge curved cliff formation of limestone rock, said by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority to tower at 230 feet tall.

Back when the ground was permanently frozen, water melting from glaciers ran over the top of the cove, creating a thundering waterfall. In December 2015, Storm Desmond temporarily brought it back to life, for what was said to be the first time in hundreds of years.

At the foot of the cove, steps lead up to the limestone pavement, pictured here and viewed on television screens and in cinemas around the world thanks to the popular Harry Potter film series. In the Deathly Hallows Part One film, Harry and fellow lead character Hermione set up camp in a tent there.

Film set aside, in it’s beauty alone, it certainly looks to have a touch of magic about it.

Technical details: Nikon D4 35mm lens, 1/800 sec F8 ISO 400.