Darnbrook, Middlehouse and Malham Tarn Trail Run

Malham Tarn Quarry Carpark BD24 9PT (SD 882672)

Route details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
Early summer morning at Malham Tarn National Nature Reserve © Robin Sutton

Early summer morning at Malham Tarn National Nature Reserve

This traditional hill farm is now powered by very modern solar energy © National Trust/Martin Davies

This traditional hill farm is now powered by very modern solar energy

Traditional longhorn cattle have been reintroduced to graze the area © National Trust/Martin Davies

Traditional longhorn cattle have been reintroduced to graze the area

Our new learning centre before refurbishment © NT

Our new learning centre before refurbishment

Route overview

A splendid mix of rough grassland, fields and open moorland, taking in historic Dales Farmsteads.

Watch out for Longhorn cattle and, in the summer months, wildflower-rich hay meadows and the call of the curlew.

The route has a couple of good climbs on a mix of rocky paths and tracks, contrasting with high open moorland terrain.

After a surprise view of Malham Tarn, a rare example of a lake in limestone countryside, the run finishes on a route adjacent to the National Nature Reserve (NNR), passing Tarn House, The Orchid House and the walled garden.

Route details

See this step-by-step route marked on a map

Malham Tarn Trail Running Map
  • Directions
  • Route
  • Bus stop
  • Parking
  • Toilet
  • Viewpoint

Start: Malham Tarn Quarry car park SD882672

  1. Turn left out of the car park and run along the road a short distance to a gate set back on the left. Head through this gate and follow the faint grassy track looking out for a waymarker post and path leading off to the right. Continue on this path climbing up across rough grassland, keeping to the left of the limestone pavement feature. Cross the wall ahead on lower ground using the stile.

    Show/HideTarn views from higher ground

    As the trail rises on limestone grassland look off to the left for distant views of Malham Tarn. Watch your step on uneven ground.

    Early summer morning at Malham Tarn National Nature Reserve © Robin Sutton
  2. 20m past the wall, turn right at the waymarker post and run along this bridleway, passing through the gates at each of the drystone walls, before descending to the road.

  3. At the road corner head along the Pennine Way, following the farm track, past Tennant Gill Farm and up to the gate and stile on the moorland edge wall. Turn right through the gate onto a fellside path to the stone step stile. Continue across the moorland keeping the stone wall on the right and curving around to a timber gate in the wall. Passing through this gate continue along the wall line to the old shooting lodge.

    Show/HideHill Farm water & sun powered

    Tennant Gill Farm is a traditional Dales hill farm making use of electricity generated by water turbines and solar roof panels.

    This traditional hill farm is now powered by very modern solar energy © National Trust/Martin Davies
  4. On reaching the lodge turn to the right and head downhill on the track, passing the plantation, continue through a gate and down to the road. Turn left at the road and run downhill for 500m towards Darnbrook Farm. Darnbrook house first appeared in the Fountains Abbey rentals in the 12th Century.

    Show/HideLong Horn cattle at Darnbrook

    These are one of a number of traditional breeds of cattle to look out for in the Dales.

    Traditional longhorn cattle have been reintroduced to graze the area © National Trust/Martin Davies
  5. Just before the farm cross the stile on the right and head across the field, eventually passing to the right of a field barn and down to Cowside Beck.

  6. After crossing the bridge over the beck, the path climbs steeply, first along the remains of an old wall line, then bears to the right before an area of limestone pavement. Head through the gateway gap in the wall and continue along a well worn track up to a stone wall stile next to a gate. Continue across the rough grassland to a finger post and bear right to Middlehouse. Middlehouse was a typical Dales Farmhouse built in the late 16th Century on the site of an earlier Norse settlement.

  7. Continue running on the track past Middlehouse and descend to the field gate with a view of the current Middlehouse Farm. Through the gate run diagonally right down the hillside to a fence stile. Now continue on the Old Monks Road (track) to the brow of the hill for a surprise view of Malham Tarn. The Tarn lies in a natural hollow of boulder clay and impervious slate. Descend to the track at the Tarn edge.

  8. Turn right and, with easier running, follow the Pennine Way track through the woodland to Tarn House. Follow the track, around the house and past the Orchid House, then turn sharp right on a tarmac drive up to High Stables. Head right, pass through the field gate, then bear left passing the walled garden on your right. Cross a wall line and contour across open grassland, keeping parallel to the woodland. A small gate in the wall is eventually reached.

    Show/HideOrchid House Classroom

    Spot the difference from this old photo. The old derelict 'Orchid House' was reopened in 2012 as a classroom and meeting room with state of the art air source under floor heating.

    Our new learning centre before refurbishment © NT
  9. Pass through this gate and turn left onto the Pennine Way. At the next gate turn right onto the estate track and continue the run, bearing left at the track with a post box set in the wall. At the end of 'Pothole Lane' turn right on to the road for a short 100m run, finishing back at the carpark.

End: Malham Tarn Quarry car park SD 882672

Traditional longhorn cattle have been reintroduced to graze the area © National Trust/Martin Davies
  • Trail: Running
  • Grade: Moderate
  • Distance: 7.5 miles (12km)
  • Time: 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours
  • OS Map: Explorer OL02; Landranger 98
  • Terrain:

    Hilly (350m total ascent), across high open moorland, unmade tracks and rocky paths with a short stretch of road running. Some gates and stiles.

  • How to get here:

    By foot: Pennine Way route from Malham Village and merges at point 8 on the trail run

    By bike: Malham Tarn and village are on the Yorkshire Dales Cycle Way (Regional Route 10), see Sustrans website for turther information

    By bus: Pennine 210 / 843 from Skipton; Pennine 580 / 210 from Settle.

    By car: A65 / A59 Skipton 15 miles (24km); A65 Settle 6 miles (10km)

  • Facilities:

    Quarry car park at Malham Tarn (National Trust)

    Cafes, pubs, shops and accomodation in Malham.

    Toilets at the Orchid House (on route) and in Yorkshire Dales National Park (YDNP) car park in Malham

    Other trail maps (walking) and information available at Waterhouses Estate office or YDNP centre in Malham

  • Contact us