Discover England's highest lime-rich lake, home to a unique community of rare plants and animals. It is an area of outstanding moorland uplands, with flower-rich hay meadows, varied birdlife and awe-inspiring vistas.
- Bus stop
Start: Malham Tarn Office
Turn left from the estate office and follow the track through the woodland, catching glimpses of Malham Tarn as you go. Pause at the Orchid House next to Tarn House and have a look around our exhibition about the nature reserve.
The Orchid House was a heated Victorian greenhouse, probably used to grow Orchids and exotic plants. It has been recently renovated into a small exhibition area, and an education room for us to use with the groups that visit and work with us.
Pass Tarn House and continue on the track down through the woodland and to the shore of the Tarn.
Tarn House is leased to the Field Studies Council but was once owned by Walter Morrison. Walter was a generous benefactor to local communities and had many influential guests to stay here, such as Charles Darwin, John Ruskin and Charles Kingsley.
Follow the stone track around the shore and go through the gate.
Malham Tarn lies in a natural hollow formed in the boulder clay, overlying a bed of impervious Silurian slate. Surprisingly, the water from the Tarn does not reappear at the base of Malham Cove, but just over two miles downstream at Airehead
Take the grassy path to your right, around the edge of the woodland, and continue along to the shore again. Please be aware that this section is over rough grassy ground - you will need to slow down and take extra care.
Turn right onto the road and continue to the crossroads, then turn right. Continue on, then turn right at the T-junction, signposted to Arncliffe. While driving on the road, please be aware of other road users - take extra care and pull over to the side to allow other vehicles to pass you safely.
After about a quarter of a mile, turn right through a gate and on to a stone track which takes you around the edge of the reserve.
At the end of the track, turn left and return to the estate office.
End: Malham Tarn Office
In partnership with
- Trail: Walking
- Grade: Easy
- Distance: 4.5 miles / 7 km
- Time: 2 hours
Circular route across fields and unmade tracks, with some road sections. The terrain is reasonably flat, but can be muddy after wet weather. Dogs welcome under close control; must be kept on leads at certain times of the year. Please note that this route has been tested and is suitable for trampers; it may not be suitable for other types of mobility scooters. Due to the remote nature of the area, and the uneven terrain, we would always advise you to be accompanied when using this route.
- How to get here:
By bus: from Skipton: 210/211 & 883/884 (passing close Skipton , w/e, to Malham village only); from Settle: 580/210 (to Malham village only). Also, National Trust shuttle bus service, Settle-Malham Tarn, Easter-Oct, Sundays and bank holdays only
By foot: 6ml of the Pennine Way runs through the estate
By train: Settle station 7miles away & Skipton station 19miles away
By bike: The Yorkshire Dales Cycleway runs through Malham village and by Malham Tarn
By car: close to the A65 & Settle; 4ml NW of Malham. Follow signs from Malham
Parking: Free parking at Malham Tarn office BD24 9PT
Toilets: Toilet (not wheelchair accessible) at Orchid House, behind Tarn House. Accessible toilets with RADAR facilities available at Yorkshire Dales National Park car park in Malham Village
Cafe, pub, accommodation: all available in Malham village
Visitor Centre: at National Park centre in Malham village (not National Trust)
- Contact us