Malham Tarn upland farm circular walk

Walking trail

Discover England's highest lime-rich lake, home to a unique community of rare plants and animals.

A nature reserve home to a unique community of floral and fauna

Malham Tarn is an area of outstanding moorland uplands, with lower-rich hay meadows, varied birdlife and awe-inspiring vistas.

Walking around the farmland of Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales


Map route for Malham Tarn upland farm circular walk


Watersinks car park, grid ref: SD895658


Join the Pennine Way and head northwards along the grassy path towards Malham Tarn. The Pennine Way continues to the overflow of Malham Tarn before joining the track to Tarn House. Continue along the track with Great Close Scar on your right.

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Walkers enjoying the landscape around Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales National Park, North Yorkshire.


Walk along the shore of the Tarn and pass through a gate at the entrance to the woods and continue to Tarn House. As you pass Tarn House, stop off at the Orchid House and have a look around our brand new exhibition area. From here continue on through the woods.

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The Orchid House at Malham Tarn


Walk along the track, passing the bird hide on your left. At Sandhill's Cottage, on your left, take the track that leads to the National Nature Reserve and follow the boardwalk through the reserve. Where it joins an unmade track at the other end, turn left to the road.

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When you reach the road, turn left and walk along the road, taking the left fork after 327yd (300m). Continue along the road to the next crossroads. Go over the stile diagonally in front of you to your left and cross the field, heading towards the smelt mill chimney.

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At the chimney, enjoy the views before walking away from the Tarn, heading uphill towards the corner of the field, above the barn. At the corner, follow the wall on your left to the wall in front of you (leading uphill). Go over the stile and continue eastwards until the land begins to descend. You will see a track at the foot of the hill leading to a gate in the wall to your left.


Go through the gate and follow the track across Dean Moor, in a north-easterly direction until you reach the road and car park at Water Sinks.


Watersinks car park, grid ref: SD895658

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Malham Tarn upland farm circular walk


Circular walk across fields and unmade tracks, with a short stretch of road walking. The terrain is reasonably flat, but can be muddy after wet weather.

Dogs are welcome on leads, however they are not allowed on the boardwalk of the National Nature Reserve. Watch out for local notices as there may be restrictions in woodland or farmland at sensitive times of year, during the lambing season, or between March and the end of July when ground-nesting birds are on eggs or raising their young.

Please be vigilant when walking near livestock, especially those with young. Try not to get too close and keep your dog on a lead under close control. If approached by cows, move away as carefully and quietly as possible, and if necessary let go of your dog's lead and let it run free, the dog will outrun the cows.

Malham Tarn upland farm circular walk

Contact us

Malham Tarn upland farm circular walk

How to get here

Watersinks car park, Malham Tarn, Settle, North Yorkshire, BD24
By train

Settle station 7 miles (11.3km) away and Skipton station 19 miles (30.6km) away.

By road

Close to the A65 and Settle; 4 miles (6.4km) north-west of Malham. Follow signs from Malham.

By foot

6 miles (9.6km) of the Pennine Way runs through the estate.

By bus

From Skipton: 210/211 and 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 (890), Settle-Malham Tarn, Easter-Oct, w/e only.

By bicycle

The Yorkshire Dales Cycleway runs through Malham village and by Malham Tarn.

Malham Tarn upland farm circular walk

Facilities and access

  • Nearest facilities are in Malham Tarn village 2 miles (3.5km), including toilets, tea-rooms and pubs
  • Dogs are welcome on leads, with the exception of the boardwalk of the Nature Reserve