Learning opportunities at Malham Tarn

Visitors looking to see what they have caught in their nets

Remember those days of whiling away the hours building dens, turning stones to see what lurked beneath and fishing for tadpoles? When a sign of a good day was, the muddier the better? We use this as inspiration to deliver education activities, creating fun-filled and memorable learning experiences for all.

What we do

There are lots of opportunities for learning and having fun. We are open throughout the year and work with pre-schools, primary/secondary schools and community groups.


The activities on offer suit a range of ages and abilities from early years to KS4 linking to a wide variety of topics such as habitat studies and food chains, local geography, food and farming, navigation and team building.

An example itinerary for a habitat study:

10:15 - Arrive
10:30 - Activity 1 e.g. pond dipping (life cycles, adaptation, food chains)
12:00 - Handwashing and lunch
12:45 - Activity 2 e.g. owl pellet dissection (food chains)
14.15 - Handwashing, toilets and collect bags
14:30 - Depart

" Excellent! A great day had by all on the Malham Tarn National Nature Reserve. Fun and educational activities with very knowledgeable Rangers."
- Local Primary School Teacher

Community groups

We are keen for everyone to discover and enjoy this special area. If you are a local community group looking for somewhere to visit then please get in touch or alternatively we could visit you and do a talk.

Primary school activities on offer

Science through nature - Explore the National Nature Reserve and become a nature detective hunting for the inhabitants of Malham Tarn. From bug hunting and pond dipping to dissecting owl pellets, learn to identify creatures as well as life cycles, adaptation and food chains.

Taking a closer look with a bug viewer
Taking a closer look with a bug viewer
Taking a closer look with a bug viewer

Navigation - An introduction to map reading skills, Ordnance Survey symbols and compass points or a digital treasure hunt using a GPS device to navigate around Malham Tarn.

Bush craft - Venture into the woodlands on an adventure with our Rangers to explore this hidden environment. Work as a team to build a den from branches, twigs and leaves, learn how to build a fire and have a go at cooking or create wild art using natural objects. Each bush craft session is bespoke to meet individual group requirements.

Children building a den in the woods
Den building in the woods
Children building a den in the woods

The John Muir Award - Discover, explore, conserve and share experiences of the great outdoors. The John Muir Trust has devised an environmental awards scheme that encourages people to connect with, enjoy and care for wild places - places like Malham Tarn. We can deliver this award scheme on behalf of the John Muir Trust. To find out more about the award visit: www.johnmuirtrust.org/john-muir-award

Limestone landscapes - The Yorkshire Dales is often referred to as limestone country. With classic natural features such as limestone pavements with their jigsaw of clints and grykes, the magnificent Malham Cove and magical Janet’s Foss waterfall it is easy to see why. Groups can go on a guided walk to discover these fascinating features and learn how they were formed or maybe become a fossil hunter and explore the geological past of the Yorkshire Dales in this way.

The magnificent limestone cliff face, Malham Cove.
Malham Cove
The magnificent limestone cliff face, Malham Cove.

Secondary schools

From river studies, farm visits and glacial landscapes to conservation, ecosystems and climate change, there are a number of topics we can cover. If you’d like to know more please contact us.

Facilities, transport and access

If anyone in the group has mobility problems, please let us know and we will do our best to cater for them. There are accessible routes we can follow and a disabled toilet in the Orchid House.


What weird and wonderful creatures will you find?
What weird and wonderful creatures will you find?
What weird and wonderful creatures will you find?


Funding from our Countryside Stewardship Agreement at Malham Tarn allows us to provide 25 visits free of charge to schools and other educational establishments for children from birth to the end of Key Stage 4 (age 16) and care farming parties or individuals. This agreement helps us to restore and protect the precious habitats and wildlife of the Malham Tarn Estate. We are limited to 25 so please book early to avoid disappointment.

If you do not qualify for a free visit charges will apply.


Please contact Heather Burrow (Senior Visitor Experience Officer).

Email: heather.burrow@nationaltrust.org.uk