Malham Tarn Ranger Run

Running trail

The glacial lake of Malham Tarn lies nestled in the quiet, remote hills high above Malham village. The Yorkshire Dales Estate runs a tree planting project on the moorland in this area, re-wilding some areas to increase biodiversity, help control soil and peat erosion and slow down water runoff. This outstanding fell run follows the Pennine Way north from Malham Tarn up across open moorland onto Fountains Fell, where you’ll be greeted by glorious views on a clear day. Leaving the Pennine Way it traverses an exciting ridge line back towards the Tarn before finishing alongside the National Nature Reserve to the north-west of the Tarn.

This route has been created in collaboration with expert trail runners and adventurers Jen and Sim Benson, as part of our Ranger Run Series.

A view you will see on this route.


Ranger Run Trail Map


Malham Tarn car park, grid ref: SD882672


Turn right out of the car park, then turn left onto a track. Go straight on and turn right at the post box.


Pass the cottages and then go through a gate on your left signposted Pennine Way. Follow it north along the edges of several fields and past some farm buildings until you reach the road.


Cross the road and follow the farm track towards Tennant Gill Farm. The path goes around to the left of the farm buildings and then north-west up hill on the Pennine Way to reach a tall cairn at the top of the ridge. This area was once mined for coal and there are some deep mine shafts – most are fenced off but please keep to the paths in this area.


As you approach the cairn, take the waymarked track to your left past an old fenced mineshaft and follow finger posts over a rise to reach a wall.


Turn left, continuing to follow the finger posts along the ridge, keeping the wall on your right and passing Fountains Fell Tarn on your left. Pass the summit of Fountains Fell and continue until you reach a wall coming up from your left.


Cross the wall at a stile and continue south along the ridge with the old wall and wire fence on your right. Cross the next wall using a stile and continue along the ridge to a third wall.


Don’t cross this wall; instead follow the waymarkers and turn left. Follow the wall downhill with the wall on your right. Towards the bottom of the hill bear slightly left to go through two gates, across a field and reach a bridleway crossing your path.


Turn right onto the bridleway and follow it through a gate to another gate leading out onto Knowe Fell. Don’t go through this but turn left following the waymarkers with the wall on your right until you reach the road.


When you reach the road, turn right to return to your starting point at the car park.


Malham Tarn car park, grid ref: SD882672

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Malham Tarn Ranger Run


Strenuous and hilly fell run, up the Pennine Way and across open fellside and moorland. Some gates and stiles. Can be muddy after wet weather.

Off road running trainers would be recommended, you may want to carry extra clothes appropriate to the weather.

If you are exercising alone we suggest you may like to let someone know what time you intend to return. There is very limited mobile phone signal in the area.

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 running 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 Ranger Run

Contact us

Malham Tarn Ranger Run

How to get here

Malham Tarn, Waterhouses, Settle, North Yorkshire, BD24 9PT
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 Ranger Run

Facilities and access

  • Nearest facilities are in Malham Tarn village 2 miles (3.5km), including: toilets, tea-rooms and pubs
  • Dogs are not permitted in the nature reserve, but are welcome elsewhere under close control; must be kept on leads at certain times of the year