Darnbrook Middlehouse and Malham Tarn trail run
An exhilarating trail run around the Malham Tarn Estate, along grassy tracks and open moorland, and through spectacular scenery
Malham Tarn Quarry car park (SD882672)
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.
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.
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.
Tennant Gill Farm
Tennant Gill Farm has been part of our renewable energy project. The farm now has photovoltaic panels (solar electricity systems which capture the sun's energy) on the barn roof and uses hydro-electricity from a small water turbine in the stream. It's no longer reliant on a diesel generator for its energy, so it's not only cheaper for the farmer, but also much better for the environment.
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 rental records in the 12th century.
We are working with some of our tenant farmers to develop different farming models. These include light and extensive grazing systems with traditional native hardy breeds of cattle that don’t need to be housed over winter. Keep an eye open for some of these hardy longhorn cattle in the fields around Darnbrook.
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.
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 Old Middle House.
Old Middle House
Old Middle House was a typical Dales farmhouse built in the late 16th century on the site of an earlier Norse settlement.
Continue running on the track past Middle House and descend to the field gate with a view of the current Middle House 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. Descend to the track at the Tarn edge.
This permanent source of fresh water has long formed the focus for human activity. Flint artefacts dating from the Mesolithic to the Bronze Age indicate that this area was an important seasonal hunting ground. The Tarn has been used as a fishery since medieval times, when the monks of Fountains Abbey stocked it with fish. It’s still used today for fishing, although there’s now a strict catch and release policy.
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 to the right of the buildings, 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.
The Orchid House
The Orchid House was a heated Victorian greenhouse, probably used to grow orchids and exotic plants. It has recently been renovated into a small exhibition area, and an education room for us to use with the groups that visit and work with us.
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.
Malham Tarn Quarry car park (SD882672)
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