Malham Tarn and Great Close route for Trampers

Walking trail

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

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

Visitor using all-terrain ‘tramper’ wheelchairs at Malham Tarn


Map route for Malham Tarn and Great Close route for trampers walk


Malham Tarn office, grid ref: SD886674


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.

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Cave Spider sculpture at the Orchid House, Malham Tarn Estate


Pass Tarn House and continue on the track down through the woodland and to the shore of the Tarn. Follow the stone track around the shore and go through the gate. Continue on the stone track, slowing down and taking extra care as you go over the speed bumps.

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Lady Slipper Orchid, Malham Tarn Estate, Yorkshire Dales


On reaching the road, turn left and head towards the gate in front of you. Turn left just before you get to the gate and follow the stone track towards Middle House Farm.


Pass over the cattle grid and through the gate. Do not take the short cut across the grass, but continue on and turn left after approximately 110yd (100m) and follow the grassy track which goes behind the woodland.


Continue on this track and enjoy the majestic views of Malham Tarn as it appears in front of you. This is a particularly rough and uneven section of track, which can be particularly wet after heavy rain; please go slowly, picking your best route, and take extra care over the uneven sections.

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Malham Tarn in the Yorkshire Dales


Rejoin the stone track and retrace your path around the shores of the Tarn, through the woodland and back to your starting point.

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Roe deer live in the woodland and around Malham Tarn national nature reserve


Malham Tarn office, grid ref: SD886674

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Malham Tarn and Great Close route for Trampers


Circular route across fields and unmade tracks. The terrain is reasonably flat, with some more challenging, rough and rugged sections beneath Great Close Scar and can be muddy in places 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.

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.

Malham Tarn and Great Close route for Trampers

Contact us

Malham Tarn and Great Close route for Trampers

How to get here

Malham Tarn office, 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 and Great Close route for Trampers

Facilities and access

  • Free parking at Malham Tarn office, BD24 9PT
  • Toilet (not wheelchair accessible) at Orchid House, behind Tarn House
  • Café, pub and accommodation available in Malham village
  • Visitor centre at National Park centre in Malham village (not National Trust)
  • Accessible toilets with RADAR facilities available at Yorkshire Dales National Park car park in Malham Village
  • Dogs welcome under close control; must be kept on leads at certain times of the year