Malham Tarn circular route for Trampers

Walking trail

Discover an area of outstanding moorland uplands, with flower-rich hay meadows in late summer, varied birdlife and awe-inspiring vistas at England's highest lime-rich lake, Malham Tarn, home to a unique community of rare plants and animals.

Malham Tarn Tramper


Map route for Malham Tarn circular route for trampers


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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The Orchid House at Malham Tarn


Pass Tarn House and continue on the track down through the woodland and to the shore of the Tarn.

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Tarn House at Malham Tarn


Follow the stone track around the shore and go through the gate.

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Malham Tarn in the Yorkshire Dales


Take the grassy path to your right, around the edge of the woodland, and continue along to the shore again. Please be aware that this section is over rough grassy ground - you will need to slow down and take extra care. An alternative route which is less rough is to carry on down the track to the road, turn right, go down the road until you reach Watersinks car park.

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Grebes on Malham Tarn in the Yorkshire Dales


Turn right onto the road and continue to the crossroads, then turn right. Continue on, then turn right at the T-junction, signposted to Arncliffe. While driving on the road, please be aware of other road users - take extra care and pull over to the side to allow other vehicles to pass you safely.


After about ¼ mile (400m), turn right through a gate and on to a stone track which takes you around the edge of the reserve.

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


At the end of the track, turn left and return to the estate office.


Malham Tarn office, grid ref: SD886674

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Malham Tarn circular route for Trampers


Circular route across fields and unmade tracks, with some road sections. 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.

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 circular route for Trampers

Contact us

Malham Tarn circular 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 circular 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