Janet’s Foss and Malham Cove.

What marvelous hot and sunny weather we are experiencing lately!  The perfect weather for a waterfall walk followed by a climb up an amphitheatre shaped cliff formation, made from limestone? Of course. 🙂 We set off early on Sunday morning and crossed over the border to the gorgeous Yorkshire Dales and headed for the pretty village of Malham. It was before 9am as we walked up through the village towards Gordale Scar and found the footpath sign for Janet’s Foss.  Janet’s Foss is the enchanting name of a waterfall that carries Gordale Beck into a plunge pool below. It’s a pretty enchanting spot as well.mallham 004

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Janet’s Foss is named after a Fairy Queen called Janet ( or Jennet)  who apparently lives in a cave behind the waterfall. Foss is a  Scandinavian name for Waterfall. It is a truly beautiful tranquil place, but we did not have it to ourselves for long. Soon Hugo was joined by a very vocal little staffie called Lill and they enjoyed   dashing about and jumping in and out of the water.  In days gone by the pool was a meeting place for the villagers at the annual ‘Sheep Dipping’ day. It certainly looks very inviting. ;).

We reluctantly left this local beauty spot and followed the path through the woods, where wild garlic bloomed in abundance and the busy songs of dippers and wrens guided us to the buttercup meadows beyond. No wonder Charles Kingsley took inspiration from the area for his children’s novel ‘The Water Babies’. I could almost imagine fairy folk fluttering amongst the trees.



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Before we left I noticed several of these ‘Book Nests’ in the branches. If we had walked to Janet’s Foss from the Smithy  in the village, we would have seen the sign below, explaining all, before entering the woods. The Bee Library is a collection of bee-themed books converted into nests for wild or solitary bees, installed in ash trees. What an intriguing idea…..

Once back in Malham it was still only mid morning. We decided to take advantage of the sunshine and enjoy a coffee , sat outside The Listers Arms. I was amused to find a pub bearing my family name. Yes I was christened a Lister. And yes I like making lists. 🙂

After our coffees we decided to walk to Malham Cove. By this time the area was getting busier and lots of other folk had the same idea. It was also getting quite hot. Luckily Gordale Beck was always on our right if any of us needed to take a dip! And we took plenty of water with us.

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The farmland on the way to the cove was rocky and covered in sunbathing cows. 🙂

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Malham Cove.
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One of the caves where peregrine falcons nest. 🙂

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Malham Cove is a curved limestone formation just North  of the village. It was formed by a waterfall carrying meltwater from glaciers at the end of the last Ice Age.  It’s wide rock face makes it popular with climbers. Luckily for those of us not inclined to hang around in mid air, there are jaggedy stone steps to struggle up instead. 😉  Something I did not know about Malham Cove, is that it is actually home to a pair of Peregrine Falcons and their two juvenile chicks. The RSPB are at the Cove every Saturday until 31st July, with their telescopes trained on the birds. We were very honored indeed to catch a glimpse of this majestic Falcon family.

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I’m not sure how many steps there are to the top of Malham Cove, but I think I heard some incredibly fast sprinting child count to 400. I could be wrong ,I was so busy hyperventilating my hearing may have been impaired!  But once at the top it is really worth it. There are far reaching views of the dale below and a fantastic limestone pavement running across the top.  Infact the limestone pavement appeared in the film ‘Harry potter and the Deathly Hallows (part one)’, as one of the places Harry and Hermione travelled to.

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Limestone pavement.

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The heat was pretty intense by this point so we headed back down to the bottom where Hugo especially was glad of a paddle in the stream. We then walked back to the village and enjoyed some lunch in one of the cafes there.

All in all we had  a fun morning in Malham. Have you ever been?



11 thoughts on “Janet’s Foss and Malham Cove.”

  1. Yes, I’ve been! It’s great to see somewhere I’ve actually visited here rather than yet another place I’d like to visit, hehe.

    We’ve been to Malham and few times and walked it both up and down the steps. The best walk we did though was when we walked to Janet’s Foss, then on and scrambled up Gordale Scar, over the fields to Malham Tarn and then to the top of the cove before heading down and back to the village. That was a great walk! I’ve just looked it up and can’t believe it was 5 years ago!

  2. I don’t know why this post never came on my reader feed 😦 Lovely post once again.

    David and I have been to Malham but we never went up the steps. Maybe a place to return to. Janet’s Foss looks definitely inviting for a swim! I bet Hugo loved his time with Lill!

    I love those bee books, such an unusual concept! 🙂

    1. It didn’t! I think i am having some problems with either my pc or wordpress in that respect.Not sure what is happening.:( Aaah well.We may go camping there at some point.I would love to return and look round Malham Tarn.x

  3. I’m going to sound like a total wuss now, but I’m a bit scared of that limestone pavement on the top. 😦 It’s a fabulous location, isn’t it? Many years since I was there so maybe I’m a bit more intrepid these days, but I hated all those big cracks. I have a terrible sense of balance and was horrified I was going to get stuck.

      1. I was back there in August and it was raining so I gave it a miss 🙂 Janet’s Foss was still lovely though. You’ve reminded me I haven’t had chance to write it up 🙂 🙂 Happy weekend!

  4. Glad you had a lovely time at Mallam, I lived neer by at Langcliffe , and have spent some hours in and around Mallam over the years.
    Amanda xx

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