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Malham Tarn seen from the hillside near the entrance to the Field Studies Centre

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Route No. 798 - Monday 30 December 2019
Malham Tarn, Pennine Way,
Middle House Farm, Great Close Scar,
6km circuit - Malham . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: OS Explorer OL2 Yorkshire Dales Southern & Western Areas


Just three cars including ours at Malham Tarn car park at the start of our walk
Just three cars including ours at Malham Tarn car park at the start of our walk

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Leaving the car park along the Pennine Way route
Leaving the car park along the Pennine Way route

There were only two or three other cars in the car park as we drove in. Everywhere was bathed in the orange glow of the low winter sun. What a lovely start to our walk. From the car park we followed the route of the Pennine Way northwards to Malham Tarn where the outlet stream leaves the tarn. There was a lovely view across the tarn to the Field Studies Centre at Malham Tarn House on the northern side of the tarn.

The weather forecast for today was just right for a walk with plenty of sunshine, clear skies and a light wind. My friend Jim and I drove out to Malham Tarn and parked in the car park at map ref. SD 894 658, close to the point where the Pennine Way crosses the road on its way up from Malham Cove to Malham Tarn. We arrived there early, well about 9.00am to enjoy the best of the weather.

Approaching the outlet from Malham Tarn
Approaching the outlet from Malham Tarn

Looking northwards across Malham Tarn from the Pennine Way path
Looking northwards across Malham Tarn from the Pennine Way path

Following the Pennine Way path to Lings Plantation
Following the Pennine Way path to Lings Plantation

We continued, still on the Pennine Way route, along the access road. We had a lovely view across Malham Tarn to our left and a view of the limestone cliffs of Great Close Scar on our right.

We continued along the Pennine Way route around Lings Plantation and joined the access road that goes around the tarn to the Field Studies Centre. We passed through a gate across the access road.

Passing Lings Plantation with Great Close Hill ahead
Passing Lings Plantation with Great Close Hill ahead

The access road to the Field Studies Centre with the limestone scars on Great Close Hill ahead
The access road to the Field Studies Centre with the limestone scars on Great Close Hill ahead

Following the access road towards the Field Studies Centre
Following the access road towards the Field Studies Centre

At the edge of the woodland ahead we turned right
At the edge of the woodland ahead we turned right

Following the green track up the hillside
Following the green track up the hillside

The path followed a green track straight up the hill. We continued along the green track over the top of the hill and down the other side of the hill towards Middle House Farm. To our right there was a line of telegraph poles.

We followed the access road to the gateway into the woodland around the Field Studies Centre and here we turned right away from the Pennine Way route and the access road to climb a public footpath up the grassy hillside.

Continuing along the access road towards the Field Studies Centre
Continuing along the access road towards the Field Studies Centre

Looking back down the green track up the hillside
Looking back down the green track up the hillside

Nearing the top of the climb up the hillside
Nearing the top of the climb up the hillside

Dropping down from the hill top towards Middle House Farm
Dropping down from the hill top towards Middle House Farm

Following the green track down to the bottom of the field
Following the green track down to the bottom of the field

Continuing along the green track towards Middle House Farm
Continuing along the green track towards Middle House Farm

We continued across the next field for about 250m to another stile on our right. We crossed this stile that led us to a public bridleway along the stony farm access road heading southwards.

We followed the track down to the bottom of the field where there was a wooden stile which we crossed and rejoined the green track towards the Middle House Farm.

Stile at the bottm edge of the field
Stile at the bottom edge of the field

Stile to the access road from Middle Hose Farm
Stile to the access road from Middle Hose Farm

Following the access road southwards from Middle House Farm
Following the access road southwards from Middle House Farm

Heading for Great Close Plantation along the farm access road
Heading for Great Close Plantation along the farm access road

Here we turned right off the access road to follow a track around the northern corner of the plantation. There is no specific public right of way along this track but it is open access land here so it is perfectly legal to walk along this track.

We walked southwards along the farm access road for about 1.3km to a bend in the access road near the northeast corner of Great Close Plantation.

Turning right off the farm access road towards the plantation
Turning right off the farm access road towards the plantation

Passing the northern corner of Great Close Plantation
Passing the northern corner of Great Close Plantation

Walking along the track round the base of Great Close Hill
Walking along the track round the base of Great Close Hill

Continuing along the track round the base of Great Close Hill
Continuing along the track round the base of Great Close Hill

Here we rejoined the access road to the Field Studies Centre. Here we had joined our outward route and we retraced our steps along the Pennine Way route.

The track led us around the base of Great Close Hill with the limestone cliffs of Great Close Scar above us. We continued along the track until we reached the shore of Malham Tarn.

Continuing along the track round the base of Great Close Hill
Continuing along the track round the base of Great Close Hill

Nearing Malham Tarn on the track from Great Close Hill
Nearing Malham Tarn on the track from Great Close Hill

Looking back to the limestone scars on Great Close Hill
Looking back to the limestone scars on Great Close Hill

Heading back along the access road from the Field Studies Centre
Heading back along the access road from the Field Studies Centre

Pennine Way path to Lings Planration
Pennine Way path to Lings Plantation

We had had the best of the sunshine and the sky was now clouding over. The whole route had been 6km and it had taken us about two and a half hours to walk it. We decided to drive home by a different route and drove across the moor to Arncliffe in Littondale and then along Wharfedale on our way home.

We passed back through the gate across the access road and followed the path around Lings Plantation back to the outlet from Malham Tarn. From the tarn outlet we continued southwards back to the car park and the end of our walk. The empty car park we had left was now full with people still arriving.

Through the gate we turned right along the Pennine Way path
Through the gate we turned right along the Pennine Way path

Nearing the outlet from Malham Tarn along the Pennine Way
Nearing the outlet from Malham Tarn along the Pennine Way

Back at the car park, now full and more cars arriving all the time
Back at the car park, now full and more cars arriving all the time

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