Looking Out From The Limestone Paving Above Malham Cove

Fields, trees and a footpath leading to a village viewed from a cliff
View from the limestone pavement over Malham Cove in the Yorkshire Dales

I enjoy walking, especially through a garden or in the countryside, but words (as so often) matter: you’ll find me less keen to set out if the journey might best be described as a climb or hike. So it took my sister (for whom hills are little more than hiccups) several seasons to get my sweetheart and me to accompany her to this point, where we could look out over the edge of a broad expanse of limestone pavement above Malham Cove in Yorkshire. Thanks little sis – it was fun and you know I’d never have done it without you!

You might recognise the pavement from scenes in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows if you’re a fan. I was fascinated by the pavement itself: its deep cracks and the odd bits of ferns and wild flowers that somehow have a foothold on life within it. 

View of moorland with a tree snag in the foreground
Tree snag on the hillside near Malham Cove

If the first view gives you a slightly giddy feeling, you might prefer to look from this more gentle slope, taken on the way down towards the village and my belated ice-cream reward. I ought to confess that my sweetheart tells me that there is ice-cream van at the top of any mountain he wants me to climb and I typically believe him, having once happened upon one on a seemingly remote hillside. If your friends and family try to tell you the same, do not believe them without photographic evidence – there usually isn’t.

31 Replies to “Looking Out From The Limestone Paving Above Malham Cove”

    1. You only get a hint of the limestone pavement here but it’s fascinating to be able to walk over it. I imagine in wet, windy weather I’d have been less willing to approach the edge!

  1. I stayed with that upper image a long time. Both are lovely, but that first one has a mystery about it — perhaps it is that “inviting path” Debbie comments on. It is a wonderful photo. Both are very helpful, though: sometime this past year, someone someplace (nothing wrong with my memory) mentioned W.H. Auden, and I had to look up his poetry, and that led me to “In Praise of Limestone.” I couldn’t picture a setting, and now I can. Thank you!

  2. I love Malham Cove. My best friend from school lives very near and so we try to hop across when we can. Your photo is beautiful, and does it justice.

    1. We typically see places as a snapshot in time – our time – but the craggy limestone pavement gives a feeling of continuity. You don’t just visualise the past, wondering how the rock came to be fractured and shaped, but you seem to see the future in the places that will erode and fall.

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