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Malham to Grassington

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  • Malham
    Photo: Iain Grant, Macs Adventure
m 300 200 100 12 10 8 6 4 2 km

From Malham the route follows Gordale Beck to the Scar, then up onto the higher pastures of the Dales. Crossing Threshfield Moor the route then descends down to the River Wharfe valley and up into the small pretty market town of Grassington.


Distance 13.1 km
4:00 h
377 m
366 m
399 m
169 m

Departing from Malham, the route follows Gordale Beck to Janet’s Foss waterfall and on to the magnificent Gordale Scar. Climbing out of the valley the route crosses upland farmland and Threshfield Moor before descending through the village of Threshfield itself. Crossing the River Wharfe it finishes in the delightful market town of Grassington.


Author’s recommendation

The iconic geographical features on this walk are Janet’s Foss waterfall and Gordale Scar. Take time to walk into the gorge at Gordale, you will not be disappointed. It is a small diversion from the prescribed route but well worth the time. For bird lovers, keep your eyes peeled for Dippers in Gordale Beck below Janet’s Foss.


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Iain Grant
Update: January 02, 2018
Highest point
399 m
Lowest point
169 m
Best time of year

Track types

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Safety information

The section of the route along the road near Gordale Scar can be busy, especially in the summer, so take care with traffic and farm vehicles. Some parts of the route are wet and muddy, particularly on the higher sections across Threshfield Moor.


Tips and hints

Malham is a small village and there are limited opportunities to stock up with supplies. There are two pubs, cafes and a Bistro and a couple of small shops selling snacks and souvenirs. There is also a Tourist Information Centre. There are no opportunities for refreshment on this route so carry what you require. 

Points of Interest.

Gordale Scar

Gordale Scar is a narrow limestone ravine, a mile northeast of Malham. It contains two waterfalls and towering cliffs over 100 metres high. Cut into the limestone plateau it is thought to have been formed by cavern collapse as a result of subterranean solution of the rock at the end of the last Ice Age.

Janet’s Foss

This is a pretty waterfall on the outskirts of Malham. The braided falls are overhung with trees and there is a cave nearby. The dissolved limestone in the water has precipitated a delicate tufa curtain over which Gordale Beck flows into a deep plunge pool below. Foss is the Nordic word for waterfal reflecting the historical Scandinavian influence in this part of Britainl.

Grassington Folk Museum.

This tells the story of life in upper Wharfedale from Medieval times to the Industrial Revolution. There are geological specimens of local minerals mined in the area as well as fossils and Iron Age remains.



Malham Village Hall and bridge. (193 m)
OS Grid
SD 90086 62839
54.061402, -2.152944
54°03'41.0"N 2°09'10.6"W
30U 555441 5990685
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Town Hall, Town Head, Grassington.

Turn-by-turn directions

0.00 km – With your back to the village hall and facing the bridge, TURN RIGHT along the tarmac road and past the pub. At the Smithy opposite, TURN LEFT over the small footbridge, then immediately TURN RIGHT and follow the path alongside the river.

0.50 km - At the wooden gate, TURN LEFT towards the barn on the path signposted to Janet’s Foss. Continue STRAIGHT ON along this prominent gravel and flag stoned path for approx 1.50 kms, with Gordale Beck on the right.

2.00 km – On reaching the waterfall BEAR LEFT up the path to the side. Arriving at the tarmac road, TURN RIGHT and continue STRAIGHT ON towards Gordale Scar. (This feature is well worth taking a diversion to see). Passing Gordale on the left, carry on uphill for approx 1 km.

3.40 km - Near the brow of the hill, TURN RIGHT onto the track signposted Public Bridleway to Weets Top. Continue STRAIGHT ON up the track.

3.60 km – At the bend, TURN LEFT over the stone steps and onto the path signposted to Park House. Continue STRAIGHT ON across several fields and stone stiles keeping the wall to your left.

4.50 km - Arriving at the farm, BEAR RIGHT through the gate marked with the yellow spot. Cross the yard and exit by another gate signposted to Know Bank. Continue STRAIGHT ON across the fields to a stone wall.

4.80 km – At the wall, cross over on the stone steps. Continue STRAIGHT ON the track, signposted Public Footpath for approx 1 km, through the fields and down to the farm.

5.90 km – At the farm TURN RIGHT, onto the tarmac road signposted to Threshfield. Continue STRAIGHT ON down the bank, over the bridge and up the other side to the road.

6.50 km – At the junction with the red phone box, continue STRAIGHT ON through the gate opposite and up the path with the stream to the left.

7.00 km – At the top of the bank, as the track bends right, continue STRAIGHT ON. Go through the metal gate and onto the grassy path. Cross the ford and follow the path all the way up the hill.

7.50 km – At the gate TURN RIGHT onto the track and through the next gate. TURN LEFT onto the muddy path signposted to Skirethorns Lane. Continue STRAIGHT ON for approx 1 km keeping the fence and wall to the left.

8.60 km = At the stone wall, cross the steps and continue STRAIGHT ON downhill following the yellow markers. Grassington is visible in the distance.

9.30 km – At the bottom of the hill go through the gate, TURN RIGHT onto the track and follow it down to the road. (Keep an eye out for the red Victorian Post Box at Skirethorns, somewhat of a rarity these days).

9.90 km – At the crossroads continue STRAIGHT ON along the tarmac road, signposted to Threshfield and Grassington. Use the pavement on the left hand side.

10.9 km – Arriving at the main road TURN RIGHT, and immediately cross the road by the bus stop. Continue STRAIGHT ON down the path signposted Bridleway, passing the barn on the right and buildings and sports fields further down on the left.

11.5 km - At the end of the track TURN RIGHT onto the tarmac road and follow it towards the school.

11.8 km – At the junction TURN LEFT onto Brooklyn Road and continue STRAIGHT ON down to the river and across the bridge. Carry on up Station Road and into Grassington.

12.7 km – At the top of the hill TURN LEFT onto Main Street and continue STRAIGHT ON to the top of the road.

13.0 km – Arriving at the Town Hall Clock, you have reached the end of your walk.







all notes on protected areas


OS Grid
SD 90086 62839
54.061402, -2.152944
54°03'41.0"N 2°09'10.6"W
30U 555441 5990685
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike


Sturdy boots or walking shoes are recommended as the terrain is rough and muddy in places. Walking poles may be an advantage on the muddy sections of the route, and crossing the ford, if preferred. The weather is changeable in the Dales so waterproofs should be carried especially as the moorland sections are fairly exposed. Maybe pack an extra pair of socks in case of wet feet.




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Sue Millward
August 18, 2021 · Community
Landscape amazing: Gordale Scar, Janets Foss waterfall and Moorland - a lot of Dales to cross but worth the effort
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Threshfield moor
Photo: Sue Millward, Community

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13.1 km
4:00 h
377 m
366 m
Highest point
399 m
Lowest point
169 m
Scenic Cultural/historical interest Geological highlights


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