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Once upon a time in Skipton, United Kingdom

Malham Cove

Legend - told by Philip Dainton

Once upon a time when the Norse god Odin was riding around on his horse Sleipnir, this giant beast’s hooves caught on the rocks, creating the horseshoe-shaped cove. Today, this is a dramatic, natural amphitheatre that draws in thousands of tourists every year, further popularised by the filming of part of one of the Harry Potter films.

The formation was created by a waterfall carrying meltwater from glaciers at the end of the last Ice Age more than 12,000 years ago. Some legends say it was England’s highest waterfall. The curved cliff formation of limestone rock is about 260 feet high and below it is Malham Beck, that runs into the quaint little village, Malham.


The top of the cove is a grand sight of deeply eroded limestone pavement, an unusual pattern rarely seen in England. The clints and grykes create a unique wildlife habitat or micro-climate for rare wild flowers and ferns such as Wall Rue, Wood Sorrel, and Herb Robert.

From here you can look out over the Village of Malham and the surrounding greenery.

If you are lucky you might even spot a Peregrine Falcon, or perhaps an Adder basking on the rocks.

The surrounding area is estimated to have been populated for 10,000 years, so as you look out over the land it is impossible not to picture how many people have done the same before you, or wonder about the history. 

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