Grizedales

Grizedales

Grizedales is the highest, but probably the least well known, of three hills in close proximity that top the 500m contour between Malham and Settle.

Height (m): 553
Height (ft): 1814
Prominence (m): 126
Classification: Dewey, HuMP
Hill No: 3616
Grid Ref: SD868643
OS Map OL2
No. of Visits 3

Grizedales is a curiously named fell as it is a hill top not a valley. ‘Grise’ or ‘grize’ in the title usually has it derivation from the Norse word for ‘pig’. I wonder if the plural ‘dales’ on the end refers to the numerous little valleys in the limestone uplands to the west of Grizedales’s summit and which come to a sudden end at Langcliffe Scar.

Grizedales from Rye Loaf Hill
Grizedales from Rye Loaf Hill

It is interesting to note that when traced on the map the extent of Grizedales includes not only Langcliffe Scar but arguably also Malham Cove itself. While Langcliffe Scar and Malham Cove are both examples of limestone scenery at its best things are much more modest higher up the fell. In fact the summit area is largely grass though there is a distinctive though fairly small limestone edge running just to the west of the summit.

The small limestone edge immediately to the west of the summit
The small limestone edge immediately to the west of the summit

Although little known and rarely visited the top of Grizedales is remarkably easy to access. In fact it stands just a 5-10 minute walk to the north of the top of the Malham – Settle bridleway which at this point is also part of the Pennine Bridleway and the Dales High Way.

Looking along the limestone 'edge' on Grizedales
Looking along the limestone ‘edge’ on Grizedales

The walk to the summit from the bridleway is on grass throughout, it is pathless but very easy. The summit itself is unmarked but is an obvious grassy rise. The panorama from the top is excellent, especially the northern arc that takes in the Yorkshire Three Peaks, Fountains Fell and Malham Tarn. Further round to the east Buckden Pike and Great Whernside can be well seen as well.

The unmarked summit of Grizedale looking north to the Yorkshire Three Peaks
The unmarked summit of Grizedale looking north to the Yorkshire Three Peaks

While Grizedales is well seen from its two near neighbours, Kirkby Fell and Rye Loaf Hill, it does not particularly stand out in longer distance views. The lower Rye Loaf Hill tends to be easier to identify due to its distinctively shaped summit. Grizedales tends to appear as a long curving hill, an aspect that it takes on when viewed from the northern end of Malham Tarn.

Grizedales from above the north shore of Malham Tarn
Grizedales from above the north shore of Malham Tarn

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