Parson's Pulpit

Parson’s Pulpit

Parson’s Pulpit is the highest of several tops over the 520m contour on the extensive limestone uplands between Malham Tarn and Littondale.

Height (m): 538
Height (ft): 1765
Prominence (m): 130
Classification: Dewey, HuMP
Hill No: 3622
Grid Ref: SD918687
OS Map OL2
No. of Visits 2

As the highest part of a large upland area Parson’s Pulpit can be regarded as the name of the summit itself rather than the surrounding area. Unlike the rocky outcrop in the Lune Valley called Fox’s Pulpit, I’ve not come across a reason behind the name. Maybe there was once a parson or priest who preached from this spot.

Parson's Pulpit from Great Close Hill
Parson’s Pulpit from Great Close Hill

Parson’s Pulpit lies in close proximity to the likes of Clapham High Mark (527m), Height (525m) and the unnamed 525m immediately to the east. None of these tops have enough prominence to be regarded as summits in their own right. They do however mean that Parson’s Pulpit fails to exert itself sufficiently to stand out from the crowd. One aspect in which Parson’s Pulpit does exert itself is from the north when viewed from the other side of Cowside Beck (see main image above).

Parson's Pulpit as seen from the south
Parson’s Pulpit as seen from the south

That said the summit does command a fairly impressive panorama despite the view north being largely blocked by the likes of Darnbrook Fell and Fountains Fell. The finest part of the view is looking across the southern end of the Birks Fell ridge to the mass of Great Whernside.

The summit of Parson's Pulpit looking towards Great Whernside
The summit of Parson’s Pulpit looking towards Great Whernside

A trig point was once situated on the summit but was destroyed, for unknown reasons, in 1986. An Ordnance Survey surface block can however be found surrounded by a small ring of stones and a patch of nettles.

The Ordnance Survey surface block
The Ordnance Survey surface block

Although there are no footpaths as such to the top of Parson’s Pulpit it is handily situated about midway between two bridleways. The one to the north is between Arncliffe and Malham Tarn and is known as the Monk’s Road. To the south of the summit is the bridleway between Hawkswick and Malham Tarn. The two bridleways can used to create a good circular walk starting from either Arncliffe in Littondale or from Street Gate to the east of Malham Tarn.

Scattered limestone boulders on the northern slopes of Parson's Pulpit
Scattered limestone boulders on the northern slopes of Parson’s Pulpit

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