Gordale Scar

Gordale Scar

Along with Malham Cove and Kilnsey Crag, Gordale Scar is one of the most famous and memorable limestone features in the whole of the Yorkshire Dales.

With massive cliffs over 100m high entering this spectacular limestone ravine is like entering another world, especially if you take the usual approach from Malham via the woods of Janet’s Foss.

The lower part of Gordale Falls at the head of Gordale Scar
The lower part of Gordale Falls at the head of Gordale Scar
“let thy feet repair to Gordale chasm, terrific as the lair where the young lions couch”
Gordale, William Wordsworth

A fine track leads up towards the head of the scar before giving way to the rocky stream bed of Gordale Beck. At the head of the scar is a waterfall, the lower part of Gordale Falls. Whilst onward progress looks to be awkward the right of way continues up alongside the waterfall via an exciting scramble.

Looking down from above Gordale Scar
Looking down from above Gordale Scar

In wet conditions, when the stream is wide and there is a lot of water coming down the waterfall it is probably best not to attempt the scramble.

The entrance to Gordale Scar
The entrance to Gordale Scar

In this situation an alternative route is to head back towards the entrance to the scar and take a steep grassy path up on the western side. From there it is then possible to walk around the rim of the scar and carefully enjoy some quite stunning views back down into the ravine.

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