Regional Access Database

Restrictions/ Sensitive Access Malham Cove

National landmark & the best limestone crag in the Pennines - great trad routes and steep bolted testpieces.

BMC Area Yorkshire Rock Type Limestone
Climbing Area Yorkshire Limestone Access Status Restrictions/ Sensitive Access
County North Yorkshire CRoW Land Yes
Importance International No. of Routes 275
Ownership Local Authority Year Developed 1958
Within National Park Yes Grid Reference SD896640

The bolting agreement with the Malham Parish Council (the owners) in Feb. 2008 is no bolting at weekends, during the main school summer holiday or during the nesting restriction.

Restrictions apply from  1 March - 30 June. Reason - Nesting Birds

Malham is an important and very visible site for nesting Peregrines. The restriction applies to Caveat Wall on the Left Wing, from Hangover (route 57 in YMC guide) to The Man and the Myth (route 8) inclusive. The whole of Terrace Wall and all trad routes on the Right Wing to the left of Scorpio are unaffected this year.

When topping out from climbs on the left wing, please move away quickly once both climbers have topped out to avoid disturbing the birds. (This area will be fenced off during nesting season to prevent public access to the top of the crag and large number of people who could disturb the birds - access for climbers exiting the crag is fine providing it is discreet so as not to encourage the public onto the top of the crag. It's also worth mentioning that you will be doing this to the RSPB peregrine watch volunteers if they are present as you walk in to avoid any confusion.)

Please also be aware that house martins are nesting on a number of the Cat Walk sport routes this spring and given that the nests are in unavoidable locations such as crucial jugs, the following routes should be avoided until the nests are no longer in use (usually into August): Raindogs/Rainshadow, Overnite Sensation, Thriller/Victor Hugo and Zoolook.


Please be considerate when parking and using the village. There is limited free parking along the road side in the village, but please make sure you leave enough room for large farm vehicles to pass by. Alternative parking is available at the YDNPA car park for a small fee.

Please do not park on Cove Road beyond Town Head Barn (where the is a 'no parking for 3 miles' sign) as the road is not wide enough and the passing spaces need to be clear to allow traffic through.

Please use the public toilets next to the pub instead of the bushes, and consider visiting one of the village pubs after climbing to help support the local economy. Finally, please avoid sleeping in your car in the village or car park. By following these guidelines, you'll be making sure the currently good relations with the village and Parish Council are maintained for the future.

Kirby Malhamdale Parish Council does not allow charity or organised abseiling at Malham Cove.

The land surrounding the top (and up to the edge) of the cove is Open Access land. See map here;

The magnificent landscape of the Yorkshire Dales was shaped by melting glacial ice 300 million years ago to produce the towering crags, shadowy peaks, rock-pavements, and picturesque valleys found today. The area was designated as a National Park in 1954, and covers approximately 1,769 km/683 square miles with many nationally significant climbing venues and a rich diversity of wildlife. Most of the crags in this region lie within Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI’s), a designation with a high level of legal protection for wildlife and geology. Responsibility for identifying and protecting SSSIs in the Dales lies with Natural England – the statutory governmental advisor on conservation issues and contributor towards the Yorkshire Dales Green Climbing Guide. The guide is intended to help climbers or walkers identify the protected flora, fauna, and geology found in the Dales and contribute towards their conservation. Click this link to see the guide; The guide is also available free from the BMC office or at various tourist offices in the region.

This page was last updated on 27/05/2016. RAD is updated as and when access changes and a historic date does not mean that the information is out of date, only that the access situation hasn't changed.