As the Covid-19 lockdown eases, access for climbing is opening back up, subject to some measures and restrictions depending on where you are going. Please make sure you have read and understood our current advice before heading out and apply it alongside RAD advice to ensure access issues don’t develop.

Malham Cove

Yorkshire Limestone

User attention

Housemartins are nesting on a number of the popular sport routes at Malham in 2020 due to the lack of climbing in activity during the Covid-19 lockdown period. The routes affected include Raindogs, Seventh Aardvark, Bat Route and others. Please avoid these routes while the nests are in use which is likely to be until August/September. It will be obvious if the nests are occupied due to the parents flying to/from the nests. from 09/07/0001 to 30/09/2020

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

Crag information
Climbing Area: Yorkshire Rock Type: Limestone
Importance: International CRoW Land: No
Ownership: Local Authority No. of Routes: 275
Within National Park: Yes Year Developed: 1958
Grid Reference: SD896640

Access to Malham is a privilege and subject to the following climbers access agreement. Please ensure you read, understand and follow these points to ensure continued good relations with the Parish Council, other landowners, farmers and local residents

  • Stick to public rights of way - don't take short cuts though fields below the Cove as these are not Open Acces land
  • Always use the public toilet block next to the pub instead of the bushes
  • Follow the bolting agreement - no bolting at weekends, during the school summer holiday or whilst the nesting restriction is in effect to ensure noise doesn't disturb nesting birds or detract from other visitors experience
  • No wild camping near the Cove or nearby fields, or sleeping in vehicles in the village or parking areas - use the campsite at Riverdale or Goredale instead
  • Parking is a very sensitive issue - only park in the locations listed in the parking section below
  • Make use of local business (pubs/cafes/restaurants etc) after a day at the crag and help to put money back into the local economy

By following these guidelines, you'll be making sure the currently good relations with the village and Parish Council are maintained for the future.

Restrictions apply from 1 March - 30 September.

Reason: Nesting Birds

Malham is an important and very visible site for nesting peregrines. The restriction applies to all routes on Terrace Wall and all routes on the Right Wing to the left of Scorpio from 1st March-31st July.

The bolted sport routes on the right side of Upper Central Wall are unaffected except for those that breach the main overhang. On-site notices will also be in place and RSPB volunteers will monitor the birds throughout the nesting period.

House martins also frequently nest between May-September, often on the popular hard sport routes. Please avoid any routes with nests on or near while they are in use to avoid damaging the nests. It will be obvious which nests are being used due to parents flying in and out.

Parking and Approach

Please be considerate when parking and using the village. There is limited free parking along the road side leading to 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.

Follow public rights of way to access the crag rather than taking shortcuts thorugh the farmers fields below the crag - these are not open acces land and straying from the designated rights of way will strain relationships with the farmer.

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


CRoW Information

Open access land, designated under the Countryside & Rights of Way Act (2000) give area access rather than linear access as provided by public rights of way. It also gives a legal right of access specifically for climbing, as well as walking and other quiet recreation on foot.

Please bear in mind however that the landowner still has the right to restrict access for up to 28 days per year (often used on public safety grounds for shooting in moorland areas), and can also apply for longer term restrictions with Natural England (such as bans on dogs, or regular restrictions during particular times of year). It is important to check for these restrictions regularly as they can be added at short notice – all details for open access land in England can be found on Natural England’s website.  

Group Advice

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

Area information

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. Follow the link belowe to see the guide;

Weather Information

Guidebook info currently being updated

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Anonymous User
Visited Malham right wing to climb trad routes on 28 August. We climbed Clubfoot and Swingover. We passed an official looking sign just laying in the grass at the bottom of the small path up from the base of the cove. It said no access due to Peregrines. I was fairly certain any restrictions were already lifted and we carried on. Just checked above and it seems there are no restrictions in this area this year. I hope we didn't make a mistake. If we did then I think the information above is misleading but perhaps someone needs to remove the sign? Thank you to all those involved in access work on our behalf at this venue. Martin Hore@virginmedia,com