Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Malham Limestone

The last time I was in the Malham area was way back in the 1980s on a geography field trip. This spectacular upland area remains well studied by geologists and popular with walkers. I started my walk by the Malham Tarn Field Centre and quickly made my way to the southern end of the tarn.

Water flows from the tarn, under a road and then disappears. Less that a kilometre from Malham Tarn this substantial beck quietly drains away between a few pebbles and grassy clumps.

Beneath my feet are a myriad of natural tunnels and caverns. This explains why there are valleys and gorges here without water running through them.

This area is famous for its limestone pavements. The spectacular rock formations are attributed to erosion by flowing water but most of the water here has long disappeared underground.

On my way back to Malham Tarn I took in Gordale Scar. This is a steep sided limestone gorge around 100 metres with only a tiny stream in the bottom.  When I was last here this place seemed awe inspiring and huge... and still qualifies.

Throughout my wanderings amongst the limestone of Yorkshire, I was treated to the occasional glimpse of a wheatear, especially in the more sheltered spots.

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