Watersinks car park BD24 Grid reference: SD895658
A reasonably level walk but on uneven terrain and rough tracks
No seating area
Toilet next to Orchid House at Tarn House
1 mile from car park to Tarn House
- Leave car park and follow paths and signs for the Pennine Way heading away from the road towards the Tarn (lake). Enjoy the view of the house from this side of the Tarn.
- At the edge of the lake where the stream outflows head right walking towards the woodland you can see and follow the Pennine way signs to a rough track.
- Turn left on the track and through a gate, following the Tarn (lake) edge.
- Continue along the track, through a small gate next to the cattle grid into some woods.
- Continue on the track through the woods till you see Tarn House in front of you. Please note the house is not open to the public but you can enjoy the view of the Tarn from the lawn and have a look in the Orchid House, a small building built into the cliff on the track that continues around the side of the house.
- Return the way you came.
- Extend your walk along the boardwalk, walk the reverse of walk 6 finishing at the quarry – approximately 0.5 miles further. Then walk back along the track to Tarn House and retrace your steps.
What to look for
- Malham Tarn is a glacial lake and at 377 metres it is the highest lake in England, and one of only eight upland alkaline lakes in Europe. Its geology, flora and fauna have led to it being listed under a number of conservation designations. The site is currently owned by the National Trust, who lease part of the site to the Field Studies Council who offer residential and non-residential field courses at Tarn House. The site was the inspiration for Charles Kingsley’s 1863 novel, The Water-Babies.
- The Pennine Way is a long distance footpath along the ‘backbone of England’ – the Pennine Mountains. It is 268 miles long and goes all the way from Edale in Derbyshire up to Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish Borders.
- Just before you reach the car park in front of Tarn House there is a cage to your left which houses one of our rarest plants, the Lady’s Slipper Orchid. There is only one location in Yorkshire where this plant grows wild. A number of plants have been grown in locations to try and increase the population and this is one of them.
- The Orchid House has recently been restored by the National Trust and now houses an exhibition.
- If you extend your walk take a stop at the bird hide, signposted off to your left on the track. There is information here about some of the birds and waterfowl you can see in the area and you could stop and see what you could spot.