© Craven & Pendle Geological Society

Limestone Pavement in Malham

Limestone Pavement Malham Cove is one of the best localities to see a limestone pavement. As you can see from the photgraph, a limestone pavement is a bare suface of limestone with a number of deep fissures separating the sets which geologists' call CLINTS. The name for the fissures is GRYKE. A popular saying in Malham country is "you walk on the clints or you gryke your ankle". Pavements attract a number of different type of scientists, some of which include geologists, geomorphologists, botansists and pedologists.

Here at the top of Malham Cove this limestone pavement is formed out of the Malham Formation (Gordale Limestone, Asbian in age). It is interesting to note that some limestone pavements have been found in between beds of limestone making them very old features, of Carboniferous age. Usually we call these palaeokarsts (Waltham 1971).

View from the pavement over Malham Cove

This is a view from the edge of the limestone pavement at Malham Cove. As you can see the views are quite something. Particularly noticeable is the change in geology from the Askrigg Block, where limestone dominates, to the Craven Basin where Bowland Shales an muddy limestones predominate. In glacial times when water was known to run down Watlows Valley, it would have casacded over this precipe in most spectacular fashion. Athe time of writing you may just be able to pick out a small cluster of people to the right of the path. These guys are on Pergrine Falcon watch as one is nesting in the Cove.