Medieval field systems - Malham Cove
Historical Environment Record No: MYD25386
OS Grid Reference: SD899637
Link to Archaeology Data Service:
All around Malham Cove are the archaeological remains of early farms and their field systems. The earliest fields are probably Iron Age, but they are overlain by Medieval strip lynchets and terraces. On hillsides, the terraces provided a greater depth of soil in which to grow crops. Sheep and cattle would have been moved up to the higher pastures in the spring and summer, guarded against wolves and thieves by members of the family, while the rest of the family stayed on to tend the main farm. Malham village was probably founded in the 7th and 8th centuries by Anglo-Saxons, and their descendants would have continued to create the terraced fields that are still visible today. Villagers went on growing barley and oats in these fields well into the 19th century, and there are the remains of a corn mill in the valley just below where the footpath starts up to the Cove.
Raistrick, A & Chapman, S E (1929) 'The Lynchet Groups of Upper Wharfedale' Antiquity. Vol 3 pp165-181
The fields can be viewed to the east of the main public footpath up to Malham Cove. Follow the Cove Road north out of the village and go through the kissing gate on the right beyond Town Head Barn. The fields lie on the opposite valley side.
Public Transport Details
Nearest town/village: Malham. Call Traveline on 0870 608 2 608 to plan your journey. After the welcome message key in 885 for North Yorkshire information.
The footpath is well-made, with kissing gates. Not recommended for wheelchair users. The fields can also be viewed from Cove Road.