Saturday 16 December 2017

Malham Cove becomes waterfall for first time in centuries amid storm

Water falling over the cliffs at Malham Cove in North Yorkshire for the first time in a century following heavy rain in the area (Alan Hume/PA)
Water falling over the cliffs at Malham Cove in North Yorkshire for the first time in a century following heavy rain in the area (Alan Hume/PA)
Water falling over the cliffs at Malham Cove, near the village of Malham, North Yorkshire for the first time in a centuries. Picture by: Alan Hulme/PA

Storm Desmond briefly created a new record-breaking waterfall as it sent torrents cascading over a famous landmark for the first time in centuries.

Malham Cove, a limestone formation in the Yorkshire Dales, is usually dry as water flows through cracks and gullies to its foot well before the cliff edge and a drop of around 260ft.

But Alan Hulme, Yorkshire Dales National Park's head of ranger services, said the water systems were so full from the incredible amount of rain that it flowed along what has been known as Dry Valley and over the top of the cove.

Mr Hulme, who has lived in Malhamdale for 30 years, said most of the village turned out to see the spectacle.

"It was truly amazing," he said.

"The cove was formed in the Ice Age and melt-water created a natural amphitheatre 300 metres wide and about 80 metres high.

"We are struggling to find out the last time it flowed as a waterfall.

"People are saying for one day, and one day only, it was the biggest unbroken waterfall in England."

The 260ft drop was around two-and-a-half times bigger than England's usual record holder, Hardraw Force, also in the Yorkshire Dales.

Mr Hulme said: "There was a lot of interest in it yesterday and while the weather put off a lot of visitors, it was picked up on social media quickly.

"The people who saw it have been very fortunate.

"It was just a fantastic experience."

Mr Hulme has been trying to find out the last time water tumbled over the top of Malham Cove, with some people saying it happened in the early 19th century, others in 1720 and some going as far back as the Ice Age.

"There is a lot of hearsay," he said. "We may never know."

Press Association

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