Above Malham

1 June 2003

Leader - David S. Johnson

We met at Street Gate near Malham Tarn on a very fine day. After the Health and Safety check and a small confrontation with motorcyclists and note of a registration plate we set off to explore an area that is now largely depopulated but is rich in history. We started off walking west along the road south of Malham Tarn, a route that was a major artery in monastic days connecting Fountains Abbey's sheep runs and estates with its centre at Kilnsey. The road was not a road as we know it but more of a line marked with crosses, the bases of which have survived in places.

The walk then moved on to Dean Moor to look at a small, probably pre-Roman, settlement site nestling beneath Locks Scar and an isolated hut circle, definitely pre-Roman, below Dean Moor Hill. The contrast in quality of build between the two is very marked. We then moved east onto Prior Rakes to look at a third early settlement, this one aligned in a linear fashion below Torlery Edge. Early folk certainly knew how to find sheltered spots to settle in!

Not far from that site are rectangular building remains, probably medieval, and the substantial remains of a documented monastic sheep house near Broad Scars. The walk concluded by returning to the start past Seaty Hill with its burial cairns.