Waterfall resurrected after centuries by flooding in Northwest England

A waterfall that had been dry for at least two hundred years was resurrected by Storm Desmond’s flooding that has devastated large parts of northwest England. Malham Cove, a huge, limestone amphitheatre in the Yorkshire Dales National Park had water cascading 262 feet (80 metres) down.

Most of the time, water flows through gullies and cracks into its foot well long before reaching Malham Cove. According to some locals, the cove has been dry for longer than 200 years. Some say it has not had a cascade since the last Ice Age.

Local residents, who say they’ve never seen the waterfall active – they wouldn’t unless they were centuries old – enjoyed watching the spectacle until Monday, 7th December, when it dried up again.

Local resident Stuart Gledhill, who filmed the spectacle on Sunday, said:

“Well that’s something that none of us in the village who have lived here all our lives have ever seen before. Wow.”

Malham Cove waterfall resurrectedStorm Desmond brought Malham Cove waterfall back to life. (Image: twitter)

Briefly England’s highest waterfall

Until Monday, when head ranger of park services, Alan Hulme, confirmed the waterfall had dried up, Malham Cove was the highest single-drop waterfall in England, pushing 98-foot-high (30 metres) Hardraw Force, near Buttertubs Pass, also in the Yorkshire Dales, into second place.

Mr. Hulme, who has lived in the area for 30 years, explained that the water systems became so drenched during the freak storm that excess water flowed along an area called Dry Valley to reach the top of the cove.

Most of the village came out to see the ‘truly amazing spectacle’.

Mr. Hulme added:

“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, but people are saying for one day, and one day only, it was the biggest unbroken waterfall in England.”

Floods destroy footbridgeAt Allen Banks in Northumberland a recently installed footbridge, known as the ‘Wobbly Bridge’, across the River Allen was washed away by the flooding. (Image: National Trust)

The National Trust gave the following update on Storm Desmond’s flooding in its blog:

“Storm Desmond has swept across the north of England affecting many National Trust places in the Lake District and a much loved woodland area in Northumberland.”

“More than a month’s rainfall fell in some parts of Cumbria with records being broken. Our teams are out assessing the impact of the floods and working with our tenant farmers and supporting the local communities.”

Video – Malham Cover Waterfall resurrected after 200 years