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Gordale Scar Campsite, Gordale Farm, Malham, North Yorkshire
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Gordale Scar Campsite, Gordale Farm, Malham, North YorkshireWordsworth penned sonnets about it. James Ward painted an enormous canvas of it (now in Tate Britain). And these days you can camp in it. Gordale Scar, that gaping wound on the skin of Yorkshire's landscape, was hewn 100 metres deep through the limestone rock by successive torrents of glacial meltwater.

Sitting humbly at its mouth is Gordale Scar campsite, a site split in two by the clear waters of Gordale Beck. Out here it feels like you're at the last outpost.The road ends a mile past the campsite and is little more than the farm's driveway. And once you've pitched your tent, you'll feel miniaturised in the face of the scar's sheer cliffs.
The pathway leading to the scar's stone face (just a quarter of a mile away) passes metres from your tent, so this is an ideal spot to rest weary bones after scrabbling up and down the rock, or simply to partake in much vertical neck craning.

You'd be wise to pack your best guy ropes and industrial-strength tent pegs - or at least some spares. The breeze can pick up and the narrows of the scar direct the full force of the wind this way, so unless you want your tent to resemble the gnarled and twisted trees on the scar's cliffs, head for the shelter of some hedging or the walls.
You're not limited to the scar for your entertainment, though.The Pennine Way, Malham Cove, and wispy waterfall of Janet's Foss are a few miles from the site, so it's ideally placed to pick off some ofYorkshire's icons. Or just stay where you are and pen your own sonnet to the great scar.

COOL FACTOR Rugged and raw camping in iconic English landscape.

WHO'S IN? Tents, campervans, caravans, motorhomes, dogs - yes. Groups - by prior arrangement.

ON SITE Approx. 60 pitches; 3 hook-ups. Facilities are basic but adequate, with toilets and just 1 hot shower (10p). Fresh water is available for free, and there's a small washing-up area. No campfires but BBQs off the ground are okay.

OFF SITE If you're all walked out and fancy a change of pace, explore the monastic ruins and foodie-based diversions of nearby Bolton Abbey (01756 718009; www. boltonabbey.com), or visit Skipton Castle (01756 792442; www.skiptoncastle.co.uk), one of the best-preserved medieval castles in England.

FOOD AND DRINK The amblers' favourite is the Lister Arms (01729 830330) in Malham, a 17th-century coaching inn with decent fare and a selection of independent ales (wi-fi available). Malham's Buck Inn (01729 830317) is an upmarket option, selling local produce, real ales, and a huge choice of whiskies. More locally grown organic food can be found at the Town End Farm Shop (01729 830902) in Airton - think grass-fed beef and lamb, and local wines and microbrews.

GETTING THERE Take the road off the A65 between Gargrave and Settle to Malham. Follow signs for the tarn until the road forks, then follow the road to Gordale. The site is 2 miles up on the left.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT From Skipton take bus no. 210/211 (or sometimes 883/884) to Malham's Buck Inn and follow signs to Malham Tarn. At the fork head towards Gordale.

OPEN All year.

THE DAMAGE £3 per tent, per night, plus £3 per person; £3 per car; £1 per dog.

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