Back to Caves & Potholes of Britain
Back to Ian Metcalfe's Caving & Potholing Page
Back to Ian Metcalfe's Home page

Ingleborough Cave, Clapham, Yorkshire


Ian Metcalfe at the entrance to Ingleborough Cave.

Ingleborough Cave is located approximately 2 km north of the village of Clapham in Yorkshire and is reached by a relatively easy walk through Clapham Woods. There is a modest charge for entrance to the woods and entrance to the cave costs a few pounds. The cave forms the lower part of the extensive Gaping Gill pothole/cave system and the water that emerges from Ingleborough Cave is the water that dissapears down the famous Gaping Gill pothole located on the eastern flanks of Ingleborough Hill. The limestone in which the cave has formed is the famous Yorkshire Great Scar Limestone of Lower Carboniferous (Visean) age, about 340 million years old. This limestone was laid down in a shallow sea that covered large parts of what is now Yorkshire at that time. The cave as we know it now was discovered in 1837 when a natural calcite flowstone barrier was cut through by J.W. Farrer and friends. The cave has been a show cave for more than 170 years and visitors are taken approximately 1 km into the mountain through the cave. Beyond the show cave passages, there are additional passages that can be explored by experienced cavers but the only connection through into the rest of the Gaping Gill system is by flooded cave passeges that only experienced cave divers can traverse. The first physical connection and traverses by divers from Ingleborough Cave to Gaping Gill and vice versa was achieved in 1983.

There are no steps or stairs in the main show cave and for the most part it is large and roomy providing easy access to one of the best decorated show caves in Great Britain. Stacactites, stalagmites, curtains, collumns and flowstone are in abundance.


Column formed by the joining of a stalactite and stalagmite.


The cave formations are still actively growing in many parts of this cave


Impressive flowstone formations in Ingleborough Cave

Back to Caves & Potholes of Britain
Back to Ian Metcalfe's Caving & Potholing Page
Back to Ian Metcalfe's Home page