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White Scar Caves, Ingleton, Yorkshire

White Scar Caves are one of Yorkshires most famous show caves and are open to the public for a modest entrance fee. They are located on the flanks of Ingleborough Mountain on the B6255 road between Ingleton town and Chapel-le-Dale village. The name of the caves is derived from the impressive white Great Scar Limestone scars so beautifully exposed on the sides of the valley. The cave was discovered in 1923 and was opened to visitors in 1925 following enlargement of the very low entrance passage by local miners. The cave is formed in the Lower Carboniferous (Mississippian) Great Scar Limestone which formed in a shallow warm sea that covered this part of Yorkshire about 340 million years ago. It is in this thick limestone where the majority of Yorkshire caves and potholes are to be found and the horizontal undeformed limestone was deposited on an old land surface of up-turned and folded Lower Palaeozoic (Ordovician) rocks about 440 million years old. The contact between the flat lying limestone and older folded shales and sandstones represents a gap of 100 million years and is known as an angular Unconformity. This is exposed in the enlarged entrance passage to White Scar Caves, but is even more impressively exposed at Thornton Force waterfall in Kingsdale near Ingleton:

White Scar Caves comprise two levels of passages, a lower wet series of passages through which an active stream constantly flows, and an upper series of passages and chambers that are dry. Uranium series dating of stalagmites in the caves show these to be between 15,000 and 100,000 years old. The lower series passages contain lots of nice calcite formations including stalactites, stalagmites, columns and flowstone. Some examples are shown below;

The impressive large Battlefield Cavern of the upper series was discovered and explored in 1971 and after construction of an artificial passage to allow visitor access, was opened to the public in 1991.

Battlefield Cavern (Left - note group of people on wailkway for scale) and Straw stalactites in Battlefield Cavern (Right)

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