Porth yr Ogof

White Horse Cave

Useful Information

Tony Oldham on the path descending to the cave entrance.
© Anne Oldham, with kind permission.
Location: Near Ystradfellte, on the (normally dry) bed of the river Mellte.
(51.800171529604334, -3.5565918745162377)
Open: no restrictions.
Fee: cave: free.
parking: cars GBP 3, Minibuses GBP 8.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: none, bring electric torch.
Dimension: L=300 m.
Guided tours: L=100 m, D=20 min.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: F J North (1949): The River Scenery At The Head Of The Vale Of Neath, Third edition (Revised), 110 pp, 31 plates, 30 figs. SB
An unlikely title for a caving book. This is an in-depth account of Porth yr Ogof and the adjacent caves and karst. There are also reproductions of old engravings of Porth yr Ogof.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


Tony Oldham in front of the cave entrance. Note the rough path to the cave
© Anne Oldham, with kind permission.
1698 Edward Lhuyd mentions the cave in a letter to John Ray.
1803 visited by J. Evans.
1807 description by B. Malkin in The Scenery, Antiquities and Biography of South Wales.
1813 description by G. Nicholson in The Cambrian Travellers Guide.
1836 description by Thomas Roscoe in Wanderings and Excursions in South Wales.
1928 described by F. J. North in The River Scenery at the Head of the Vale of Neath.
1936 explored by the Wessex Cave Club and the Yorkshire Ramblers' Club.
1937 explored by E E Roberts and Gerard Platten.
1961-1968 the Cave Diving Group explored some underwater passages.
1968 surveyed by the University of Bristol Spelaelogical Society.
1991 described by Allan C. Ockenden in Caves of the Mellte Valley, obtainable from contact.


The white limestone which gave the cave its second name White Horse Cave on the left wall. The limestone is vaguely resembling a horse running from right to left.
© Anne Oldham, with kind permission.

This cave is situated in a beautiful and secluded river valley. By descending a rough footpath, one arrives at the cave entrance, an impressive gorge 60 feet deep, with a low wide entrance at the bottom.

Visitors are recommended to carry an electric torch and wear strong boots.

After entering the cave, walking straight ahead, a wide, deep pool of water is reached. Once one's eyes have become accustomed to the light, it is possible to see the outline of what looks very much like a white horse on the opposite side of the pool. This is in fact a vein of calcite in the rock, which has been so worn as to look like a horse and which gives the cave its alternative name.

The cave actually goes under the road, and by crossing the road, passing through the gate and following the track, past several more entrances to the cave, it is possible to come to the resurgence. Here there is a wide grassy meadow, ideal for picnics, and a natural swimming pool in the river. This is a most idyilic spot, and understandably popular at weekends and bank holidays with cavers, hikers and campers.

Text from: Tony and Anne Oldham (1972): Discovering Caves - A guide to the Show Caves of Britain. With kind permission by Tony Oldham.

2003 update. There is now a large car park, toilets and screened off changing areas for both male and female visitors. In the summer there is a charge of GBP 3.00 for cars and GBP 8.00 for minibuses, for parking. There are some improvements in the form of pathways and railings but the descent to the cave is still very rough. Good walking boots are needed. Since 1972 six people have drowned in the resurgence pool. Because of this I recommend that visitors do not enter the cave, but stick to the foot paths.

The swimming pool at the resurgence is now called The Blue Pool.

Text by Tony Oldham (2003). With kind permission.

Porth yr Ogof Gallery