Skirwith Cave

Useful Information

Former show cave trails with debris. ©Tom Calpin.
Location: Ingleton, Yorkshire.
300 m off the Hawes Road (B6255), 1,800 m from the A65 Skipton-Kendal road which passes by Ingleton. Turn off this road and come through Ingleton village, over Storrs Common and you will see Skirwith Farm on the left amid trees. Turn right opposite the farm gate and drive up the road to the large cave car park, in the middle of the field. Do not block gate way, agricultural access is required at all times.
(54.15881063839063, -2.4463043807985505)
Open: closed.
Fee: closed.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst Cave
Light: bring torch
Dimension: L=770 m, A=270 m asl..
Guided tours: L=244 m, D=30 min.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: YRC Committee (1936): Cave Exploration Yorkshire Ramblers' Club Journal Volume 6 Number 22: pp349-357
R H A Stainforth (1965): no title, Speleologist 1, January/February 1965, page 23.
Address: Mr and Mrs Smith, Pemberton Farm, Tatterthorn Lane, Ingleton, Carnforth, LA6 3DS.
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.


1934 first explored by locals.
1964 developed as a show cave.
Easter 1965 opened to the public.
1974 show cave closed.


River passage in Skirwith Cave. ©Tom Calpin.

We added Skirwith Cave as a show cave to after Tony Oldham allowed us to use his booklet. See his original description from 1972, the time when the cave was operated as a show cave.

This almost unspoiled cave well known to potholers, was opened to the public in 1964. Great care has been taken to preserve as much of its natural beauty as possible, whilst making it possible for tourists to visit it.

It contains some very fine formations, including long straw stalactites, and some excellent examples of stalactite curtains, hanging realistically from the walls and ceiling. At the end of the show section is a most impressive waterfall.

In places this cave is a little narrow, and in consequence is a great favourite with the younger, more sporting members of a family.

Excavation has revealed remains of humans and animals, thought to be Romano-British.

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

But since 1972 a lot has changed with this show cave. Only two years after the guidebook was published, the show cave was closed. There are numerous show caves nearby, probably there were just not enough visitors for all of them. Also the cave seems to be a little narrow and quite low at some places which makes it difficult to visit for many ordinary visitors. It was at this time actually compared to CaveBagshawe Cavern, which is a semi-wild cave.

Today the cave has fallen into a state of disrepair. The paths are mostly destroyed, so is the electric light. Some websites call it Skirwith X-Show Cave (say "ex-show cave") because of this.

The cave is accessible for caving clubs after written notice of the planned visit at least one week in advance. As far as we know there are no offers for cave trekking tours.