Ingleborough Cave

Clapham Cave

Useful Information

The entrance to the cave. ©John Farrer.
Location: 2 km NE of Clapham in the Clapdale. Off the A65 Leeds – Skipton – Kendal trunk road. Navi: LA2 8EA.
Open: MAR to OCT daily 10-16.
NOV to FEB Sat, Sun 10-15.
During School holidays daily 10-17.
Evening Photography Session: twice monthly 16:45 or 15:45.
Fee: Trail: Adults GBP 1, Children GBP 0.50.
Cave: Adults GBP 9.50, Children (3-15) GBP 5, Seniors (65+= GBP 8.50, Students GBP 8.50, Family (2+2) GBP 27.
Groups (12+): discount by pre-arrangement.
Evening Photography Session: Adult GBP 30.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst Cave
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: L=21 km, VR=192 m, T=8 °C. [2020]
Guided tours: L=965 m.
Photography: allowed, Evening Photography Sessions offered. Video is not permitted.
Accessibility: fully wheelchair accessible
Bibliography: Dr Trevor Ford (1975): Ingleborough Cavern and Gaping Gill, 35 pp, 6 photos, surveys etc.
Address: Ingleborough Cave, Clapham, N Yorkshire LA2 8EE, Tel: +44-1524-251-242. E-mail:
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.


1837 first explored by a party including the Farrers, Lord Eldon, and friends.
1895 Gaping Ghyll first explored by PeopleE.A. Martel.
1983 outlet passages at Ingleborough Cave were eventually discovered.
2001 cavers unearth remains of a wooly rhinoceros from just beyond the end of the tourist section.


The Fortification. ©John Farrer
Shower Bath or Bloomers. ©John Farrer.

From the Cave Visitor Centre in the the village, the Nature Trail leads through beautiful lakeside woodland to the Ingleborough Show Cave. The trail is named after Reginald Farrer (*1880-✝1920) and commemorates his exploits travelling the world in search of plants and new species. He introduced over a hundred new plants into Europe from the Far East. Along the trail you can see Himalayan Rhododendron, bamboo and other unusual plants. Cross the Fell Beck by the narrow footbridge (Brokken Bridge) and follow the Beck upstream, passing the Church and the waterfall to reach the old Sawmill at the top of the Village. The Sawmill, powered by a water turbine, is still in use, and tickets for the trail have to be obtained from the cottage in the yard. After two kilometers of walk you will reach the cave.

Ingleborough Cave forms an outlet to the famous CaveGaping Ghyll system. The Gaping Ghyll is a daylight shaft or pothole, where a small brook vanishes underground. It flows through the cave system and reappears in a spring beneath Ingleborough Cave. The lower water filled level is inaccessible, but the show cave level above is also a river cave. Normally there is more water than the rather young lower level can swallow. A classical caveing tour is the descent through Gaping Ghyll and the walk down the main passage along the water to the show cave.

The Gaping Ghyll system is still subject to speleological research. As a result the length is quite regularly increased, and has reached a total length of 21 km [2020]. It also has several superlatives, like the highest unbroken waterfall in Britain (102 m) and the largest cave chamber by volume.

The show cave is only the forme river passage at the lower end of the cave system. A 500 m long walk leads through large passages with no steps at all. This makes this the only show cave in the UK which is fully wheelchair accessible. Nevertheless, you need someone strong to push the chair up and down some slopes. There are two parts of the passage where visitors have to stoop. While the cave system has more entrances, the show cave has not. Visitors return the same way they went in.

Sometimes the cave tours are affected by very wet weather. Increasing amounts of water may cause floods, and as the trail is built along the cave river it may flood. But: the wetter the weather, the more spectacular is the cave!

All images on this page by John Farrer. With kind permission.

Ingleborough Cave Gallery