UK Caving information by Region

The kind of preparation required for a trip will depend on the caving region your travelling to as the caves in these areas vary wildly, the section below goes through each of the four main UK caving regions and points you in the direction of useful information for each. 

 map of caving/climbing huts

  1. Caving in the Yorkshire Dales
  2. Caving in the Peak district
  3. Caving in South Wales
  4. Caving in Mendips

Caving in the Yorkshire Dales

Time for some real caving. The dales offer a variety of SRT and non-SRT trips to suit people of all experience levels but if you want to truly experience caving in the Yorkshire Dales then you’ll need to learn SRT. 

Which caves?

There are hundreds of caves in the Yorkshire Dales. If you’re looking for something which doesn’t require SRT why not try a trip down Notts 2, this cave has an interesting entrance climb and leads down into a wet and sporting trip. Other good non-SRT trips include Wretched Rabbit and Mistral but be aware that these trips are notoriously difficult to navigate, so either bring someone who knows’s where they’re going or use a good route description. 

Rigging guides and cave descriptions

 Northern Caves and Not for the Faint-hearted (the black book) are some of the most popular caving guidebooks for the dales. If the caves you are planning to visit are classic SRT trips then the odds are you’ll be able to find them here: CNCC rigging guides, and if they’re not in there then you’ll be able to find all the best trips on the eurospeleo website.  

Cave locations

If you don’t have any sense of direction then the GPS locations of all of the caves in the Yorkshire Dales can be found here, this website contains the cave locations from nc1, nc2 and nc3

Caving huts

There are loads of student-friendly caving huts NUCC do a good summary to choose from the main ones are below:

  • Bull Pot Farm: Situated walking distance from Casterton Fell and Easgill this hut is large enough to host NCHECC with an attendance of 70 people. This is a classic caving hut and highly recommended for a price of £6 a night for students. Despite having high-speed fibre optic internet, the remoteness of the hut, as well as the fact it is at the bottom of a valley, make it an internet and phone signal dead zone (the WiFi password is a closely guarded secret) it is the only caving hut in the dales where this is the case, meaning you actually have to talk to people. The Farm does, however, have a landline if you need to ring it (015343718337). 
  • Northern Pennine Club: AKA GreenClose.
  • Yorkshire Subterranean Society: A converted primary school in the middle of Austwick is the ideal hut for a training weekend, a recent renovation means there is now a purpose built SRT training facility built onto the hut. 
  • Bradford Pothole Club: This one has a nice rope washer and one of the shiniest fanciest water boiling devices I’ve ever seen. It also has lots of bunk space for larger groups, the sitting room is quite small though. 
  • Craven Pothole Club: This cosy little hut is right next to Sell Gill, an ideal cave for a first SRT trip. Although from what I hear this hut is not suitable for large parties of drunken cavers and you need permission from their club before staying over. That said they’ve recently become more welcoming of student clubs. 

Obtaining permits

Caving in the Peak district

The Peak District, SUSS’s backyard, home a few decent caves and the UK’s biggest pitch (Titan). 

Which caves?

The main attraction in the peak district is Peak Cavern, this can be a tricky cave to get into unless you know how. Peak cavern has multiple entrances, JH, Titan and the Show Cave are the most popular ones. For the less hungover caver peak cavern’s showcave entrance is the fastest way into the master cave but you need to be in the cave before 10 am so nobody sees you. For those wanting some SRT of the tight variety, JH is a fun entrance, much of this cave is a long narrow rift/mine there are some interesting mining artefacts along the way and a scary looking ceiling. Finally, if you want some exercise there’s the famous Titan Shaft. Giants is also a smashing trip, I’m going to get someone from SUSS to update this because I don’t spend enough time in the peak district to write this section.

Rigging guides and cave descriptions

peakdistrictcaving.info is the best place to look for open access cave descriptions and rigging guides.

Cave locations

If you’re wondering where to find the caves look no further than the DCA cave registry, simply type in the name of your cave for its location and some up-to-date access information.

Cave access

Access to Peak Cavern show cave: go here for more information.

Titan access: go here 

To access JH: just pay to the farmer £2 and you’ll be able to borrow a set of keys for the entrance.

Giants: Just turn up at the car park and pay some money into the parking honest box.

Caving huts

The TSG and the Orpheus

Caving in South Wales

Do you hate SRT? Do you like long sweaty trips? Then you’ve come to the right place, south Wales is home to some of the UK’s largest and most complex horizontal cave systems. I’m a northerner and probably go to south Wales about once a year so I’m waiting for someone else to finish this section properly. 

Which caves

Rigging guides and cave descriptions

Cave locations

Cave access

Caving huts

White Walls, the SWCC hut, 

Caving in Mendips

The Mendips are fun, the caving in Swindon’s accessible to people of novice caving ability and makes for a smashing first trip. 

Which caves

Swildons and GB, some other caves too but you need to have special permission and a leader to visit them I think. 

Rigging guides and cave descriptions

Swildons, just bring a 10 m ladder and a lifeline to get you past the pitch. 

Cave locations

Erm Mike?

Cave access

You’ll need a key for GB 

Caving huts

The Shepton Mallet, and the Belfrey owned by the Bristol exploration club