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Dow Cave

Kettlewell, Skipton BD23 5RP, UK


  • Terrain


DowImage © Copyright Colin Gregory and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons License. Cave


Dow Cave is a good option for beginners, with its wide variety of features and interesting rock formations. Be warned though, the stream levels in Dow can rise quickly after heavy rain and precautions should be taken before entering.

Cavers must climb over boulders and into a large stream passage at the beginning of Dow Cave. The main passage is walkeable, but some scrambling is required at parts. Eventually the main passage leads to a section in Dow Cave known as ‘The Treacle Mines’ an area of mineral workings. At this point caverse should leave the stream passage by entering the workings on the right-hand side. Here there is a dripping chamber and an eye hole to explore before rejoining the main passage on the opposite side.

The rest of Dow Cave can be traversed through a mixture of walking, and crawling in some areas. The last section requires cavers to crawl to reach the large First Miners Chamber. Here the stream in the cave enters through two boulders in the cave, and care should be taken around this area.

Dow Cave is not located on access land. BCA-insured recreational cavers have free, unrestricted access to Dow Cave, but the landowner has requested that commercial groups pay a fee of £1 per person to access the cave.

Payment should be made to Mr J. Hagar, Barthorpe Lodge, Acklam, Malton, North Yorkshire, YO17 9RW.

Before you go

  • Visitors should not enter unless accompanied with a guide or appropriate equipment.
    There are no food or bathroom facilities in the area.
    Please ensure you wear appropriate clothing, and you bring layers when accessing the cave - temperatures in the caves are much lower than ground temperature.
    Cave with care and thought for the environment. Disturb nothing, whether living or geological.
    Avoid touching formations.
    Keep to marked routes and never cross conservation tapes.
    Take nothing but photographs.
    Do not pollute the cave - leave nothing behind.