Ingleborough Cave and Ingleborough Estate Nature Trail, Lancaster
Ingleborough Cave, in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, was first discovered in 1837 by brave Victorian explorers who drained away a lake and went on to discover 1/2km of previously unexplored passages delving deep beneath Ingleborough mountain with only candles to guide them! Today, the cave is well lit, and you can follow in the footsteps of those pioneers on an awe-inspiring voyage of discovery! A concrete footpath leads visitors past breath-taking stalactites, stalagmites and flowstones, through a kilometre of passages brought to life by formations and artefacts dating back millions of years! The public section of the showcave stretches 1/2km, all of which is natural except the concrete footpath, the handrails and the lighting. Access beyond the public section can also be arranged for those looking for something more adventurous. The Cave is reached via the 1.3 mile Ingleborough Estate Nature Trail, which wends its way through the woodland along a well maintained gravel track with vehicular access. Features include waterfalls, a stunning lake, beautiful woodland, incredible displays of flora and fauna at different times of year (including swathes of wild garlic, coverings of bluebells and one of the U.K’s finest collections of rhododendrons), The Money Tree, and a mesmerising Victorian folly. Just beyond Ingleborough Cave is a huge limestone gorge called Trow Gill, which was carved out by meltwater at the end of the last ice age some 14,000 years ago when the 400 metre deep sheet of ice covering the area melted, forming a river that carved awe-inspiring gorges like this.