A late January mid-week birthday, meant that I got to choose what we did at the closest weekend. Stump Cross caverns has been on my list of ‘to visit’ since I saw their campaign to keep the caves open and then keep them lit. These are ancient caves under the Yorkshire Dales, discovered in 1860! Not far from Pateley Bridge, we’ve visited the area before visiting the Coldstone cuts and walking in nearby Nidderdale. I’ve never been underground in the area though(!) and this sounded a bit different and a lot safer than traditional caving.
We arrived and were given information on the cave, it’s history, what to expect whilst we were down there and some fascinating facts. The gentleman who had greeted us was obviously passionate about the caves and knew his stuff. There are a couple of trail maps for kids to choose from with a prize on completion, so armed with a clip board we set off. The tour of the caves is self-led and before descending the stairs you don hardhats – plenty of sizes and even for the kids. We had been given torches and the kids each had finger torches but the cave pathways are lit up.
I’m not the biggest fan of enclosed spaces – says the person that chose this outing! However, I didn’t feel claustrophobic, there are low bits you have to bend down for, however there are lots of parts that are quite open where you can stand up fully. With stalactites, stalagmites and spotting facts on our trail sheet, not once did I feel worried about being underground. It really is a fascinating place and we happily spent about 45 minutes exploring underground.
You can have a cream tea experience underground too, but we made our way to the surface for our booking in the café. We had a delicious lunch with a great view, the weather wasn’t playing as it was blowing a gale, but it didn’t matter the Dales are still fab (not biased at all!).
The shop has some gorgeous things, I very nearly spent a small fortune and the kids were pleased to be able to claim their prizes having completed the fossil trail. Both chose something from the prize cabinet to bring home. It was a lovely birthday trip out and I really hope that the caves are able to continue welcoming visitors and keep those lights on.
I have received no incentive to write this blog post and we paid for our tickets and lunch. I just wanted to share our experience and hopefully you’ll visit too.
Top tips: Wear wellies or walking boots. Take some pennies for the shop, I can guarantee there will be something fabulous you’ll want to bring home. If you do visit let me know how you got on.