Cave Descriptions


Old Ing and Birkwith are both pleasant, horizontal stream caves. They actually form part of a much larger system (most of which is only accessible to divers); however, short sections are explorable by non-divers and without any need for any ropes. These are excellent trips for novice cavers. They can be enjoyed in combination with a trip down the very nearby Calf Holes/Browgill cave system.


In Horton in Ribblesdale take the small road towards New Houses. Follow this to the end of the public road at High Birkwith Farm. Ask permission at the farm to visit the caves, and to ask where they would prefer you to park (usually they will direct you to drive up the rough track beyond the farm to where Old Ing House is on the right, and to park off the track before the next gate). Note that an arrangement with High Birkwith Farm may be in place for Eurospeleo delegates (but has not been confirmed at the time of writing). Please ask at the Eurospeleo caving reception desk and watch for further details.

How to find:

Grid reference: Old Ing: SD 8073 7684, Birkwith: SD 8036 7696

A short distance along the track beyond High Birkwith Farm (about 200m before Old Ing House), another track leads off on the right (south) along a wall. Follow this track and after 100m cross the next wall. On the right is a cluster of trees. Just within these trees, at the head of a gill, is the large walk-in entrance to Birkwith Cave.

Staying on the track, the public footpath soon bears right just after the trees; however, stay left and follow the track around the field. After about 300m, just after where the nearby left wall turns to run parallel to the track, Old Ing is found in a shakehole only 25m on the left hand side of the track.

Birkwith Cave return trip

0 1 5 < 1 hour


From the entrance, a varied passage, with crawls, chambers and cascades continues for about 150m to a T-junction. Right (upstream) enters a canal where a swim can be enjoyed, but reaching a dead end. To the left (downstream) is an arduous 250m long wet crawl with sections of canal, leading to a manhole near Coppy Gill Cave. This may be blocked, but if this is passible, it emerges just next to the track above High Birkwith Farm.

Old Ing Cave return trip

0 1 3 < 1 hour


Easy passage is followed for 200m until a junction where a passage carrying water enters on left. Keep right and follow the water through several pools and cascades. Shortly after a small chamber at a sharp left hand bend, sumps are reached. Just beyond this chamber, but before the sumps, a climb up to the roof reaches a 20m long slightly difficult bedding crawl. This emerges into a fine stream passage. Right (upstream) goes into a canal and sump, left (downstream) leads to a final chamber where all routes onwards soon sump

Location Map: