Cave Descriptions


Return trip to the downstream sump.

2 5 5 5 hours


Penyghent Pot is a classic, long and very adventurous trip that will physically challenge most cavers. This trip has something for everyone! The cave starts with an initial half-hour crawl along a quite low and wet canal. It then changes character and meets a fault and descends a large pitch. Then, the first of seven reasonably simple pitches commence the route to the sump at -160m depth.

Penyghent Pot offers a true sense of adventure, and a long and very tiring day underground.

Most cavers are happy to complete a trip to the downstream sump. However, there are several kilometres of cave to explore from the bottom of Penyghent Pot in very dry weather and if you are feeling up for a challenge (see additional reading for more details).


Park in Brackenbottom, or Horton in Ribblesdale, or somewhere between the two. The Bradford Pothole Club headquarters is found in Brackenbottom (SD 8164 7216) and, if not too busy, it may be possible to park in their car park (please ask permission from any members present).

How to find:

Grid reference: SD 8289 7332

On the north edge of Brackenbottom village is the footpath up Penyghent. Follow this for about 30 minutes. After crossing the third wall, turn left (off the footpath) and 50m ahead is an old rusty gate. Cross this gate and then walk parallel to, but approximately 100m away from the left wall. After about 500m a shallow valley is reached. This leads to the entrance of Penyghent Pot.


The entrance is awkward, and leads to some stooping/crawling before the stream is met.

Follow the water downstream into a 250m long, wide and wet canal passage. This passage is particularly low towards the end and involves flat-out crawling in the water. The passage then gets bigger just before the first pitch. At the bottom of this pitch, ten minutes of crawling/stooping (along the badly named ‘Easy Passage’) then reaches the second pitch.

Below this pitch, is a short drop down a narrow rift. The water then disappears down a deep shaft. Crawl under the left hand wall of the rift to reach the start of the next rope. This rope descends the third and fourth pitches consecutively, which together, comprise the main 40m deep shaft. At the bottom is an impressive (and draughty) large chamber. Warm clothes will be rewarded here!

The way on from here is to the left of a huge block and into the continuing rift passage.

From here, the cave is a long, linear rift formed along a natural fault. There are seven further pitches to negotiate (some of which are free-climbable). The 11th (final) pitch, Niagara, is usually very wet and is bypassed by a climb down a narrow slot on the left just after the previous (10th) pitch. At the bottom of the final pitch (Niagara), follow the route underneath the Niagara waterfall and along the stream passage to reach a large rift/chamber. If the water is low you can continue on along stooping height streamway for several minutes to the downstream sump.

Most cavers turn around here and commence the outward journey.

Additional reading:

‘Not for the Faint Hearted’ by Mike Cooper’. The description for Penyghent Pot from this book will be available printed out at the conference, with kind permission of Mike Cooper. This describes the full cave in much more detail and a route from the top of the tenth pitch into the Friday the 13th Series and Living Dead Extensions, which are very challenging, long horizontal extensions to the cave which require extremely dry conditions indeed.

Location Map: