Cave Descriptions


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Sell Gill Holes offer a fine short trip with two SRT routes available from the surface.

One route carries the surface stream and takes an interesting and technical route down to a wet 45m pitch. Rather than descend in the water, some aerial acrobatics take the caver into a parallel fossil shaft for some of the route, before emerging alongside the waterfall further down the shaft.

The other route is totally dry and involves much easier ropework. This route is often used to help train novice cavers in rope technique (including very simple re-belays) as the pitches are simple and supervision at the top and the bottom is possible throughout.

Going down one route and out the other is a favourite trip of many cavers. Sell Gill Holes allows for a quick and simple trip with a pub at the end (and start) of the walk! The main passage at the bottom where the two routes unite is large and very impressive indeed. Despite its lack of depth and its simplicity, you cannot fail to enjoy a trip down Sell Gill Holes!


Park in Horton-in-Ribblesdale near The Crown pub (there is on-road parking on the road between the Crown pub and the railway station). Alternatively use the village car park (small fee).

How to find:

Grid reference: SD 8119 7435

Follow the Pennine Way footpath behind The Crown pub gently uphill for about 2.5km (30 minute walk). The very obvious entrances are easily found, one on either side of the footpath (you cannot miss them). On the right (east) is the more technical and flood-prone wet (Goblin) entrance and on the left (west) is a stepped gully leading down to the first pitch of the dry route.


Dry Route

2 1 1 2 hours to the bottom and back

From the bottom of the gully, three simple and dry pitches lead directly to the Main Chamber and the connection with the wet, Goblin Route. Simply follow the ropes! At the bottom, the spectacular large passage and the water can be followed downstream for a short distance before it gets smaller. Then you are faced with small, wet sections including climbs over calcite obstructions. This section of the cave is not passable in wet weather.

The final obstacle is a very wet, narrow, sideways crawl in the stream along a tube. Many cavers turn around here. However, for those willing to get wet, the large passages beyond here continue for several minutes and are definitely worth seeing.

Goblin (Wet) Route

4 2 3 2 hours to the bottom and back

The entrance climb (where the stream goes underground) can be abseiled if preferred. Walking-sized passage soon reaches the first pitch. A traverse around the corner allows a long reach out to where the rope is belayed. About 10m down this rope, swing into a dry crawl, leading to another pitch in a dry parallel shaft. This pitch is broken by multiple ledges and allows a fine descent. The main waterfall is joined again for the final abseil, landing in the Main Chamber. The rope from the dry route enters very nearby and the passage continues downstream (see above).


Additional reading:

Northern Caving (p169)

Selected Caves (p105)


Location Map: