High Birkwith access


Hi all,

Is anyone aware if there are any developments regarding access to the caves on High Birkwith land?
The last communication was they were preventing access under covid restrictions.
There is nothing on the CNCC website to suggest access is now permitted.

Are negotiations still ongoing with the owners?

Prior to the first lockdown, I was under the impression that access was allowed but parking was not however, parking had been negotiated with the owners of Low Birkwith.
When(or if) access is permitted to the area will parking still be allowed at LB?




Staff member
As I understand it there is a tiny weeny bit of hope.  The landowner concerns about the pandemic and visitors have hopefully subsided with the vaccinations.  Certainly the place is full of walkers and bikers.  There have also been some approaches made concerning any help the Farming in Protected Landscapes grants might provide. 

Again, as I understand it CNCC are not asking cavers to stay away.  There are just pointing out that there remains no landowner consent.  it is complicated as Calf holes entrance is on neighbouring land anyway.  If people do go they'll have to walk a ways and leave respectfully if challenged.  What this does mean is that these caves are now unsuitable for novice and training groups and sadly the university freshers who were often introduced to caving at this great spot.


Active member
The access information for all High Birkwith caves, taken from our website:

The CNCC are currently experiencing several access challenges at Birkwith.

Sadly, the situation there has continued to deteriorate in 2020-2021 and the landowner is asking all cavers (and other outdoor pursuits) to stay away despite a number of public rights of way.

The CNCC will be looking to our Local Access Forum and the National Park for assistance in addressing this matter, particularly now that the pandemic is subsiding. We know that the caves of Birkwith are important sites, not least for introducing people to caving, and we will be doing everything we can to restore permissive access.

The CNCC are not saying 'no access' but instead, urging that anyone approaching these caves should walk from Selside or Horton, keeping to access land or public rights of way as much as possible for the walk, use appropriate discretion and keep away from the farm. Use common sense, keep group size sensible, and if confronted, please be courteous and report the issue to us so we can stay up to date with how things are going.