Smardale

grahams

Active member
Has anyone done any prospecting or caving in Smardale (near Kirkby Stephen)?

I've been attempting to reach the resurgences in Crag Wood on the opposite side of the valley to the Witches Stride for the last couple of years but have been beaten back by covid, nettles, loose vegetated rock and mozzies. Location is 54.459154, -2.422578.

 

Pipster

Member
Not really.... but whilst on holiday around that area last year, I noticed a lot of water issues from two springs around 54.453538, -2.424605 - just below the footpath.
 

grahams

Active member
I had a good look at those last year. You're right, a lot of water issues here but unfortunately out of scree, so a JCB would be needed to get anywhere.

 

mikem

Well-known member
Seems to be plenty of limestone:
https://www.cumbrianaturally.co.uk/blog/smardale-westmorland-geological-society-field-trip

But this may be closest well known site:
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devil%27s_Grinding_Mill
 

Fulk

Well-known member
Seems to be plenty of limestone:
My impression from wandering round the north of England is that there is a lot more limestone outside the main (northern) caving area than in it; does anybody know the extent of limestone 'in versus out'?
 

Pitlamp

Well-known member
A good starting point is Phil Murphy's BCRA publication on the "Cumbrian Ring" (of limestone around the perimeter of the Lake District).
 

grahams

Active member
I finally managed to bushwhack my way through the lost world of Smardale yesterday. No mozzies but plenty of slightly too curious wasps on the climb up to the wee cave in Crag Wood. The walk in was through thick vegetation and chest deep nettles overlying loose rock. Slow progress and very unpleasant.

The cave is at about the same elevation as the disused railway which runs through Smardale and is best reached from the Witches Stride, a small viaduct. Reaching the cave involves an awkward climb of about 20 ft up loose vegetated rock above a dry waterfall. The cave consists of a body sized tube (though not my body size).

There are no signs of previous exploration although the cave is obvious in winter when it is flowing. It would be nice to find something in a 'new' area but, as I'm too old for this sort of thing, I'll not be going back.

 

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