Author Topic: Some good news on cave access  (Read 38816 times)

Offline graham

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Re: Some good news on cave access
« Reply #175 on: April 06, 2014, 10:21:36 pm »

I'm at a complete loss to see how this might affect access arrangements in areas outside of the Dales such as Graham is alluding to. Clearly I'm not the only one...


Will you not adopt the precautionary principle and accept that taking steps that might deal with a local issue locally, by reforming CNCC and revamping its relationships with the relevant estates, might be preferable to potentially destabilising relationships that currently work perfectly well elsewhere?

Don't listen to the likes of NigR, he is ideologically anti any cave gates at all. He'd even be against the gated access to cave that I negotiated some 20 years ago on the edge of a large housing estate. A cave that had been closed for 30 or more years up until that point because local kids had needed rescuing from it.

It it wasn't for me, that cave would be closed now. Instead of having concrete down the entrance it now has a gate and an access system that has worked well for 20 years.

I use this as an example because it is in an urban setting, not on CRoW land and thus cannot be used as a stick to beat me with. I use it simply to show that not every cave is in the middle of a moor.

And of course that will still be held against me, but hey.
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Offline blackholesun

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Re: Some good news on cave access
« Reply #176 on: April 06, 2014, 10:29:41 pm »
Graham;

That last comment is both an ad hominem and straw man fallacy. You can't reasonably say "Ignore idea Y from person X because I think person X believes idea Z, which is ludicrous".

Pen Park Hole has nothing to do with CROW.

Offline graham

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Re: Some good news on cave access
« Reply #177 on: April 06, 2014, 10:34:42 pm »
Graham;

That last comment is both an ad hominem and straw man fallacy. You can't reasonably say "Ignore idea Y from person X because I think person X believes idea Z, which is ludicrous".

Pen Park Hole has nothing to do with CROW.

I have given my reasons why I shall not give more direct examples. Sorry, but I shall not change that stance simply to satisfy some people on here.

The reasons for citing that cave are twofold, firstly to demonstrate my long term commitment to improving cave access and secondly to point out - not a straw man - that some people on here are ideologically opposed to any restrictions on their access, any at all. NigR has posted his opposition to all cave gates on here, I simply give an example of a sensible cave gate.
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Offline graham

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Re: Some good news on cave access
« Reply #178 on: April 06, 2014, 10:43:49 pm »
Pen Park Hole has nothing to do with CROW.

BTW

The fact that you name a cave where I didn't is a perfect example of why I refuse to identify any of the other situations that I am concerned about. That one is non-contentious, others less so.
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Offline Cripplecreeker

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Re: Some good news on cave access
« Reply #179 on: April 06, 2014, 10:44:41 pm »

I'm at a complete loss to see how this might affect access arrangements in areas outside of the Dales such as Graham is alluding to. Clearly I'm not the only one...


Will you not adopt the precautionary principle and accept that taking steps that might deal with a local issue locally, by reforming CNCC and revamping its relationships with the relevant estates, might be preferable to potentially destabilising relationships that currently work perfectly well elsewhere?

I'm not sure that access could be re-negotiated at a local level if the national governing body for the sport has a document on its website (now incorrectly) stating that CRoW provides no right of access to caves. You still haven't explained how the BCA/CNCC changing its position would in any way affect a location such as PPH (I assume), or similarly sensitive locations, which believe it or not, do exist in the Dales.


Offline Anon

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Re: Some good news on cave access
« Reply #180 on: April 06, 2014, 10:48:54 pm »
I can explain it, but I refuse to discuss potentially delicate relationships on an open forum which is not only frequented by landowners and other bodies but is used by folks who have a known distaste for their concerns.

Why can you not simply reform your own body, if you feel that to be necessary & sort out new arrangements in your own areas?
Is this "issue" related to a surface dig on CrOW land or just plain old access for sporting types, maybe crossing a field to gain access to CRoW land? Can you allude to that at least?
I know you don't wish to reveal details but it makes it pointless even mentioning it unless some details, however vague, are presented. Like others have posted I can't understand how it affects the issue? Without some details it becomes a moot point.

As for the housing estate example; fair play and well done, no idea what location you're on about (someone has posted whilst typing this, so I now know), but great that access is available. I can understand restrictions/gates in that example, it's the middle of nowhere that concerns me and no doubt others reading this thread.

Offline jasonbirder

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Re: Some good news on cave access
« Reply #181 on: April 06, 2014, 10:55:12 pm »
Seems to me there are only 3 Possible situations that can arise with regards to CRoW access to caves...

1) Caves NOT on CRoW land

2) Caves on CRoW Land where there is existing good will and a satisfactory access agreement

3) Caves on CRoW land where there is a poor relationship with Landowners and/or no or limited access

Every single Cave will fall into one of those 3 Categories...

A change in Caving's status as an allowed activity on CRoW land will have ZERO effect on the first

I fail to see how it can impact in anyway on the second...

In the third instance CRoW legislation is a useful tool to open up access in situations where it is difficult or impossible...

While I can see a certain hesitancy about getting the go ahead for surface digs in limited cases in the final instance...what people haven't emphasised it that the majority of digs AREN'T surface digs...they're underground...and improved access for Caving means improved access for digging... its certainly NOT an overwhelming negative for diggers as a few on here want to imply...


Offline graham

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Re: Some good news on cave access
« Reply #182 on: April 06, 2014, 10:57:12 pm »
Is this "issue" related to a surface dig on CrOW land or just plain old access for sporting types, maybe crossing a field to gain access to CRoW land? Can you allude to that at least?

Potentially both

I know you don't wish to reveal details but it makes it pointless even mentioning it unless some details, however vague, are presented. Like others have posted I can't understand how it affects the issue? Without some details it becomes a moot point.
I accept that, but will not be more explicit for the reasons given.

As for the housing estate example; fair play and well done, no idea what location you're on about (someone has posted whilst typing this, so I now know), but great that access is available. I can understand restrictions/gates in that example, it's the middle of nowhere that concerns me and no doubt others reading this thread.

And yet there are those who have posted on this very site their opposition to any gates at all.

It is the refusal of some to recognise that not every access situation can be dealt with by their crude tools that concerns me.

I accept that some may have problems understanding my concerns but nobody has yet posted any reason, any at all, why the situation on Leck and Casterton fells cannot be dealt with locally.
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Offline Cripplecreeker

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Re: Some good news on cave access
« Reply #183 on: April 06, 2014, 11:12:26 pm »
I accept that some may have problems understanding my concerns but nobody has yet posted any reason, any at all, why the situation on Leck and Casterton fells cannot be dealt with locally.

As I said earlier this is not just a case of Leck and Casterton Fells (your repeat of this highlights your lack of detailed knowledge on the subject), but the majority (70% minimum) of the caves in the Dales where access is currently restricted or banned.

As for why it can't be dealt with locally only please see my point above about the BCA statement.

Offline bograt

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Re: Some good news on cave access
« Reply #184 on: April 06, 2014, 11:24:09 pm »
Just a reminder to folk, access via CRoW is not a passport to surface digging, in fact it would be illegal without the landowners specific permission.
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Offline cavermark

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Re: Some good news on cave access
« Reply #185 on: April 06, 2014, 11:27:56 pm »
I think the issue of gating entrances (on CRoW land or other land) is quite different to the general of issue of access TO entrances across CRoW land. To tie the two together here is to distract from the original thread.
Gating has a general argument about principles but also quite specific issues on certain caves. 

Offline NigR

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Re: Some good news on cave access
« Reply #186 on: April 06, 2014, 11:35:10 pm »
Pen Park Hole has nothing to do with CROW.

Exactly.

It is being used purely to divert attention away from the real issue at stake, i.e. caving on CRoW land, wherever it may be (not just on Leck and Casterton Fells).

Seems to me there are only 3 Possible situations that can arise with regards to CRoW access to caves...

1) Caves NOT on CRoW land

2) Caves on CRoW Land where there is existing good will and a satisfactory access agreement

3) Caves on CRoW land where there is a poor relationship with Landowners and/or no or limited access

Every single Cave will fall into one of those 3 Categories...

Jason is quite correct in recognising that all caves can be put into one of the categories he specifies. The caves in South Wales where problems already exist (or are likely to appear) all firmly belong in Category 3.

(....and none of these are currently gated, so that is not a problem and there is not the slightest need to make it one).

I think the issue of gating entrances (on CRoW land or other land) is quite different to the general of issue of access TO entrances across CRoW land. To tie the two together here is to distract from the original thread.

That is precisely why gating was first mentioned, to distract people from the original topic under discussion.








Offline Cripplecreeker

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Re: Some good news on cave access
« Reply #187 on: April 06, 2014, 11:35:40 pm »
I think the issue of gating entrances (on CRoW land or other land) is quite different to the general of issue of access TO entrances across CRoW land. To tie the two together here is to distract from the original thread.
Gating has a general argument about principles but also quite specific issues on certain caves. 


Agreed - it seemed to me like a rather cynical attempt to obfuscate the discussion.

Offline Anon

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Re: Some good news on cave access
« Reply #188 on: April 06, 2014, 11:42:04 pm »
Seems to me there are only 3 Possible situations that can arise with regards to CRoW access to caves...

1) Caves NOT on CRoW land
Nothing changes.
Quote
2) Caves on CRoW Land where there is existing good will and a satisfactory access agreement
Define satisfactory? I can usually get a permit at fairly short notice for (example) Leck/Casterton. Is that satisfactory? And no I don't agree with the permit system on CRoW land, just asking what constitutes "satisfactory"..
Quote
3) Caves on CRoW land where there is a poor relationship with Landowners and/or no or limited access
I can immediately think of two northern examples (yes northern-centric but it's what I know and what I can quote examples of), in the same catchment, of significant length, that fall in to that category..

Quote
I fail to see how it can impact in anyway on the second...
Just because an entrance is on CRoW land doesn't mean access to it is, as I said in a previous post. Random example: Fountains Fell is largely CRoW, but from the "usual" parking spot it involves crossing non-CRoW land to gain access to the caves. It doesn't impact nor does it it improve the situation, unless cavers are prepared to walk further to avoid landowner restrictions.

Quote
In the third instance CRoW legislation is a useful tool to open up access in situations where it is difficult or impossible...
Agreed.


Graham; thank you for your reply, still not sure I understand the situation though..

Offline Cripplecreeker

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Re: Some good news on cave access
« Reply #189 on: April 07, 2014, 12:05:00 am »

Just because an entrance is on CRoW land doesn't mean access to it is, as I said in a previous post. Random example: Fountains Fell is largely CRoW, but from the "usual" parking spot it involves crossing non-CRoW land to gain access to the caves. It doesn't impact nor does it it improve the situation, unless cavers are prepared to walk further to avoid landowner restrictions.

As far as I'm aware all CRoW land is accessible via a public right of way. In the case of Fountains Fell for instance it would only involve an extra km or so to walk in via a legal access point, so it's hardly a show stopper to open access.


Offline blackholesun

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Re: Some good news on cave access
« Reply #190 on: April 07, 2014, 12:26:20 am »
Graham,

You say "He'd even be against ...", which is future tense. If it were well known that Nig was specifically against the Pen Park Hole gating, then it would be "He is against ...". Thus it is a classic straw man as you are claiming that someone else believes something.

That aside, it matters not why someone believes something, it only matters what the merits of the idea are. That must be a basic part of any reasonable discussion. (Not that I'm saying it's the case here, but) someone may want to change things round just because they didn't like the CNCC for example. It doesn't mean that their idea is a good one or a bad one for british caving. Ideas must stand on their own and criticising the originator is a common but unnecessary part of these discussions.

Your work on Pen Park Hole is well known and simply researched. Mentioning its name just allows people to refer to it more easily than 'that cave on the housing estate that Graham worked a lot on the access of'. I can't see how naming a cave would mean that you would be less likely to name a useful example. I couldn't exactly name it again.

Naturally, as others have mentioned, a cave in a housing estate on non CROW land with a gate is of no relevance to caves on CROW land with no gates and a permit system.

Frustrating as it may be, being unable to give relevant examples means, rightly or not, that people will behave as if there aren't any.

Offline blackholesun

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Re: Some good news on cave access
« Reply #191 on: April 07, 2014, 12:31:17 am »
People have started mentioning talking to the landowners and seeing what they think. I still think that the Ingleborough estate (though obviously now not Dr Farrer) could be a good start or for something more direct and specific, could the owners of the relevant Penyghent area be asked if they would consider allowing unpermitted access to Hull Pot seeing as that is clearly open air recreation?

Would anyone else support such an idea?

Offline Anon

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Re: Some good news on cave access
« Reply #192 on: April 07, 2014, 12:41:16 am »

Just because an entrance is on CRoW land doesn't mean access to it is, as I said in a previous post. Random example: Fountains Fell is largely CRoW, but from the "usual" parking spot it involves crossing non-CRoW land to gain access to the caves. It doesn't impact nor does it it improve the situation, unless cavers are prepared to walk further to avoid landowner restrictions.

As far as I'm aware all CRoW land is accessible via a public right of way. In the case of Fountains Fell for instance it would only involve an extra km or so to walk in via a legal access point, so it's hardly a show stopper to open access.
I didn't say it was a show-stopper, merely suggesting that from the "usual" access point it wasn't a free for all, like some people think it might be. Just as I previously said East Kingsdale could be accessed via a long winded route without asking for direct permission. And to throw another example in; Alum Pot, I could suggest access via some long winded route to gain access to the CRoW entrance of Upper Long Churn to then gain LLC and thus Alum (obviously not direct as that's not on CRoW land).. If you and others are happy to walk a good few miles extra just to avoid asking for permission then that's your prerogative. I'm not against CRoW access, just pointing out that in certain circumstances, it's not as clear cut as it first seems...

Not all CRoW land is accessible easily; I really can't be arsed trying to find it now but I recall seeing on a map (North West England somewhere, Forest of Bowland perhaps as I did a fair bit of walking around there years back) a portion of CRoW land that had no means of access - no road/path or anything else! I know, ridiculous extreme example, had to say it though..  ;) (might have to go looking now, just to satisfy my perverse curiosity!)

Offline graham

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Re: Some good news on cave access
« Reply #193 on: April 07, 2014, 07:25:08 am »
Graham,

You say "He'd even be against ...", which is future tense. If it were well known that Nig was specifically against the Pen Park Hole gating, then it would be "He is against ...". Thus it is a classic straw man as you are claiming that someone else believes something.

He has posted on this very forum that he believes that all cave gates are wrong.  I mentioned this site at that time. he did not deny it.

Let him deny it now, if he wishes, then we can spread the discussion on a case by case basis.
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Offline Ed W

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Re: Some good news on cave access
« Reply #194 on: April 07, 2014, 08:02:24 am »
Well done Badlad/Tim for taking the effort to look at this and provide some evidence rather than hearsay.  Personally I am all for the presumption of free access to caves on CROW land for the following reasons;

1.  The present situation just seems totally ludicrous, in that anyone has a right enshrined by law to be on that land, by the entrance and over the cave and pretty much do what they like (barring those activities specifically banned under the act) but they cannot progress down that cave beyond daylight.  To me it seems inconsistent, and quibbling about whether caves are open air or not is semantics.  My view is that caving is just the sort of activity that CROW was meant to encourage.

2.  Digging - I note and understand the fear expressed by diggers that a heavy handed approach under CROW could sour landowner relationships.    Firstly I don't see that there is any need to be heavy handed with landowners.  I don't think (though happy to be corrected) that any English/Welsh access agreement has been renegotiated/reviewed with the relevant landowners specifically with regards to impacts due to CROW.  Many of these access agreements make more sense when there was no access by the public to the land in question, and the caver's access conditions were the only possible mechanism to provide any access.  A careful approach to at least some of these landowners may get them to suggest that the current situation seems a bit silly?   

3. I also note the fear that land owners will be reluctant to grant permission to dig for a site (that if and when it goes) will have a right of access to it. The big issue as far as I am concerned here is that any new site dug (with the landowners and any required statutory body's permission) is already on land that absolutely anyone can access anyway - hence the opening of the cave would not infer any greater access to that piece land than already existed under CROW anyway.

4.  Reduction in landowner liability - that has already been covered in this thread.

5.  Future Access.  Something that I don't think has been covered in this thread to date is that pertaining to future access.  With the situation as it is at present we are completely reliant on the whims of landowners.  As many of the AntiCROWs have been very quick to point out, on idiot can sour that relationship and lead to a loss of permission, whatever the access restrictions are.  Equally a new landowner can have a different view on access (as has occurred in a non-caving situation in the village I live in).   This has been vocally voiced by various diggers with regard to surface digging permission.  However this can easily also affect access to existing caves.  Across all regions in the UK there are plenty of examples of caves where access is denied by the landowner (I don't know how many of these are on CROW land, but that s a different point).  For many of these caves extended negotiations with the landowners have failed to provide access, though patient work such as that a Pen Park can work (even if it takes decades).  My point would be that if caving were allowed under CROW then landowners would in future find it hard to exclude cavers from a large proportion of our caves, this I think is a really big gain.

6.  Finally I think that CROW may actually be of benefit to cave conservation in the UK?  This may seem a little odd given some of the conservation worries expounded above, but I'll try to put my point across.  Many of the access agreements in the UK are in operation for a wide variety of reasons other than conservation.  A substantial number have been in operation for many years with little change over that time.  With the coming of CROW, cavers will have to think carefully about how to conserve those caves now opened up - it is our responsibility as no one else is looking after the caves for us.  Conservation is an easy and emotive subject to use to beat up anyone in favour of more open access.  However, I would argue that true preservation of our caves would only be practical if no one ever went down them.  Clearly I don't think that is a desirable position!  I understand that CROW does allow for protection of special features on access land, therefore we will need to identify those caves which the caving community believes warrant special protection.  My view on this is that the only really effective method of providing protection to a cave is by gating it and using warden led trips.  So the quid pro-quo for CROW would be that a number of caves would be actively protected, and the reasons for providing that protection would have to be discussed and circulated to the caving community.  This would provide a relatively high level of protection to the most vulnerable caves, and at the same time I believe reduce the likelihood of gate damage as there would be more caves easily accessible and people would better understand why specific sites were gated.

Sorry for the essay, but I really think this is an important debate.

Offline TheBitterEnd

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Re: Some good news on cave access
« Reply #195 on: April 07, 2014, 08:06:38 am »
As I said in #54 above, exceptional situations are by definition exceptions. The CRoW act allows for such exceptions, for example section 26 subsection 3a allows for exclusion or restriction of access for "the purpose of conserving flora, fauna or geological or physiographical features of the land in question".

If there are caves on CRoW land that need to be excluded then we should get them excluded and not use a tiny handful of exceptions to control the situation nationally. Nationally the vast, vast, vast majority of caves on CRoW land need no special treatment and a significant proportion of those are already open access. However if we continue to accept the misguided view that caves are excluded from CRoW we could loose that access on a landowners whim.
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Online Pete K

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Re: Some good news on cave access
« Reply #196 on: April 07, 2014, 08:08:45 am »
Graham, surely he is entitled to his point of view in much the same way as you are? I happen to disagree with both of you but I don't lose sleep over it, after all, the majority opinion is the one that will move forward. There will of course be objections and set backs for the minority side but they will be overcome eventually.

Offline Simon Wilson

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Re: Some good news on cave access
« Reply #197 on: April 07, 2014, 08:33:05 am »
I do not want to see the CNCC in control of anything because they clearly cannot be trusted.

But you must take some responsibility for that, surely? Earby has been a member of the CNCC Committee since at least 2008.

The EPC decided to stand for election as a committee member after we discovered that the CNCC was been run improperly. We had previously assumed that the CNCC was adhering to it's constitution and keeping correct minutes. The EPC are responsible for attempting to reform the CNCC.

Kay Easton, please apologise.

Offline Peter Burgess

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Re: Some good news on cave access
« Reply #198 on: April 07, 2014, 08:45:35 am »
Do you think it would stop people illegally ripping locks off gates? If so, I'm all for it.

In some cases it might well do so, in others maybe not.

(Only way to be 100% certain that locks and gates will not be damaged or removed is to refrain from putting them there in the first place.)

Does this mean that you are now in favour of caving on CRoW land, Peter?
I am merely pointing out that in recent times this is the most serious access issue, in my opinion, that has popped up in South Wales. I can't for the life of me see how sorting out CRoW access would resolve it, but it was your comment that there are issues that need resolution that caused me to suggest it. Ripping legitimately placed locks off, or changing them, causes more division between cavers than union. Any caver who does this and thinks it's for the better good is deluded. Nothing to do with CRoW at all.

Offline Simon Wilson

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Re: Some good news on cave access
« Reply #199 on: April 07, 2014, 08:54:15 am »
People have started mentioning talking to the landowners and seeing what they think. ............
.......................Would anyone else support such an idea?

That will not happen with the present CNCC officers. The person who claims to be the CNCC 'Access Officer' will not do that because he is firmly of the view that CRoW does not cover caves. An attempt to change the 'Access Officer' was thwarted by trickery. There is an elected post called "Access and Conservation Officer" which has been incorrectly called "Conservation Officer" in the presently published version of the constitution. A candidate attempted to stand for the post of 'Access Officer' at the AGM and was told that it is not an elected post. That is untrue and the candidate should have been allowed to stand for the post of Access and Conservation Officer.

 

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