Author Topic: High Birkwith caves - important  (Read 4588 times)

Offline Badlad

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High Birkwith caves - important
« on: December 03, 2018, 09:10:23 pm »
The sale of High Birkwith farm was reported on this thread back in August https://ukcaving.com/board/index.php?topic=23868.0  It would appear that the sale has now gone through and there are new owners in the process of moving in. 

This will affect the popular caves of Calf Holes, Browgill, Old Ing, Birkwith and Dismal Hill which are used extensively for novice trips by clubs and outdoor groups alike.  It must be expected that with a change of ownership, previous access arrangements may not continue.  This would appear to be the case and early reports suggest the new owners may not wish to give the same freedoms of access that cavers have enjoyed for many years. 

If you visit these caves please be aware of this change of ownership and expect that access to park cars and to the caves may be denied.  Most important of all please be especially respectful and courteous as the impression you give the new owners of cavers in the first few encounters may set the tone of future relationships to come.

Be assured that the CNCC is already on the case.  We have arranged a provisional meeting but nothing will happen immediately and the family will wish to settle into their new home.  Please use all your club and caver networks to spread this message and please emphasise the need to make a good first impression.

These caves are not on access land so there are no rights other than the footpaths and bridle ways which cross the farm.  If we wish to maintain access to these important beginner caves then we need to act as a responsible community.  Please be smart.

Tim Allen
CNCC Access Officer

Offline markpot

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Re: High Birkwith caves - important
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2018, 10:14:50 pm »
Thanks for the update,fingers crossed access can be maintained.

Offline Ed

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Re: High Birkwith caves - important
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2018, 10:24:22 pm »
Suspect after all this time there is a Right of Prescription on access

Offline HardenClimber3

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Re: High Birkwith caves - important
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2018, 10:36:27 pm »
We can be helpful too....
(September 2018)


Offline HardenClimber3

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Re: High Birkwith caves - important
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2018, 11:17:20 pm »
Red Moss will also be harder to access.
First impressions are vital...

(the sheep was found - uninjured - exploring Calf Holes on CPC's Try Caving Weekend)

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: High Birkwith caves - important
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2018, 10:13:49 am »
Suspect after all this time there is a Right of Prescription on access

Doesn't that approach only apply if people have been going without permission for a specified amount of years? My view is that Tim's advice in the original post is best followed by all of us. (Thanks Tim and the CNCC team by the way.)

I know someone who may be going to ask permission (politely!) for one of the Birkwith caves later this week. If that happens, I'll post an update on what sort of reception they got.  If I don't post this information, it means there's nowt extra to tell.

Well done for posting that image HardenClimber3. I remember many years ago the British Sub Aqua Club had a campaign along the lines of "You're safer with a diver on the beach". (It was to do with all divers having at least basic skills in CPR and first aid, so if a member of the public got into difficulties, any sports divers present could help quickly.) In a similar sort of way, maybe we ought to flag up the fact that cavers are always happy to help the farming community whenever an opportunity arises?

Offline adventurebarbie

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Re: High Birkwith caves - important
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2018, 01:39:23 pm »
I really hope that access can be negotiated especially due to the nature, accessibility and beauty of those caves.
It would be a significant loss to the caving community :'-(

Those caves I'm sure many will agree have been the starting point and subsequent inspiration for lots of many great caving experiences and exploration. I am however assured by Tim being our representative for the caving community, in its many forms and shapes and I hope that an agreement can be negotiated that is beneficial and tolerable by both parties. 

Fingers crossed
Shannon Group, BPC, CDG

Offline BrightAire

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Re: High Birkwith caves - important
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2018, 10:03:14 am »
I read this on another forum this morning "I believe people were caving over there last week add no problems and we’re talking to new owner". This sounds promising but personally I'll be staying away until a more definitive position is reached as, possibly, the pressure of responding to lots of visitors, however courteous, could jeopardise negotiations...

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: High Birkwith caves - important
« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2018, 10:53:47 am »
That seems a fair comment. Let 'em get properly settled in, get Christmas etc over - and then leave it to the CNCC to make proper arrangements thereafter.

There's no shortage of alternative places to go caving around the Dales.

Offline Badlad

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Re: High Birkwith caves - important
« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2018, 03:05:02 pm »
Just to be clear. 

The CNCC has not asked cavers to keep away from High Birkwith.  We have informed everyone that there has been a change of ownership and that they should not assume that previous access arrangements will continue.  Most importantly everyone who contacts the new owners should be respectful and courteous and have in mind that the impression cavers set in the early weeks may well set the tone for our future relationship.

I know several groups have been up to the farm and granted access to the caves.  This was not the case initially and the owners do have some access concerns.  The CNCC has spoken with the new owners on several occasions and have a provisional meeting to discuss access concerns in more detail arranged for the new year (at the request of the owners).  Until then and while the owners settle in to their new home please continue to be on your best behaviour. 

Spread the word
Thank you
Tim Allen - CNCC Access Officer
Working together for northern caving

Offline Jungle Jackson

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Re: High Birkwith caves - important
« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2018, 12:17:55 pm »
I've pulled 3 sheep out of Calf Holes over the years in a similar way to the photo.  Just as a "by the way" and not diminishing from the excellent reporting so far;  Calf Holes is not on High Birkwith land.  Browgill and everything to west of the track next to Calf Holes (the other side of the track) IS on High Birkwith Land.  And you park on High Birkwith land in the places that they ask you to in order to get to Calf Holes. 
Happy New Year to all of us!

Offline A_Northerner

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Re: High Birkwith caves - important
« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2019, 02:12:03 pm »
I visited on Sunday with a view to taking SUSS novices down Calf Holes, paid a courtesy call not knowing what to expect - I was asked to pay £10 per car to park beyond the gate. I asked if I could park back down the lane and cross the owner's land on foot to access the cave, he advised me to park way back along the road and not to block any gates or lay-bys.

I didn't end up going caving there as I couldn't find an appropriate place to leave my car and didn't want to cause any more fuss by putting it in the wrong place. The novices had a lovely time down the Churns instead  :)

Not sure if this is a similar experience other people have had or if I just caught the owner on the wrong day. £10 seemed to be too steep for me to believe he actually expects people to pay that much and he'd just rather they kept their cars off his land. I know the previous owners asked for a much smaller fee for the same privilege.
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Offline Alex

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Re: High Birkwith caves - important
« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2019, 02:16:54 pm »
Looks like it's best to park in Horton and then do a long walk. As the cave is a short trip I guess it makes more a day out of it? If I ever do go there again, I will know to bring my mountain bike, but the land owner would probably want to charge at least a fiver for that!
« Last Edit: February 18, 2019, 02:26:45 pm by Alex »
Anything I say is represents my own opinion and not that of a any club/organisation that I am a member of (unless its good of course)

Offline Badlad

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Re: High Birkwith caves - important
« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2019, 02:23:00 pm »
The CNCC are speaking with the High Birkwith owners at present about this.  The likely outcome is that access to the caves will be free but there will be a charge to park.  At present he has set this at £10 per car.  Unfortunately there are few options to park elsewhere which doesn't include a long walk.  We will let everyone know the final outcome soon.

Offline Alex

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Re: High Birkwith caves - important
« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2019, 02:33:29 pm »
Is there a foot path going from Selside?
Anything I say is represents my own opinion and not that of a any club/organisation that I am a member of (unless its good of course)

Offline kay

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Re: High Birkwith caves - important
« Reply #15 on: February 18, 2019, 02:45:11 pm »
I can see why he wants to set it per car - it's the car which does the damage to the track, not the person. If there were 4 of you, you could park elsewhere and pile into 1 car for the final approach, when £2.50 per person doesn't feel quite so bad. But you'd have to find somewhere for the other 3 cars - I don't know what the official parking in Horton is, but the "private enterprise" parking could be £9 for 3 cars.

Is he charging the same for minibuses?

Alex - there's a public right of way from Selside, 3-4km, but I don't know what the river crossing is like - there isn't a bridge.


Offline Cripplecreeker

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Re: High Birkwith caves - important
« Reply #16 on: February 18, 2019, 04:45:37 pm »
Coincidentally I took the path from Selside to High Birkwith (on the bike) yesterday. It’s just over 2 miles from the parking - there’s a footbridge over the Ribble, and another one over Coppy Gill just beyond. It’s a pretty easy walk.

Offline kay

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Re: High Birkwith caves - important
« Reply #17 on: February 19, 2019, 07:40:42 am »
OK, correction to my post: There isn't a bridge marked on the OS map.  ;)

Good to know there's a bridge - looks like you could include the path in a nice short circular walk.

Offline langcliffe

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Re: High Birkwith caves - important
« Reply #18 on: February 19, 2019, 08:18:12 am »
OK, correction to my post: There isn't a bridge marked on the OS map.  ;)

There is on mine!


Offline marysboy

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Re: High Birkwith caves - important
« Reply #19 on: February 19, 2019, 02:06:12 pm »
I took the path from Selside to High Birkwith (on the bike)
marked on OS map as a public footpath (no bridleway rights for bike riding)

Offline Cave_Troll

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Re: High Birkwith caves - important
« Reply #20 on: February 19, 2019, 02:48:42 pm »
remind me how much Alum Pot charges ?

Offline Cripplecreeker

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Re: High Birkwith caves - important
« Reply #21 on: February 19, 2019, 04:08:05 pm »
I took the path from Selside to High Birkwith (on the bike)
marked on OS map as a public footpath (no bridleway rights for bike riding)
4
 :spank: Sorry Ian.

Offline HardenClimber3

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Re: High Birkwith caves - important
« Reply #22 on: February 19, 2019, 08:39:08 pm »
In addition to the path, the peninne bridleway, leaves the road at SD 7870 7473, a bit to the South. I think there is some nearby parking, but it falls into Horton's goole black hole.
These are a bit quicker than walking from Horton, but there needs to be some thought about parking so we don't inconvenience the folk in Selside (I've found the farmers round there to be friendly & helpful...so lets not abuse that).


Offline kay

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Re: High Birkwith caves - important
« Reply #23 on: February 20, 2019, 08:02:42 am »
OK, correction to my post: There isn't a bridge marked on the OS map.  ;)

There is on mine!


Time I updated my map, then! (OL2, 1997)

Offline kay

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Re: High Birkwith caves - important
« Reply #24 on: February 20, 2019, 08:05:48 am »
remind me how much Alum Pot charges ?

£1 a head (or is it 50p?) so not more than £5 a car. (Cue reminiscences about gross overloading of cars)

Offline Cavematt

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Re: High Birkwith caves - important
« Reply #25 on: February 20, 2019, 09:58:11 am »
I think that the fee at Alum Pot (£1/head) is not for parking (I think it's a green lane). The fee is for crossing the private land leading up to Alum Pot and then accessing the caves not on open access land. If I'm right on this then it means you can park on Alum Pot lane and walk to Birkwith without paying the charge. However, this is not necessarily a good situation as Alum Pot lane is often already very busy anyway, and adding the traffic for the Birkwith caves (which may include lots of vehicles particularly around university first terms) will cause serious congestion, which would be best avoided to keep good local relations in Selside. I'm sure Tim and Alan, who are pursuing this for the CNCC, will come up with some sensible options and suggestions  ;D
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Offline marysboy

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Re: High Birkwith caves - important
« Reply #26 on: February 20, 2019, 12:19:58 pm »
I took the path from Selside to High Birkwith (on the bike)
marked on OS map as a public footpath (no bridleway rights for bike riding)
4
 :spank: Sorry Ian.
don't apologise to me!  i made the comment to warn prospective bike-mounted cavers

Offline kay

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Re: High Birkwith caves - important
« Reply #27 on: February 20, 2019, 10:09:12 pm »
Yes, Matt, you're right on your understanding of the Alum Pot fee. Don't know if it's still there, but at one time there was a notice at the top of the lane basically saying "if you want to go any further you need to go and pay your fee".

I suppose the obvious solution would be to harmonise the fees at Selside and Birkwith so there was no great advantage to parking at Selside if you wanted to go to Birkwith.

Offline Simon Beck

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Re: High Birkwith caves - important
« Reply #28 on: February 26, 2019, 08:53:43 pm »
I can understand a charge for minibuses which do tend to be commercial outfits but expecting the average visitor to pay £10/car is downright unreasonable, greedy, and if you ask me, lacking in foresight, with the hassle caused by folk parking along the main lane leading to High Birkwith instead.   

Offline PeteHall

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Re: High Birkwith caves - important
« Reply #29 on: February 26, 2019, 09:06:52 pm »
In my uni club, we used to bring a minibus on freshers trips to the High Birkwith caves, so not just commercial outfits. Mind you, at £15 that's only £1 each, which wouldn't even get you half a pint in a student bar!

£10 for a car does seem steep, but it's still only £2 each if you fill the car. It will certainly encourage car sharing though, which might well be what they are trying to achieve, reducing vehicle access, rather than just being greedy.
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Offline CNCC

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Re: High Birkwith caves - important
« Reply #30 on: February 26, 2019, 09:22:07 pm »
Council of Northern Caving Clubs; Working together for northern caving since 1963

Offline CNCC

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Re: High Birkwith caves - important
« Reply #31 on: February 26, 2019, 09:49:57 pm »
One of the key messages Andrew and Alan took away from their meetings at High Birkwith is that this is nothing to do with greed. In proportion to the purchase price of High Birkwith I don't think the revenue this will generate is of any significance; plus the money will be put towards maintaining the parking area and honesty box. The aim is more to try to avoid lots of cars turning up by encouraging car sharing (a full car being only £2pp, and a full minibus much less).

They could have disallowed parking altogether. At least the option for this is still there should you wish.
Council of Northern Caving Clubs; Working together for northern caving since 1963

Offline Simon Beck

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Re: High Birkwith caves - important
« Reply #32 on: February 26, 2019, 10:43:50 pm »
Apologies for appearing curt with my prior comment, I can of course appreciate their good intentions, and although it may not be driven by greed, for those of us who wouldn't generally be visiting with a car full of chums to split the cost, £10 is still an unreasonable ask for what it is.       
« Last Edit: February 26, 2019, 11:02:06 pm by Simon Beck »

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: High Birkwith caves - important
« Reply #33 on: February 27, 2019, 11:25:30 am »
I guess it's their land and their prerogative to manage things this way. Their position on access to the caves themselves is superb. For cavers who are struggling to afford the charge for parking, it's possible to walk in less far, less steeply and probably with less gear than you would, say, for a trip in the GG system. I don't think we can complain too much.

By the way, many thanks to those who have been negotiating on our behalf. It could have ended up far worse.

Offline Ed

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Re: High Birkwith caves - important
« Reply #34 on: February 27, 2019, 11:30:13 am »
Simon......£10 still less than a pack of fags and a pint.

Almost on par with climbing wall price. How about free parking and £8 per person so it's same as other sport venues?

Is

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: High Birkwith caves - important
« Reply #35 on: February 27, 2019, 11:45:45 am »
I think their point is the parking charge is an understandable attempt to limit the number of vehicles. They've been very generous as far as visiting the actual caves is concerned.

As a general point (thinking of the country as a whole) I detest the efforts of the so called "parking industry" to extort money from us all at every opportunity. This case is different though and I think we've come out of it a lot better than we might otherwise have done.

Offline JoshW

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« Reply #36 on: February 27, 2019, 02:43:25 pm »
Simon......£10 still less than a pack of fags and a pint.

Almost on par with climbing wall price. How about free parking and £8 per person so it's same as other sport venues?

Is

when was the last time you bought a pack of fags? be lucky to pick up a pack for less than a tenner alone!