The limestone of the Yorkshire Dales has created a subterranean world of caves, chambers and tunnels adorned with stalactites, stalagmites and other often surreal calcite formations. Cavers, sometimes referred to as potholers or speleologists, have explored more than 2000 caves within the National Park, including the largest network in the UK, the Three Counties system. Thought to be about 55 miles long, this system – as its name suggests – passes under Cumbria, North Yorkshire and Lancashire.
Local guides can help the uninitiated experience this amazing, hidden landscape on half-day and full-day underground tours. Caving clubs also organise winch events when members of the public are lowered into Gaping Gill to see one of the largest chambers in Britain. These usually take place during bank holiday weekends at the end of May and August.