Located in Nidderdale on the border of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, Stump Cross Caverns is one of Britain’s premier show caves.
A Great Family Day Out
Stump Cross Caverns offers a range of facilities for a great family day out, including a gift shop and tea room as well as the caves themselves. Following your excursion into the caves there is an optional twenty-minute film presentation, informing visitors of the history and development of the caverns within the local area.
The formation of Stump Cross Caverns
Stump Cross Caverns began to form millions of years ago when the area which is now the Yorkshire Dales was covered by oceans. Sediment from the ocean floor would eventually form limestone, the basic material from which the caves are made. The caves themselves began to form as the limestone was eroded by weak acid rain, created when carbon dioxide from the atmosphere mixed with the precipitation to form carbonic acid.
Many years ago, underground streams found their way into the cracks and began to expand the cave system as more rock was worn away. Once the streams had gone from the upper levels of the valley the cave system was left behind, and the mineral structures that are present today slowly began to form as water dripped through the caverns.
What is the difference between stalactites and stalagmites?
Stalactites grow down from the cave ceiling, while stalagmites grow up from the cave floor. It’s easy to remember which is which: Stalactites have a “T” for top and stalagmites have a “G” for ground.
How do Stalactites and Stalagmites Form?
Stalactites and Stalagmites are formed by rainwater seeping through cracks in the rock. As it passes through organic material, it picks up carbon dioxide gas, creating carbonic acid. This weak acid passes through joints and cracks in the limestone. The mineral calcite is dissolved from the limestone rock in which a cave is formed. When this water that now holds the dissolved rock is exposed to the air in the cave, it releases the carbon dioxide gas, much like when a bottle of soda is opened. As the carbon dioxide is released, calcite is precipitated (redeposited) on cave walls, ceilings and floors. As the redeposited minerals build up after countless water drops, a stalactite is formed. If the water that drops to the floor of the cave still has some dissolved calcite in it, it can deposit more dissolved calcite there, forming a stalagmite.
Visiting Stump Cross Caverns
When visiting Stump Cross Caverns you will need to wear a hard hat as the ceiling is low in places. It is a self-guided tour of the caves, so you can take as long as you wish. You descend a steep staircase down into the caves and follow a footpath that is clearly signposted. The footpath follows the route of a stream so in sections the ground is a little wet. The caves are well lit and any points of interest were clearly signed. A one-mile section of the caves has been open to the public for many years, although the entire cave system is much more extensive than the show caves, extending more than 4 miles.
Please Note this attraction is not suitable for anyone who cannot navigate steep staircases or is afraid of confined spaces.
Read our Stump Cross Cavern Review
Childrens Quiz Sheet
Children are handed a finger torch and have the option of completing a quiz sheet for a small additional charge. This can be a real highlight for children as it gives them something to look for within the caves. The quiz sheets help children to learn some of the interesting facts about the caverns. The quiz also offers some great prizes which make lovely mementoes of your visit.
Points of Interest
Anything of interest within Stump Cross Caverns is well lit with signs providing facts and details relating to the item. The caverns are very impressive with some beautiful natural stalactites and stalagmites. The real highlights are when you get deep into the far reaches of the caverns.
Located less than 5 miles from Stump Cross Caverns is Brimham Rocks an amazing collection of balancing rock formations. Brimham Rocks is a great day out for families. Let your imagination run wild as you explore the unique landscape. Children love to climb the rock formations whilst adults take in the magnificent views over Nidderdale.
Travelling to Stump Cross Caverns
Stump Cross Cavern is located just off the B6265 between the picturesque towns of Pateley Bridge and Grassington. Due to its remote location, your best option may be to drive to the attraction. There are lots of accommodation options available in the Yorkshire Dales.
Staying near Stump Cross Caverns
There are lots of places to stay in the Yorkshire Dales. Stump Cross Caverns is surrounded by beautiful Yorkshire countryside. If you would like to spend some time in the dales and explore some of the other attractions in the area then we would recommend Snaptrip or Sykes Cottages. Stump Cross Caverns is located approximately 30 minutes drive from Skipton near the picturesque town of Pateley Bridge.
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