The village of Clapham in the Yorkshire Dales is a delightful place to visit.It contains a handful of pretty stone cottages, a pub, a couple of cafes ,a village shop, an eclectic vintage store and a Mountain Rescue base for nearby Ingleborough, one of the Three Peaks. If you don’t fancy a spot of hill walking or climbing , then I recommend the pretty nature trail through Ingleborough Estate and a tour of Ingleborough Cave instead. 🙂
We parked on the National Park’s Car park in the village, which is quite expensive so bring plenty of change. From there we walked past the church and followed the brook to the beginning of the nature trail, which is well sign posted. There is an honesty box for contributions toward its upkeep.
There is a slight incline before you get to a lake. The lake is man- made and was created by an ancestor of the family who own the Ingleborough estate. Reginald Farrer was a renowned botanist and explorer. He collected many new species of rhododendrons, shrubs and alpines in China, Burma and Tibet in the early 1900’s. Most still survive today. His unusual gardening technique of firing the seeds with a shotgun at a cliff face to distribute the rock plants , seems to have worked. 🙂
We put Hugo on his lead in the woodland and kept to the main path, as he is one for wandering ! I would have loved to have explored a bit more and discovered Reginald’s collection of exotic plants. Instead we made do with our own beautiful native wildflowers, which are abundant on the trail.
The building above is known as ‘The Grotto’ and was built in the 19th Century to shelter those who wanted to sit back and admire the scenery.
After the woodland, the landscape opens out onto limestone pastures ,so we let Hugo have a play in the babbling brook. 🙂 As you can see the path is pretty decent and is so all the way along. I would definitely say that it is suitable for prams, pushchairs, wheelchairs etc.
The Entrance to the Cave soon comes into sight! I go and investigate the little shop and it seems a tour is about to start in 5 minutes. There are only two other couples putting on hard hats , so we decide to go for it. Hugo does not have to wear a hat , though I think it would have suited him. ;).
Our Guide ‘Jude’ was really enthusiastic and regaled us with the history of Ingleborough Show Cave and how it to was first explored in 1837 by members of the Farrer family, after a massive flood revealed it. The intrepid Victorians made their staggering discoveries dressed in tweed and carrying candles! Stalagmites and stalactites galore. Today the cave retains its treasures for everyone to view and the interesting tour is well worth the £9 charge.
We really enjoyed our exploration of Ingleborough Cave. The tour is well lit and there is a concrete path to follow. There is quite a bit of head ducking , so be warned if you are pretty tall! Afterwards we warmed up with hot drinks and made our way back to Clapham, via the trail. It was wonderful to catch the odd glimpse of dippers darting up the stream. 🙂 Of course if you want to carry on over the pack horse bridge and up to Gaping Gill ( a natural pothole cave), there is more to discover…….
Once back at the trail entrance I happened to glance up at the wall and saw a male pheasant perched there. It was so completely still that I actually thought it was a plastic model at first ! What beautiful birds pheasants are. 🙂
And two inquisitive pugs woofed their goodbyes from a Clapham Village Garden.