Limestone scenery; underground water; unusual landscapes and sink holes

06 October 2011


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Ingleborough is one of the famous Three Peaks of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Together with Pen-y-ghent and Whernside, this mountainous area is celebrated and protected for it’s special wildlife, geology and spectacular scenery. The dramatic limestone landscape that can be seen here today was formed from sediments laid down in shallow tropical seas over 300 million years ago, the limestone rocks have been eroded ever since. Glaciers on the surface and water underground have combined to create wide, u-shaped valleys, extensive limestone pavements and a vast network of cave passages.

Bog Cotton, Ingleborough

The Ingleborough Limestone Trail is a perfect way to discover limestone country first hand. A gentle 3km trail takes you along the limestone benches below Ingleborough summit. The wide glaciated valley of Chapel-le-dale sweeps below you drawing your eye to the distant sea, whilst sinkholes, shakeholes, swallow holes and pots can all be discovered en route. There is little evidence of rivers or streams, as water over thousands of years, has carved its way through the limestone beds to create subterranean passageways and calcite caverns that drain water off the hillside into the river valley below. A fine example of this is Middle Washfold Cave, here the stream submerges under limestone pavement and then resurges as a waterfall some ½ km away at Great Douk Cave entrance before plunging underground again.

Land of waterfalls and caves, Ingleborough and the surrounding area offers some of the finest limestone scenery in Britain and also contains the majority of limestone pavement found in the UK.

Information about the limestone walk can be found here: http://www.yorkshiredales.org.uk/59504_ydmt_southerscales_walk_2.pdf

Information about Ingleborough National Nature Reserve can be found here: http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/ourwork/conservation/designatedareas/nnr/1006082.aspx

For further information, please contact Tanya St. Pierre tanya.stpierre@naturalengland.org.uk

Posted by Tanya St. Pierre, Natural England

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