Turbary Road – another walk with caves.

Keld Head Scar

The window for significant post work walks is a short one – for most of May I’m far too busy, so it’s generally June and then part of July before we head off on our annual pilgrimage to the Llyn Peninsula. This season, then, was exceptional – the weather was kind and I managed to squeeze in several good strolls despite the competing attractions of the World Cup.

This is the first of those walks, another route from Wainwright’s ‘Walks In Limestone Country’ (Which might otherwise be known as ‘Walks from the A65’ and since we live not too far from the A65, that makes it ideal). This is walk number 5: ‘The Turbary Road, Rowten Pot and Yordas Cave’, or more precisely, about a half of that route, since Wainwright has it starting and finishing in Ingleton and walking up along the lane into Kingsdale and down via Swilla Glen and the Waterfalls Walk which we did back in December, when the falls were in spate.

Small hut marks the start of the walk 

I cheated and drove along the lane to a point (692 756 ish) where it’s possible for half a dozen cars to pull onto the verge and park. If you’re at the right spot, you’ll see this neat little hut and an old limekiln just nearby where you’ve parked.

From there a good track climbs gently with good views of Ingleborough….

Twistleton Scar End, Ingleborough 

…and of Keld Head Scar, Kingsdale and Whernside….

Keld Head Scar, Kingsdale, Ingleborough II 

Eventually I left the track, looking for the trig pillar on Tow Scar. I was pleased that I did, because otherwise I might not have seen the pansies….


‘The Wildflower Key’ tells me that there are Wild Pansies and there are Mountain Pansies, and how to distinguish between them.


And these are….. drum roll…..probably one of those. If only I’d had the forethought to take pictures of the leaves, I might have more idea. They didn’t seem to be particularly widespread, but they were locally quite abundant…


Now that my attention had been drawn to the ground around my feet, I found that there was plenty more to see.

Heath Speedwell? 

I was pleased that I knew these for a speedwell, but beyond that I’m not very confident. Heath speedwell is my best guess.


I shan’t even hazard a guess for these last two. A yellow flower and some white flowers!

Abundant white flowers 

These tiny white flowers were particularly abundant and starred the sward in a very cheerful fashion.

Tow Scar  - looking towards Gragareth 

Tow Scar is not an especially prominent spot, but it has good views out over the Lune Valley and looking up to Gragareth, and across Twistleton Scar End to Ingleborough….

Ingleborough from Tow Scar 

The walk was further enlivened by a number of butterflies and, once again, by wheatears posing for shots…


The Turbary Road is a track once used by peat-cutters. It traverses a kind of plateau between Kingsdale below and Gragareth above, and the land around is fissured with potholes and caves.

This is Kail Pot….

Kail Pot 

Somewhere above the track is Swinsto Hole, which my old friend Andy could tell all about, from a trip we made many moons ago. I chickened out at the first, short, but committing, abseil. 

Turbary Road and Whernside 

Hard by the track is Rowten Pot….

Rowten Pot 

Quite large and impressive, but hard to do justice to in a photo. Incidentally, the tree on the right here was liberally coated with webs, presumably from some kind of tent moth, although I couldn’t see the moths. The water flowing through the pot was very audible and could also just about be seen below.

Looking down into Rowten Pot 

There are several openings hereabouts. This stream flows into Rowten Cave and then eventually down into Rowten Pot. Wainwright says that it’s easy, if a little uncomfortable, to follow it down, past a side stream flowing in from Jingling Pot to the bottom of Rowten Pot. It would have been a very wet trip, and I decided to save it for another occasion. There’s also a passage off to the left, which Wainwright says is ‘dry’. It wasn’t.

Rowten Cave 

I found it’s far end and then followed a narrow winding passage down to the confluence, before turning back to this alternative, drier exit:

Rowten Cave 

After Rowten Pot I managed to wander off the track, but serendipitously, found this narrow, deep pothole which doesn’t seem to appear on my OS map.

Another Cave? 

Of all my post-work walks this year, this was by far and away the most populous. I met several dog-walkers near the start and again close to the finish, one fell-runner on the Turbary Road and two mountain bikers at Rowten Pot. As I wandered down towards Yordas Pot, on access land but well away from any right-of-way, a farmer on a quad-bike with a long-barrelled rifle casually slung across his back, made a bee-line for me. Fortunately, he was just after a friendly chat.

Where the Turbary Road meets the metalled lane, a rocky dell hides the entrance to Yordas cave.

Yordas Cave 

The main cave is huge. This was a show cave once upon a time, but is now quiet, and free, and can be explored at will. It took my eyes ages to adjust to the gloom and at first I stumbled around, cursing my ‘useless’ headtorch.

The entrance from the inside 

But, once my eyes had tuned in, I found that there was plenty to admire and examine.

Rock feature - some kind of dinosaur? 

I was surprised that my camera and its flash coped reasonably well with my snaps of the walls of the cave.


More cave featuers 

Even more cave features 

It coped less well with the lovely chapter house waterfall at one end of the cavern….


There’s a better photograph of the waterfall, and a much more detailed write-up of the cave here.

Back outside the slight haze had cleared and the final leg of the walk, back along the valley on the lane, was accompanied by lovely evening sunshine.


Kingsdale had one more surprise for me: a dry streambed….

Kingsdale - dry river bed 

Which at Keld Head suddenly fills with water….

Keld Head 

…..which becomes the River Twist and flows over Thorton Force and the Pecca Falls on the famous Waterfalls Walk.

Twistleton Scar End and the River Twist

A terrific evening out and about, and a walk I think my kids will love. I had intended to have shared it with them by now, but somehow I haven’t got around to it yet. Soon…..

Oh, almost forgot…..some folks appreciate a map….

Kingsdale Map

Turbary Road – another walk with caves.

7 thoughts on “Turbary Road – another walk with caves.

        1. beatingthebounds says:

          I was quite dismayed by just how little I could see to begin with, I felt like I was stumbling around blind. Once my eyes had adjusted it, it wasn’t so bad – I could manage, but better lights would always be good.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s