High Birkwith Farm is now under new ownership and potentially this could cause problems for access to Calf Holes, Browgill, Old Ing, Birkwith, Dismal Hill and other smaller caves in an area used quite heavily for novice trips by clubs and outdoor groups.
One caver who has met the new owner explained that that he was friendly but was unhappy about cavers driving up the track to park.
The CNCC have issued a statement indicating previous access arrangements may not continue. The statement continues:
“If you visit these caves please be aware of this change of ownership and expect that access to park cars and to the caves may be denied. Most important of all please be especially respectful and courteous as the impression you give the new owners of cavers in the first few encounters may set the tone of future relationships to come.”
They go on to state that a provisional meeting between CNCC access officer Tim Allen and the new owners has been arranged but warn that any new agreement may take some time and they confirm that these caves are not on access land so there are no rights or way, other than to the use of footpaths and bridle paths.
The advice on the CNCC web site remains ‘Call at house’, but obviously this may change.