the state of the nations caves
Here we will take a look at the current state of the nations caves. Each cave area is considered in detail and it soon becomes clear that many of our caves have suffered extensive damage over the years and that the rate of deterioration is increasing in line with the number of visitors. General consensus is that education has a very important role to play but that this is unlikely to be a solution in itself. Although no one likes access controls it is generally accepted that this may provide the only solution in some cases.
The area that is an exception is the Magnesian limestone east of the Pennines. Here the caves could do with more visitors, primarily to establish that there is an interest in them. Without this recognition it is difficult to persuade anyone else that the caves have a scientific and recreational interest.
There are other pressures on our caves and these are identified and summarised for each area. These pressures vary in degree and type as does the solution and the importance of dealing with the problems locally is clear.
The following reviews therefore serve to highlight the problems in each area and although they do not offer any magical solutions they draw a definite line from which we should move forward.
As the situation in each area is ever evolving some reports may be slightly dated. Efforts are being made to update them as soon as possible.