8 July 2024

Robinsons' Pot access

Individual access to Robinsons' Pot

Robinsons' Pot in Darnbrook is certainly a cave with one of the quirkiest entrances in our region... a manhole cover situated directly underneath the main building of Darnbrook Farm!

As well as not being on access land, cavers visiting this site are naturally rather conspicuous to the friendly tenants, who often need to move their parked vehicle from obstructing the entrance. 

For all of these reasons, access to Robinsons' Pot is always going to come with restrictions.

Robinsons' Pot is an outstanding caving trip. A series of crawls, traverses and chambers lead down to the main streamway, where a crawl in the water reaches the magnificent MacColl's Rift, an enormous chamber. From there, varied passage leads to a short pitch/climb down into a fine section of streamway which can be explored for a few hundred metres, with some wetter extensions for those feeling keen.

For many years we have held an agreement with the National Trust which has allowed clubs, but not individuals, to gain permits for access. Five dates each year were originally specified (to minimise inconvenience to the tenants) but in 2015, Ric Halliwell negotiated this up to eight, including:

  • The first Saturday of May/June/July/August/September
  • The third Saturday of May/July/September

A few months ago, we revisited the Robinsons' Pot access agreement. This was partly to correct areas that had become inaccurate over the years (including updating our name), but also to reflect the way BCA insurance currently works so that individual cavers are not unfairly excluded from access due to outdated wording.

We are thankful to the representative from The National Trust, who was supportive of our requested updates.

A requirement of National Trust is public liability insurance, something we know from discussions a few years ago about Birks Fell Cave. With Birks Fell Cave being on access land, this naturally afforded a right to access and protection to the landowner, hence we were able to bring this site out of access restrictions altogether. However, with Robinsons' Pot being underneath a National Trust building, not on access land, BCA insurance is essential to them.

By modernising the agreement, we can now grant permits to BCA individual members (CIMs and DIMs) as well as to BCA member clubs. This aligns with our continued commitment to work on behalf of all cavers.

Our Access Coordinator can arrange permits by email, but please be mindful that the tenants at Darnbrook Farm need to be given advanced notice of which dates cavers will be visiting, to ensure the entrance is unobstructed. Therefore, please try to plan your trip in advance, and be assured that the effort to do so is thoroughly worthwhile.

Click here for all access details and a route description.

The classic sporting trip can be completed in about 3-4 hours. If you are looking for more adventure afterwards, why not visit nearby Darnbrook Pot or Cherry Tree Hole, both of which just require a courtesy call with the tenants of the farm. Alternatively, if the weather is really dry (and has been for the last few days) a short drive will bring you to Sleets Gill Cave, home to one of the most inspiring railway tunnel-like cave passages in our region.

Photos courtesy of Gary Douthwaite.

Copyright 2024 Council for the Northern Caving Community.