Leck Fell Access - Important Changes

27 June 2019

Access to the Caves of Leck Fell

On the 22nd June the CNCC committee voted unanimously to withdraw support and administration of the Leck Fell permit system. This system was based upon an access agreement that is now six years out of date and which we have continued out of goodwill to the landowner.

This decision follows considerable efforts to develop a more modern cave management system (the online booking system, as implemented for Ingleborough Estate) to replace the old Leck Fell access agreement. This gained initial positivity from the Leck landowners. However, it is with regret that after all this time a suitable dialogue with the estate could not be established which could have led to a seamless transit to a new consensual system.

It has been the case for decades that a significant number of cavers have regularly ignored the permit system on Leck with little ill effect on either the caves or landowner relationships. As our policy on who CNCC represents has developed, and as cavers have become more aware of their rights, the CNCC Committee has tasked its officers to renegotiate old access agreements which no longer fit with these modern standards. We have had great success on Fountains Fell, Langcliffe Hall and Ingleborough Estates as well as other areas. However, there comes a time when we just cannot continue to support the old agreements if they are no longer fit for purpose, and if a collaborative dialogue cannot be struck with the landowners.

On Leck Fell, we know the landowner prefers a managed access system. However, the area is accessed by public road and the land designated ‘access land’ under the Countryside and Rights of Way legislation. Therefore, as we have been unable to establish a consensual agreement for access to the caves of Leck Fell, we refer cavers to the information on our website (click here).

Furthermore, we refer to the BCA policy statement on the CRoW Act (click here).

The decision to discontinue support for the permit system is effective immediately. The CNCC will continue to seek consensual solutions to access issues and will continue to help and provide advice where invited. If there are any further developments, we will keep you all informed.

Tim Allen, CNCC Access Officer