On west side of the Thornton to Dent road, in a small plantation, 1,5 km beyond Braida Garth. 100 m walk from the road.
|Karst cave Lower Carboniferous limestone
|L=213 m, VR=43 m, A=312 m asl. Biggest Chamber: L=50 m, W=15 m, H=15 m.
|L=100 m, D=30 min.
John Hutton (1780):
A Tour to the Caves in the Environs of Ingleborough and Settle,
pp. 14-18 (reprinted 1970).
William Westall (1818): Views of the caves near Ingleton, Gordal Scar, and Malham Cove, in Yorkshire. London: John Murray.
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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|first described in detail by Richard Pococke.
|marked on Thomas Jefferys map of Yorkshire.
|described by John Hutton in an appendix to Thomas West's A Guide to the Lakes.
|visited by William Wordsworth, the English Romantic poet.
|exterior and interior sketched by William Turner, the English Romantic painter.
|a devastating flood fills much of the chamber with debris.
|three views of Yordas Cave in William Westall's book of aquatinted engraved views of Yorkshire.
|visited by Robert R. Balderstone.
|first through trip from the entrance in the upper gorge by the Yorkshire Ramblers' Club.
|Back Door Entrance opened up by members of the Northern Cavern and Fell Club.
|Yordas Pot entrance appeared after a storm blew over a tree covering the shaft.
|Yordas Pot explored by members of the Gritstone Club.
The name Yordas Cave is derived from the Norse Jord ass or Jörð á which means earth stream. There are many streams in the area, and why this one would be an "earth" stream remains unclear. Another legend tells, it is the lair of the infant-devouring Norse giant Yordas. We are not the first to wonder how a giant would fit through the relatively small, human sized entrance. However, this story has already been told by the local guide to geologist John Hutton in 1780 when he visited the cave.
The cave was run as a show cave by its owners in the early part of the 19th century, so it is often described as a Victorian show cave. There are stone steps from this time at the main entrance, leading down into the main hall. Also, there are cave descriptions from that time (see links below). But the guided part of the cave was at that time only the main chamber.
The entrance to Yordas Cave leads directly into the main chamber named Great Hall of the Giant Yordas. This is a rather big chamber of 50 m by 15 m and up to 15 m high. There are three small passages leaving this hall to the right and to the left. The smaller second chamber called the Chapter House contains a waterfall.
There is a theory, that many of the places in Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë are originally in Yorkshire. If this is true, the most likely place for Emily's Fairy Cave would be Yordas Cave. This sounds very likely, as this cave was a rather famous show cave at the time Emily Brontë wrote this book. And she attended the Clergy Daughters' School in nearby Cowan Bridge,
Like many caves in the area this cave is a result of contact karst. Water flowing as a subaerial brook over crystalline, insoluble rock until it reaches the border of the limestone, vanishes immediately underground. In this case they are called Yordas Pot and Yordas Sinks, where the brook vanishes undergroung in a waterfall. The caving or cave trekking visit of the cave starts at this entrance of the cave with an abseil and a walk through the cave river until it reaches the cave entrance. But even if you do not plan the through trip, the chasm and the waterfall are worth the short hike.
The cave is on the ground of Braida Garth Farm and private property. Nevertheless, it is inside the Yorkshire Dales park and not closed. There is a website which recommends to ask the owner at Braida Garth Farm before entering the cave. We would recommend, not to do this. How would you feel if you work hard and are disturbed several times a day by tourists who want to visit your cave for free? If it were not okay for them, they could simply add a gate. But although permission is not required, please visit the cave respectfully and responsibly.
It is not possible to visit the cave after heavy rains, as the main chamber may flood up to 2 m high. In summer it is normally possible to visit the cave in walking shoes, although rubber boots are recommended.