Yorkshire Photo Explorer

How Stean Gorge

How Stean Tunnel

How Stean Gorge is a limestone ravine near Lofthouse in Nidderdale, North Yorkshire. It makes for some challenging but fun photography. There can’t be many places where you can walk along a ravine, through limestone tunnels and through a pitch black cave on your own. It certainly is a different subject from the usual rolling hillsides of the area.

Once you’ve paid the entrance fee, you pick up a hard hat at the gate to begin exploring. Two things are absolutely essential to make the most of your time here: wellies and a good torch. The former is needed for the How Stean Tunnel, which has water flowing through it. The second is required for both the tunnel and Tom Taylor’s Cave. If you don’t have a torch, or forget to bring one, they sell them in the shop. They also provide you with a map at reception.

How Stean Gorge

Bridge across How Stean Gorge

I started off walking down to the water’s edge at the bottom of the gorge. I took some general shots and some details of the water gushing over the limestone. Be warned – the rocks are VERY slippery. I made my way along the rough path, climbing over the rocky outcrops. I enjoyed watching the groups doing gorge walking through the water – it looks like a lot of fun (one to try in the future). The other end of the gorge is wider, accessed by a narrow path with low hanging rocks (the hard hat is helpful here) and some wobbly bridges across the gorge. It was very pretty with the trees surrounding the river.

I then made my way through Tom Taylor’s cave by torchlight. It really is pitch black inside. The central chamber is impressive and I enjoyed climbing through the narrow entrance and up the rocks at the end to reach daylight. I didn’t take any pictures as I had not brought my flash (a bit of an oversight), so you’ll have to take my word on this!

Finally I made my way to How Stean Tunnel (the main picture at the top of this post). There is a sign pointing to the entrance behind the Aslan statue: I tried this and ended up lowering myself as far as I could go, then sliding down the rock and into the water. I’m sure there is a much more graceful way. I then discovered it is much easier to go back to the stairs, along the path by the river and crawl under the rock overhang, where the drop into the water is much smaller. You then walk through the river (hence the wellies) to the tunnel entrance. Be warned, you do have to climb back out again afterwards!

How Stean Gorge

Walking along the river Nidd to How Stean Tunnel

I loved How Stean Tunnel. The narrow winding entrance strewn with rocks and chiselled limestone created interesting shapes. In my opinion, it is the most photogenic part of the site.

If you don’t mind a bit of scrambling and getting a bit wet, How Stean Gorge makes for a fun photography trip. Here are some of the photos I took on my visit:

Practicalities
Approximate post code (for sat nav) HG3 5SF
Parking There is a free car park at the site. There is an entrance fee for the gorge.
Essentials Wellies, torch
Website http://www.howstean.co.uk/

This is the location of How Stean Gorge:

Notes for next time
  • Bring a flash for the cave and further into the How Stean Tunnel
  • Try some more detail shots of the rocks/water

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