Our four poster bed was so comfortable at the New Inn that I could have slept in longer if it wasn’t for the lovely view of Clapham Beck from the bedroom window along with a glimpse of early morning sunshine.
Breakfast was served in the hotel’s bistro where we found a varied selection of fruit, yogurt, cereals and pastries. We then selected traditional cooked breakfasts from the menu which were prepared to order and attractively presented. I especially liked the miniature pans the baked beans were served in and the extra thick bread for toasting which tasted delicious spread with home made marmalade. Although I like jam, given the choice I prefer a tangy, thick cut orange marmalade at breakfast time.
After drinking several cups of coffee and being tempted into eating chocolate croissants and slices of rich fruit cake we returned to our room to gather our belongings together and set off on our way. It had been so relaxing staying at this former coaching inn with its roaring fires, good food, luxurious accommodation and friendly hosts and I would highly recommend a stay if you are considering a visit to this beautiful part of Yorkshire.
Whilst visiting Clapham we wanted to take the opportunity of visiting Ingleborough Cave so we wandered through the village to the start of the Ingleborough Estate nature trail. The cave itself is approximately a thirty minute walk, with the trail passing through woodland and alongside a small lake.
The path to the cave is level and there are several look-out points with benches along the way. Numerous helpful information boards en-route describe the rare plants that have been cultivated there.
Tours of the cave run on the hour and last 60 minutes with adult admission costing £9. After collecting a hard hat from a trolley we joined a party of primary school children on our underground tour.
The cave follows a trail of 500m along well laid concrete paths which are floodlit for ease of access. It was necessary to stoop along two sections but being small has its advantages as I only had to bend down slightly. Our tour guide stopped at various points and pointed out numerous features of stalagmite formations, and where stalagmites and stalactites have joined to form a pillar.
it was also interesting to view flow-stones where the water flows over the top of a rock depositing limestone. This forms in thin layers which become rounded as they get thicker.
It was fun taking the tour with a class of 8 and 9 year olds and I was impressed with their understanding of geology when questioned by the guide. They were all very well behaved and a credit to their school even if they were amused at their teachers having to bend down through the tunnels when they could easily fit through.
Leaving the cave, we retraced our steps along the nature trail but just as we approached the village the weather changed and we had to hurry back to the car through a hailstorm.
It had been our plan to follow a trail to the neighbouring village of Austwick taking approximately 40 minutes. Not wanting to get absolutely drenched, we took the easy way out and instead drove there in just five minutes. Like Clapham, Austwick is another unspoilt dales village with a small village green, post office and pub.
After a light lunch we headed back towards Settle, stopping on the way to look in the Courtyard Dairy which is a specialist cheese shop and cheese maturer. On the ground floor there’s a small museum telling the history of farmhouse cheese and demonstrating how it is produced with a cafe serving cheese inspired dishes on the upper floor.
We found the cheese shop in an adjoining room which had a large selection produced by independent farmhouse cheese makers. The cheese is all hand made and then aged to perfection in the maturing rooms of the dairy. We were spoilt for choice deciding what to buy as all the ones we sampled tasted delicious. Decisions made, we bought a few wedges to take home and headed on our way.
Our two days in Clapham had been lovely despite some inclement weather and we enjoyed some varied activities during our visit. Other interesting things to do in the area include visiting Ingleton, a ten minute drive from Clapham. It’s another beautiful village with attractive shops and cafes and a picturesque five mile waterfall trail which is lovely on a sunny day.
For the more adventurous, local caving clubs set up a winch on the May and August bank holiday weekends down Gaping Gill which is a 98 metre pothole feeding the highest unbroken waterfall in England. The intrepid can be winched down by bosun’s chair into the vast underground cavern but must pay £20 to return to the surface! All proceeds going to charity, further details can be found here.
I would like to thank the New Inn at Clapham for arranging our visit. As always, all views and opinions are entirely my own.
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