Northern SSSI Cave Conservation Monitoring Scheme

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size
Home Cave Areas Leck Fell
Leck Fell
leck_fell.jpg Lost John's System, Deaths Head Hole - Big Meanie - Long Drop, Gavel pot, Ireby Fell Cavern, Link Pot, Short Drop, Notts Pot, Notts Pot II, Pippikin Pot.
1 Monitoring Forms for Leck Fell

Information and Disclaimer

This is a joint initiative by Natural England (formerly English Nature), BCA, BCRA and the regional caving councils information on the conservation status of our caves. The level of recorded information is currently very low, so we have designed a simple form to record basic details on the condition of features.

This form can be filled in immediately after a visit to the cave but it is recommended that a copy be taken underground together with a copy of the section of the report and the map relevant to the cave being visited. It is always best to complete the form underground, especially if you are reporting on a number of features, so that comments do not have to rely on memory.

None of the organisations involved in this scheme are requesting that you go underground to visit these sites. The form is simply for you to record information from a trip, which you would be undertaking anyway. Caving is a dangerous activity and you are entirely responsible for your own judgements in visiting a cave or any part of it. None of the organisations involved can be held responsible for the outcome of any trip.

Natural England, BCA and BCRA are not only interested in the conservation of those features identified for monitoring, but in the conservation of the caves and mines as a whole. Monitoring every feature is impossible, so the features we have chosen to monitor are considered as both important features in their own right, and also indicators of the general condition of the caves. Wider and more general comments on features other than those identified are welcome and encouraged.


Natural England is the government’s advisor on nature conservation and is responsible for designating and monitoring the condition of Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) throughout England. Most of the major caves and cave systems of England are designated as SSSIs, either individually or grouped together as part of larger systems. The SSSI designation affords increased protection from damage or destruction of caves by external threats such as quarrying, land drainage and agricultural practices but does not affect the responsible use of caves by recreational cavers.

Raising awareness and promotion of best conservation practice among cave users, in partnership with local and national caving organisations, is the most effective method of ensuring the continuing conservation of our cave SSSIs and the protection of the resource against internal damage. Good conservation practice by cave users, in so far as it preserves the resource, serves the interests of all - recreational cavers, cave scientists, conservation organisations and the general public alike.

Regular monitoring of all SSSIs is an important part of the conservation process and is generally performed by Natural England staff. However, in the case of caves, Natural England staff are not normally able to perform monitoring as they are not experienced or qualified in undertaking underground work. One solution is for cavers to report on the condition of caves which they are visiting in the course of their recreational activities. Reporting simply involves filling in a brief tick-box type of questionnaire, supplied by Natural England. We will also supply a rough map of the areas of cave which form the SSSI and the location of important features, such as speleothems, cave sediments, fossils and minerals for which the site may be notified.

It is important to emphasise that Natural England is not requesting cavers to visit particular areas of cave systems. We are simply requesting information on the condition of caves and their features which cavers are visiting anyway, in the course of their own recreational activities. Natural England cannot accept responsibility for any accident or injury to cavers which occur during the course of these activities. Cavers should perform their own risk and hazard assessment and possess their own insurance.