Caverns fight closure threat

One of Yorkshire’s oldest tourist destinations is appealing for support to keep its doors open after lockdown.

Monday, 22nd February 2021, 3:20 pm

One of Yorkshire’s oldest tourist destinations is appealing for support to keep its doors open after lockdown.

Stump Cross Caverns, formed over 500,000 years ago, has been hit hard by Coronavirus lockdown closures and social distancing restrictions over the past 12 months. A spokesman said: “Ticket sales alone are down by more than £350,000 as visitor numbers drop from an annual average of 60,000 to just 15,000.”

To help prevent its doors closing for good, Stump Cross hopes to raise £53,000 in funds through its latest two-part crowdfunder appeal.

“The first lets supporters pledge as little as £10 to enter a life changing prize draw to win a luxury, low mileage, 66 plate, Volkswagen T30, Campervan, donated by the Cavern’s owners, the Bowerman family,” added the spokesman.

“Alongside this, in return for pledging just £2, the second appeal offers the chance to take part in a £500 draw, with five amazing prizes up for grabs. Each lucky winner will receive memorable Stump Cross experiences, all activated upon the site reopening.”

Commenting on the fundraiser and the financial impact of lockdown Lisa Bowerman, Owner of Stump Cross Caverns added: “We’ve worked tirelessly to offer an outstanding experience to all our customers since we took ownership of Stump Cross Caverns 18 years ago.

“Visitors have marvelled at the magical splendour the caves have to offer thanks to its beautiful grottos and benefited from the recent refurbishment of our café, 50-seater cinema, and exclusive chill out zone, known as the Time Out Pod.

“Sadly, with no clear opening date on the horizon, all of this is under threat unless we raise vital funds to keep us up and running.

“Our latest crowdfunder appeals will hopefully mean that we can continue to welcome visitors to the Caverns for many years to come.

“By pledging donations, our supporters will not only have the chance to win some truly amazing prizes, including our very own state-of-the-art VW Campervan and five memorable Stump Cross experiences, but they will also be helping us and our local suppliers, continue trading and keep tourism alive in the Yorkshire Dales.”

Donations to the crowdfunders and entry into the prize draws must be completed by noon, Tuesday March 30.

Due to its natural and cultural importance Stump Cross is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Bones of Ice Age creatures have been discovered in the caverns including reindeer, wolverine and bison and some are now on display in the visitor centre.

Its cave system extends well beyond the public access show caves, to an overall length of about 6km. Many of the deeper caverns are only accessible to experienced cavers, but there are plans to open further sections in the future.

For more information on the appeal and to buy tickets visit https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/vw-campervan-prize-draw--it-could-be-you or www.crowdfunder.co.uk/prize-draw-win-up-to-5-prizes