Joy for Nidderdale families as tourist attractions start to reopen

Tourist attractions in Pateley Bridge and Nidderdale have opened their doors to families for the first time this year.

Thursday, 20th May 2021, 2:03 pm

Stump Cross Caverns opened its doors on Monday, welcoming the first visitors Marie and Tim Taylor, who toured the caves and ate at the popular Time Out Café following a recommendation from Pateley Bridge Tourist Information.

The reopening also coincided with a visit by BBC presenter, Ade Adepitan, who was onsite filming for The Travel Show. The future of the historic Stump Cross site, formed more than half a million years ago, had hung in the balance until just a few months ago. The caves’ owners, the Bowerman family, were forced to sell personal possessions, including a £50,000 VW campervan and now their £130,000 apartment to recover financial losses, after visitor numbers dropped from 60,000 to 15,000, and to fund repairs.

Lisa Bowerman said: “There have been times when we really didn’t think this moment would arrive. We’ve had to make many sacrifices and rely heavily on public support to get us where we are today – open and welcoming back our wonderful visitors. Reopening is a step in the right direction, but we’ve still got a long way to go to recover our losses and maintain the caves. Having to sell another of our personal possessions has been tough, but we’ve been left without any other option following an unsuccessful government funding bid. We’re hopeful that the apartment crowdfunder (bit.ly/3u9UOvL) will help us raise the £200,000 we urgently need to keep going and ensure the caves are here to benefit others for many years to come.”

Studfold Caravan, Camping and Glamping site in Lofthouse, also opened on Monday for the first time this season. Its adventure trail has been open since April 12, but the owners are looking forward to the first school holidays where visitors have been permitted since 2020. Ian Walker, co-owner, said: “We are an outdoor experience aimed at getting children out in the fresh air, enjoying the outdoors, away from technology. It is great to be able to reopen, and we’ve already taken lots of bookings for half term, even though many people usually wait for the weather forecast. Even now, the trail is often reaching full capacity, even on wetter days. The campsite is very popular especially, and we only have very limited non-electric pitches left throughout the summer. At the beginning of the year, we reconfigured the site to reduce the pitches and offer more space, so we’re doing everything we can to keep customers, staff and the wider community safe.”

The venue is running its Studfold Fairy and Pixie Adventure during half term. The fairy experience runs throughout the year, but the latest adventure will see lots more tiny fairy houses magically appear, each with their own story. Nidderdale Museum is also opening in time for half term - it will reopen on May 22 at 1.30pm and then will be open every Saturday and Sunday from 1.30-4.30pm, as well as Bank Holiday Monday. The venue has been awarded a Good To Go certificate from Visit England.