Providence Pot

The pages below are under development and will be updated on a regular basis.



The entrance to Providence Pot (NGR 99212 72889 Alt. 395m) is located in Dowber Gill, a tributary to Cam Gill which flows into the River Wharfe at Kettlewell. The entrance is in the Yoredale beds well above the Girvanella Band and a little below the level of the Dirt Pot Grit. A public footpath is shown on the OS map the full length of Dowber Gill from Kettlewell as far as Providence Pot. Whilst there is no right of access to descend Providence Pot, it has enjoyed unhindered access since first explored in 1954. The present concreted entrance and scaffolded shaft was constructed by members of the Yorkshire Subterranean Society in 1967. Photo by A Cole May 3 2004. All other pictures below by SEW



Annotated image of the arrangements at the head of Dowber Gill. The Dowber Gill stream enters the system through the lower beds of the Yoredale Series. The system breaks through the Girvanelle Band and into the Gordale member of the Great Scar Limestone Group in the vicinity of 800 Yards Chamber.

General description

Providence Pot comprises a series of larger caverns connected by small or very small sections. A principal feature of Providence Pot, in caving terms, is the "Blasted Crawl", a miniscule joint controlled passage between Terminal Chamber and The Palace - see plan and elevation below. This connection made in 1955 resulted in the noted, or notorious, through trip between Providence Pot and Dow Cave via Dowber Gill Passage. The waters of Dowber Gill beck sinking by the entrance are seen only briefly underground, immediately below the entrance series, where they disappear into impenetrable fissures. In October 1953 flourescein dye was introduced at the sink and spotted as "the green messenger" at the Dow Cave end after a passage of approximately 7 1/2 hours.

Another dye test showed a connection from a sink in Dowber Gill Wham to the upstream sump of Dowber Gill Passage. However, much of the water emerging at this point is probably drainage from the nearby Providence mineral vein system some 300m to the south of Dowber Gill.

In caving terms, Providence Pot is usually taken as the passages down to Stalagmite Corner whereas Dowber Gill Passage usually refers to the streamway right from the upstream sump down to Dow Cave, a distance of some 1.4km.

Brief history of exploration

The discovery of the Caseker Gill Extension to Dow Cave by John Hobson in 1953, raised great interest in the area generally resulting in the discovery of Providence Pot, Blasted Crawl, and the subsequent exploration of the Dowber Gill Passage............ more to follow.......

Burnley Caving Club first venture into Dowber Gill Passage, dye tests Dowber Gill to Dow Cave, dig in Dowber Gill, Providence Pot, exploration as far as Bridge Cavern, Blasted Crawl, through trips N Brindle and R Powell, Mike Dickinson and Randy Coe, Fred Davis et al, Brian Varley et .....

Providence Pot has a great variety of passage forms:

Click on pictures for larger view: use back arrow for return



Large caverns of phreatic origin
choked with breakdown blocks
and flakes. Peter Whitaker in '54 Cavern.
(April 9 2005


Smaller tubes carved out of solid
limestone possibly by glacial meltwater
streams. Peter at T-junction.
(April 9 2005)


Very small joint aligned crawls.
Simon Beck at the end of Blasted Crawl.
(June 4 2006)


But: what is this?
Right under a giant shakehole
on the surface some 20m above.
(May 5 2009)




Peter in 'The Slot'. (April 9 2005)


The scramble up to the Aven. (April 9 2005)


The climb up in the Aven which
extends up through the Dirt Pot Grit
thus accounting for the great number
of sandstone flakes in this area.
(April 9 2005)


Peter is sat in the small opening
connecting 54 Cavern and July Grotto
opened up by Bob Powell's Dig in 1954.
(April 9 2005)

Passage from T junction to
Terminal Chamber
. (April 9 2005)


July Grotto. (April 9 2005)


Simon Beck sheds some light in a
watery section of the Blasted Crawl
(June 4 2006

Not much better but at least this
section of the Blasted Crawl
is relatively dry
(June 4 2006)




In The Palace: collapsed blocks
from the roof have crashed down
and smashed through a
calcite false floor. (May 29 2005)


A section of the damaged
calcite false floor. (May 29 2005)


Part of the calcite covered slope of
The Palace. (May 29 2005)

Another view of the false floor.
(May 29 2005)


Andy Cole going down the 'The Stairway'
which connects The Palace to
The Dungeon. (May 29 2005)

The diminutive triangular opening at
Stalagmite Corner that releases one
from the perils of the Dowber Gill
Passage. (May 29 2005)




The start of Dowber Gill Passage:
full steam head for Dow Cave.
(May 29 2005)


Plan survey of Providence Pot
including upstream section of
Dowber Gill Passage.

Elevation through Providence Pot
and upstream passages.



Surveyed by S E Warren, P J Whitaker, S Beck, A Cole, P B Warren and B Lawson.



A sketch elevation through the
Palace - Dungeon area shows the
disposition of the calcite floor.



A sketch of the Providence Pot Upstream Sump made by J N Cordingley September 1986. Ref CPC Record 5 February 1987, pp 2-3.
On December 11, 1993, Ian Holland passed Cordingley's furthest point and gained a further 15m to a low area and a silt bank. Ref CDG N/L 111 April 1994, pp23-24.
Around the same period Don Mellor et al made an unsuccessful attempt to lower the sump level by digging.

Any shortcomings in the text are entirely my own.
If you would like to get in touch or add information, there is an email address:

Steve Warren

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