Selside, Yorkshire Dales The young potholers re-emerge into sunlight, blinking like startled moles and buzzing with the marvels they had seen

The cavers peer into their hands to check the bright discs of yellow light that show their headlamp beams are switched on. These twentysomething novices then follow their instructor into Lower Long Churn, a classic caving trip in the Three Peaks country of Whernside, Ingleborough and Penyghent.

If only I could follow suit. But I am still recovering from my hip revision procedure of two years ago. I can at least use my trekking poles to enjoy the limestone countryside, though. The sedimentary rock hereabouts is riddled with caves etched over aeons by acidic rainwater running into the ground and attacking the fissures and cracks below the turf where aromatic wild thyme grows – and where the cavers have disappeared.

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Source: Guardian Environment