25 Pubs – An Extract

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An exclusive extract from 25 Great Walkers’ Pubs in the Yorkshire Dales which is out now.

The New Inn, Clapham

Clapham has always been the hub of caving in the Dales.

The Cave Rescue Organisation are based here as is the famous Gaping Gill system as well as the fantastic Ingleborough Showcave. It’s also a honeypot for walkers tackling Ingleborough – in particular taking the Nature Trail through the Farrer Estate. But it is the former that the New Inn always celebrated in its interior.

Inside this eighteenth century coaching inn, subterranean lovers would share stories of their discoveries and pictures depicted caves, potholes, caverns, pitches, tunnels, squeezes and their head torch wearing explorers. Some were a little risqué too as Jim Eyres’ drawing talents featured throughout. Jim was a well known caver in the area with his storytelling legendary. In caving’s heyday the New Inn would be chocker, the beer would flow and the laugher would follow. But over recent times, caving has become a much ‘nicher’ sport.

The number of participants has diminished as younger people aren’t as attracted to going underground as say, staying at home in more comfortable surroundings on a games console. Outward bounds centres take kids kayaking and abseiling but trips to caves are few and far between. That means there’s less people in the caves of Clapham and therefore, less cavers in the pub. Coupled with the caving heavy decor of the New Inn, this meant times needed to change if, realistically, the New Inn was to stay busy. In all honesty, if you didn’t like caving then a trip to the pub would have been a little daunting.

Luckily I do. One night I heard a story of how someone’s prosthetic leg was used as a belay point in the Ease Gill Cave System in Casterton. Another evening I was regaled with ropes having no knots at the end, with resultant disaster and choice language. But that’s me and not everyone is as keen.
Therefore, it was no surprise when the Benson family took over the the pub in 2013 that they looked to give it a much needed revamp as well as restoring it to its former historical glory. Original oak beams and beautiful stone walls were made a feature and the dark and red decor in the bar areas were brightened up to bring it into the modern age.

Originally, the this grade II pub was a farmhouse in the early 1700s but was covered into a coaching inn around 1745. In 1807, an extra floor was added to make it four storeys. The new decor aims to bring this out, being fresh inside and bright without removing some of the original features such as large tables where people would gather to swap those caving stories. The proof is in the eating… or drinking and suffice to say the menu is top class as is the beer.

Caving may not be a prominent feature anymore but on my visit locals were stood at the bar sharing stories whilst your caver author didn’t feel out of place covered in mud following a long walk. And, after the CRO have met next door they still pop in for a beer, so it can’t all be bad.

Perhaps it was just time for the New Inn to be revamped after all.

Clapham is the Doorway to the Dales and never has a description been more apt. Built around Clapham Beck, the village is a bustling epicentre for people exploring the Dales but never gets away from the fact it is home to hundreds of local people. In fact social policies, in the past anyway, from the Farrer family, Ingleborough Estate owners, have ensured local families have had the opportunity to live in the village for affordable rents. The Farrer’s are also responsible for most of the beauty in the area including the woods, fields, moors and farms of the village. The Nature Trail takes in much of Reginald Farrer’s work too in acquiring rare plants from all over the world and is a must visit before or after a visit to the New Inn.

The Pub:

Address: The New Inn Clapham, Old Road, Clapham, Settle, North Yorkshire, LA2 8HH

Website: www.newinn-clapham.co.uk

The Walk:

Start Point: Yorkshire Dales National Park Car Park

Destination: Ingleborough circular

Distance: 9 miles

The Route: Turn right out of the car park and walk up to the church. At the road turn right and then go up through the Ingleborough Nature Trail (don’t forget to pay your fee and take a leaflet). Follow the trail out into the clearing and pass the water pump on your right (thwacking sound) and the superb Ingleborough Cave on your left. Continue up the path, which gains height, to Trow Gill. There’s only one way up so follow it and then take the obvious and well worn path to the stiles. Go over them and after a few metres you will see a dip to your left – that is Bar Pot. Don’t get too close and then continue the route, past various holes before coming to a fork. Take the route on the right and this will lead you to Gaping Gill. Cross the stream if it is safe and continue on the path up Ingleborough. You will rapidly gain height until you reach a false summit (Little Ingleborough SD743734) when it levels out. This will climb once more and reach Ingleborough plateau. In the mist finding the summit cairn can be a navigational nightmare as you effectively cut back on yourself (SD741745). It’s advisable to take a bearing from the cairn back to the path. Retrace your route down to Gaping Gill and the stiles but instead of turning right to go back to Trow Gill, go straight on, to Clapham Bottoms and then up to join Long Lane (SD758716). Take this Lane down to an intersection, turn right, go under two tunnels and you return to Clapham to the left of the church.

25 Great Walkers’ Pubs – Information