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Clean-up for the Buttertubs

[Friday 13 February 2009]

MEMBERS of Swaledale Mountain Rescue and Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) Rangers will be mounting a combined operation at the famous Buttertubs potholes tomorrow (Feb 14) – to collect a load of rubbish.

The potholes, which vary between 6m and 24m (20ft to80 ft) in depth, are a popular visitor attraction within the Yorkshire Dales National Park – and a dumping ground for litter louts, according to YDNPA Area Ranger for Swaledale, James Lamb

Amongst the items we’re hoping to recover are a tractor wheel and half a telegraph pole

James Lamb - YDNPA

“The vast majority of visitors are careful to help protect the site but we have had problems from a minority of people dumping things in the Buttertubs,” he said.

“Amongst the items we’re hoping to recover are a tractor wheel and half a telegraph pole, plus a general accumulation of smaller items of rubbish.

“Getting access into the potholes is difficult and requires specialist equipment and expertise – which is why we asked Swaledale Mountain Rescue members if they would help. They have carried out a similar clear-up exercise for us in the past and they were keen to be involved again as they are able to use it as a training exercise.”

The area of the Buttertubs has been managed by YDNPA on behalf of the Gunnerside Estate since 1992. The site is nationally important and is part of the Cliff Force Cave geological Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

The Buttertubs themselves are a series of large potholes that vary between 6m and 24m (20ft to80 ft) in depth and are close to the boundary between the Muker and Hawes/High Abbotside parishes.

They are the result of water erosion on the limestone rock and they got their name from the story that farmers travelling from Swaledale to Hawes market to sell butter lowered their baskets down the potholes to prevent the butter melting in the hot summer weather.

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