ONE of North Yorkshire’s oldest tourist destinations - formed over 500,000 years ago - is appealing for support to keep its doors open after lockdown.

Stump Cross Caverns, near Pateley Bridge,which has been open to the public since its discovery by lead miners in 1860, has been hit hard by lockdown closures and social distancing restrictions over the past 12 months.

A spokesperson said ticket sales alone were down by more than £350,000 after visitor numbers had dropped from an annual average of 60,000 to just 15,000.

Owner Lisa Bowerman said visitors 'marvelled at the magical splendour the caves have to offer thanks to its beautiful grottos,' and benefited from the recent refurbishment of its café, 50-seater cinema and chill out zone, known as the Time Out Pod.

“Sadly, with no clear opening date on the horizon, all of this is under threat unless we raise vital funds to keep us up and running," she said.

She said she was now hoping to raise £53,000 in funds through a two-part crowdfunder appeal.

"The first lets supporters pledge as little as £10 to enter a life changing prize draw to win a luxury, low mileage, 66 plate, Volkswagen T30, Campervan, donated by the Cavern’s owners, the Bowerman family," she said.

"Alongside this, in return for pledging just £2, the second appeal offers the chance to take part in a £500 draw, with five amazing prizes up for grabs. "Each lucky winner will receive memorable Stump Cross experiences, all activated upon the site reopening.

"Other gifts available to those who pledge include a Stump Cross t-shirt, winter hat or hoodie."

*To support the appeal, people should go to or