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Abstract

Caves are important as they preserve archaeological and palaeoenvironmental data otherwise lost from the land surface. The fragile nature and limited extent of cave deposits is often not appreciated by non-specialists and the activities of the main group of cave visitors (sporting cavers) are viewed as damaging to the cave interior deposits. Potential threats to the cave interior deposits of the Yorkshire Dales National Park including caver activity are reviewed. It is concluded that sporting cavers have added greatly to our knowledge of the archaeological record contained in the caves. They appreciate the value of the underground environment and take steps to preserve the cave interior deposits. Any geoconservation strategy that deals with caves must involve the caving community.

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