The two new caves are Hazel Close Cave, which is approximately 120 meters long and can only be accessed by using a ladder and has a 37 meter walkway.
Oxbow Cave is the second new cave located on the north side of How Stean Gorge and is 25 meters long.
A major undertaking has taken place at the tourist attraction where new luxury eco-friendly chalets with hot tubs and wood-burning stoves have been installed.
Carved over thousands of years by flowing water, the 24-meter-deep chasm has an underground cave system. Its most famous is the cave of Tom Taylor, named after the brigand, which is 180 meters long and 15 meters deep.
One of Britain’s most notorious thieves, Taylor, used the cave as an escape route and hiding place for his stolen goods with Dick Turpin. In 1741 Tom Taylor was tracked by the British army from York to his underground hideout and, following a gunfight, was shot in the throat.
The caves are said to have housed the Vikings from 866 to 1066. In 1868, a hoard of Roman coins was found buried in the cave; a 300 foot tunnel, which can be explored today with helmets.
Anna Bowman, curator at the Nidderdale Museum, said: “Archaeologists believe the Romans used caves or rivers as places to deposit religious offerings. Given the period covered by the coins found and the fact that the coins were discovered in the cave hammered into the wall, this would indicate that it may have been an offering.
“The Nidderdale Museum collection includes part of the horde. It was donated by the Metcalfe family, who owned How Stean Gorge at the time of discovery in 1868.”
Other caves at the site include Elgin’s Hole and Canal Cave. The gorge has gained popularity with visitors from all over. It has a team of outdoor adventure experts offering rock climbing, canoeing, abseiling, caving, gorge scrambling and a series of ziplines and zip lines above throats.
Tony Liddy, Director of How Stean Gorge, said: “We have transformed the site with our ambitious expansion plans to meet the huge demand for adventure tourism. Acquiring the caves is an important part of this, as we want to showcase nature’s beautiful playground in this unique gorge that has existed for 10,000 years, since the last ice age.
“It was amazing, there’s just a huge appetite to get into the great outdoors and experience the adventure right on our doorstep. We want to showcase the caves a bit more and display never-before-seen historical surveys and maps of the cave network. 10 km caves.
Additional improvements to the site include a 1000 liter hot water system with underfloor heating in its shower block and new kitchen facilities. The team also installed a new shower, toilet and bunk beds in its Scar House Reservoir-based Bunk House, a unique wilderness accommodation offering for up to 17 people.