It is often said: “take nothing away but photos and leave nothing behind but
footprints” but actually footprints are not wanted either - except within paths that
have been marked out to protect vulnerable underground areas from change.
Usually delicate cave formations like these roof crystals are protected from approach by laying out red and white plastic tape to mark out a no-go area. This simple cave conservation measure keeps pristine safe from accidental damage or get dirty from dust or by touching.
There is not a lot of obvious life inside caves. Some flying insects and spiders that feed on them. Sometime albino fish in underground streams. And of course bats which hibernate over the winter and visit caves overnight during the summer months either to rest or for social and reproductive activities.
A few caves are scheduled monuments because of historic artefacts inside, and some cave entrances are close to surface scheduled monuments. Disused mines may contain the tools and wagons showing the hard life of miners in times past. This is an industrial heritage that we wish to protect and preserve.