Hopefully, by the time this B.B. comes out,
nominations for the 1974-5 committee election will be in, and will provide
enough candidates for an election to be held. It goes without saying that all members should vote and as many as
possible turn up to the A.G.M. itself. It is only by doing so that we can be sure that the B.E.C. reflects the
wishes of its members.

Caving For Beginners

Some readers may by now have seen the booklet
which represents the Southern Council’s official policy on the subject of
novice training – or at any rate have heard of its existence.  Since the B.E.C. is one of the clubs
endorsing this booklet, it may be of interest to quote one or two of the items
affecting the general philosophy behind the scheme.  For example, ‘It is certainly very dangerous,
and probably incorrect, to present caving as a sport or game; times taken,
points reached, numbers of obstacles overcome and, above all, any aspects of
competition either imagined or contrived are wholly irrelevant.  The level of personal satisfaction obtained
by the successful exploration of part of a cave system must be the only
criterion.  There are no summits to be
conquered or records to beat in a cave. Thus, the sole raison d’etre of caving is the exploration of an alien
and unknown environment.  It may better
be described as a hobby.’  In this
connection, schemes for the severity grading of caves, an example of which
formed the subject of a recent article in the B.B. ,are acceptable provided
that they are used for information rather then for any competitive reason.

Prize Crossword

To mark the 50th appearance of the B.B. crossword,
this month’s crossword carries a prize of a bottle of wine which, if bought at
the dinner, will be paid for in the case of the first person to present the
editor with a correct solution.  If, by
any chance, this B.B. arrives too late for the dinner, the prize will be paid
out retrospectively to the winner. Naturally, the clues are a trifle harder than normal.



Letter To The Editor

Warren Cottage,

Station  Road
Flax Bourton.
1st August 1974.

I was interested to see in the June B.B. that a
tackle refurbishing programme was in progress. As the person who, I think, produced the first ‘C’ links for the club
(from an organisation with a not dissimilar abbreviated name) perhaps some comments
might be of interest.  I know that much
water has flowed down holes since the early days and probably the links have
been the subject of considerable study, but if some of the originals are still
in use, as I believe they may be the original criteria that some of us decided
upon for the originals cannot have been too wide of the mark.

First and foremost, remember that not all chain
links can provide suitable raw material for ‘C’ links, although chain links are
probably the best part-finished starting point. The links that we used were from high strength steel chain hoist
links.  High strength, that is, in
relation to the average link and not to steels in general.  Many chains are too malleable and ‘C’ links
from them are liable to open up progressively in use.  Also, do not go from really high strength
steels.  The weight saving does not
outweigh the handling problems or other nastinesses during prolonged life.

Second, subject each link to a proof load
test.  I cannot remember the figure we
used, but I know it was related to the range of cable strengths we
envisaged.  It was also rather less than
the heaviest failing load of cables, as we argued that links would not see the
same stress concentrations and abrasion as the cables.  If any are still in service, their markings
will give you the figure we used.

Third, mark the safe working load (which was half
our proof load) by light stamping on the side of the curved end of each
link.  It could be argued that this
should be done before proof testing, but I recall that we found that we did not
affect either the proof or failing loads of the links we made by stamping

Fourth, protect each link by some form of surface
protective treatment such as zinc or cadmium plating.  It will wear in time, but will prolong life
and can be replaced as necessary.

Finally, as a check, take a sample of the links
and load them, in pairs, to failure. This failing load should be at least 50% above the proof load.  It normally will be.  I am sure that the B.E.C. still has access to
such normal facilities as test machines and plating baths.  If not, I may be able to help.

Yours Sincerely,
Tony Johnson.

Editor’s Note:     Tony may be
surprised to learn that all the links at present in use, as far as I know, are
from the original batch – although I am not sure if they were all stamped.  Present day members may be surprised to learn
something of the care which people like Tony put into making things for club
tackle.  I am sure that this information
will be of great use in tackle making.


Club Officer’s Reports 1974 – Hon. Secretary’s Report

The past year has been a turbulent one in the
B.E.C. not, unfortunately, characterised by the amount of caving that has been
done or successful action on the part of the committee.  The doubling of the membership subscription
to £2.50 resulted in a net fall in membership. A further year’s inflation indicates that £2.50 is very cheap for B.E.C.
membership now, and perhaps some of the people who have let their membership
lapse, may renew it at the time of the dinner.

Early in the year, I attended the Grampian Dinner
held in the

at Wells.  The catering was so excellent that we
immediately negotiated with the caterer (Pat Palmer’s brother) to do the B.E.C.
dinner.  The Hunters agreed to do the bar
and wine service.  I am sure that you will
find the arrangements more than satisfactory this year.  The price of £2 is chicken feed nowadays.

The committee has had no difficulty in maintaining
a quorum.  N. Jago and D. Stuckey
resigned and were replaced by G. Oaten and A. Nichols respectively.

Early in its term of office, the committee had
several difficult problems to deal with. Their task was not made easier by the stubborn refusal on the part of
some members to answer letters. Disloyalty to the democratically elected committee by certain members
who were not prepared to do the job themselves has unfortunately also occurred.  Essential business with Mr. Foxwell has not
been aided by individual members carrying on their own feuds with him.  However, after four years I am glad to say
that the deed of variation has now been signed by all parties and there is no
longer fear that we might have to payout large sums in this respect.

Some of the difficulties of the committee were of
their own making.  I would list irregular
attendance; reluctance to continue when there is a danger of missing the
Hunters; personality clashes between members; reluctance to discuss important
but boring matters; not carrying out actions previously agreed; a tendency to
make rash statements in ignorance and even to tell lies to the committee and,
finally, refusal of small minorities to stand by the decision of large
majorities as the more serious short-comings of the present committee.

I am not trying to slate the committee of which I
have been a member, but hope these criticisms may serve as advice for the
future.  I am sure the other officers of the
club could list the shortcomings of the Secretary and it would be a good idea
if they did so for the guidance of my successor.

Our positions in the Cambrian and Southern
Councils and the National Caving Association have been strong and relations
with M.R.O. have been excellent.  We have
been forced by needs of access to affiliate to the Northern Council.  We supported the rejection of an application
from B.A.C.I. for membership of the Cambrian Council.  The Council of Southern Caving Clubs has set
up its company.  The trustees are
‘Alfie’, Oliver Lloyd, Frank Murphy (of Spelaeo Rhal) and myself.  Mention should be made here of the excellent
work done by Nigel Taylor in extending the M.R.O. store.

Nigel Taylor is not offering himself for
re-election.  He has worked extremely
hard at the running of the Belfry, always difficult and this year particularly
so.  He richly deserves the thanks of the
club.  My own reasons for not standing
this year are complicated.  Suffice to
say that I wish my successor well and will afford him any assistance I can.

There are four new candidates this year, a healthy
sign, and I will just remind the electorate that one copy of the ballot paper
is sent to each member who has paid his subscription by the date on which they
are sent out.  It may be returned to me
by post or handed to the chairman at the A.G.M. Persons paying their subscription later are not entitled to vote, and no
may be given a second paper according to the rules.

A. Thomas.
Hon. Sec.


B.E.C. at P.S.M.

Andrew Nichols sends us
this account of the recent trip to the
Pyrenees.  He also sent a covering letter which promises
more accounts from some of the others who went on this expedition.

For the last three years, Andy Nichols has
trundled his way South to the Basses
there to fester not ten miles from some really difficult caves, as a recovery
from ever sillier exams.  This year he
was joined by Malcolm Jarrett, Sue Holmes, John Dukes, Graham Wilton-Jones and
a canvas mansion full of Palmers; nominally as guests of the Cambridge
University Caving Club – though the last of them left a couple of days after we
arrived, deciding the superb weather was far too good to spend anywhere but at
the seaside.

We arrived on the 15th August and stayed until the
end of the month at our usual riverside campsite at Licq-Atherey.  By the 17th, even Andy had recovered from the
trauma of arrival and he showed Malcolm, Sue and John around Betzulako
, a cave high above the Col d’Erroimendi – pushed over the years by
C.U.C.C. to the respectable length of 4 kilometres and notable for some
excellent formations; the perfectly preserved claw marks of cave bears who
climb fifty foot pitches, and lots of loose rocks.

The following day Andy, John and Malcolm struggled
up a nearby mountain, with C.U.C.C’s Mike Perryman, to descend Betchenkako
.  Further up the mountain is
the Gouffre d’Aphanices, discovered in 1972 and with three big pitches followed
by a monstrous one of 328 metres (1,076 ft.) – wet!  Betchenka is much milder, with 180ft entrance
followed by a series of vast chambers – an enjoyable trip which gripped John’s
imagination so much that he will deal with it in a separate report.

On Monday 19th, we festered.  A hotel in nearby Tardets burnt down, which
whiled away the afternoon until Mike and Pat arrived with their children and
Graham.  Tuesday saw us at the

d’Erroimendi again
to complete the exploration of Baratchegagnako Harpia, a task left for
Andy by C.U.C.C.  He, John, Graham
Malcolm and Sue were joined by Steve Dickenson (Dickie, staying on after a
joint E.P.C. – U.L.S.A. push in the

.  Baratchegagna is a dreadful cave, only 400
feet deep but formed entirely in one strongly shaled bed of rock which may look
like limestone but which has the strength of wet cardboard.  Great sheets of it peeled off wherever we
went.   Fortunately, the three points to
investigate all linked up again with the series discovered the year before, and
only one was of any length, a few hundred feet of shattered rift found by
Dickie.  It led to a substantial chamber
with two pitches of 35 feet leading off, which he and Andy descended to confirm
the link with the lower series.  The
length of new passage amounted to some 400 feet, leaving no possibilities for
extension, so we fought our way out through the rain of boulders and went back
to Lucq.

The 21st provided us with genuine rain.  We went for a walk up the Ehujarre gorge from
Ste Engrace, a very silly business where Andy proved to be the only person
without a cagoule and kept moaning like a demented Yeti about how wet he
was.  Thursday was overcast but drier, so
the whole party assembled at the Relais de la P.S.M. for a walk which took in
the Lepineux and Tete Sauvage entrances to the

, plus the Pic d’Atlas, which at 2,064
m (6,772ft) gave us some incredible views of the miles of barren lapiaz through
the holes in the cloud below us.  During
the walk the party came across two crates of unopened bottles of wine left (‘abandoned’
was the legal opinion) in a grassy patch in the clints.  Six B.E.C. members collapsed in a faint on
the spot but, with admirable self-control, limited themselves to ‘borrowing’
only a litre which ended up empty after a couple of hundred yards.

Sad to say, a few miles later, three of the six
sneaked off into the mist again in the direction of the bottles “just to
see if they’re still there, you understand. We wouldn’t want anything to happen to them, would we?”  Nothing had. John, Malcolm and Andy went into
a huddle and decided that nobody would mind if we went back with a bottle each
in our pockets, but we were the B.E.C.

Local shepherds must have been surprised to see
John ambling down the track to the relais, whistling nonchalantly, then hear
him galloping away every time the mist swirled back and pretending to be a
Pyrenean sheep in a hurry.  Behind him,
Andy and Malcolm lurched about in the fog, carrying something that rattled and

“Hey, Stop!  What’s that noise?  Not another bloody shepherd?”

“What noise?”

“Shhh….There it
goes again!  Shall we run?”

 “Oh, that!  My guts again! – better carry on!”

…….lurch, rattle,

“Christ, this crate’s
heavy!  I must have a rest!”

“Well, we’ve got
fifteen bottles in it.  ‘Course it’s

“Let’s drink another
one now.  Make it a bit lighter.”

A grinding of gears comes out of the mist, and
Andy and Malc drop the crate in a panic and leap off the roadside to hide in a
hole in the clints, listening for “We are the Exploration Club”
played on a sheep bell which would indicate the return of John in the getaway
car.  But this is only another shepherd’s
car.  Andy and Malc manage to find the
crate again and pick it up, cursing. Eventually they reach the relais and creep forward to see what has gone

In true B.E.C. tradition, the getaway car has
broken down.  A flat battery between us
and the biggest wine haul in history.  In
the end, we just load the crate in and it rattles so much as we bump-start
John’s car down 4,000ft of hill that every gendarme between the relais and

must have heard
us.  Cunningly, we avoid them by going
straight to the nearest hostelry.

On the 23rd, the weather changed, and in the whole
party walked off up the extremely impressive Kakouetta Gorge from Ste Engrace
to a point where the path ran out and the heat, the dust and the flies became
too much.

“Of course, you
can’t get up the 100 ft cliffs at the end without pegs and etriers”, the
little man at the cafe assured us.

“Nonsense!  We’ll find a way up if it takes all
day!” said Mike, Graham, Steve and Malc. They did, and it was desperate – and it took all day.

“So what?
“said Pat, Andy, John and Sue. “We’re going back.”  And
that didn’t take any time at all!

The weather was equally good the next day, so we
went for a short walk up the Holzarte Gorge, the neighbour to the
Kakouetta.  The highpoint was the
suspension bridge across it which might have been designed by Brunel after the
pub, and looked as if it hadn’t been maintained since.  A good four hundred feet up, it was – and
vibrated to the lightest step of the smallest Palmer.  Some walked slowly across; some shuffled
uneasily, wishing they hadn’t eaten sardines and raw onions for lunch; Malcolm
pounded across it like a rampaging elephant, bellowing, “Don’t
panic!” at every bounce.

On Sunday, 25th everyone went up to the E.D.F.
Hut, as Andy had negotiated a trip in the P.S.M. via Ruben Gomez and Doninique
Prebende.  Entry was by the E.D.F. tunnel
to the Salle Verna, the second largest chamber in the world.  The non-cavers (Pat, the two children and
Steve) followed us a short distance up the streamway before being conducted
back to the entrance.  Is Miss K. Palmer,
at 5 years old, the youngest person ever to have been in the deepest cave in
the world?  The remaining six then set
off back upstream towards the foot of the Lapineux shaft and the memorial to
Loubens – but we’d left it too late starting and were able to get no further
than the traverse above the Salle Chevalier before time turned us back.

That evening was also marked by a birthday party,
or rather by its beginning, since the nearby town of Tardets was ‘en fete’ all
week and allowed several of us to stagger round with the level of blood in our
alcohol systems reduced to normal Mendip level for days on end.

Monday was occupied again by Betchenkako Lezia
where John, Malcolm, Sue, Andy and Graham had an enjoyable trip which took in
all the known cave, estimated as some three kilometres with a maximum depth of
130 metres (426ft).

Tuesday was a fester day for all of us, combined
with a trip to Oloron Ste Marie to borrow pitons for Wednesday’s epic climb.

The climb, led by Mike and John, supported by
Malcolm Sue and Graham, was to recover a maypole in the Grotte de la
Stalactite Deviee
, a short dry and well-decorated cave next to the great
cascade resurgence in the Kakouetta Gorge. The resurgence is a major one, possibly for Anialarra, and the maypole
had been used in an unsuccessful attempt to by-pass the fifth sump behind the
cascade itself.  To recover it, an 18m
(60ft) overhanging pitch had to be pegged all the way.  Bolts, which might have eased the problem,
were unobtainable and after five hours our heroes were just over a third of the
way up.

The following day, the same team minus Mike and Sue
climbed another five metres (16ft), but had to abandon the job through lack of
time and bolts.  Two pitons shattered in
use, which didn’t help.  So the maypole
is still there and the passage it was used to reach is still un-entered.

Thursday was the last day.  Mike, Steve and Andy crawl up a small but
ludicrously steep mountain which overhung Licq and had to be climbed if only
for the name – Le Chapeau du Gendarme. Later, Mike, Pat and Andy took advantage of the cloudless sky to revisit
the relais and photograph the lapiaz, followed by John, Malcolm and Graham
after they had removed all the tackle from La Stalactite Deviee.  Then everyone went to the hotel at Lanne for
a meal and an evening on the alcohol.  Or
perhaps that was the evening before?  Or
did we stay in Licq that evening?  The
trouble with these week-long birthdays is that they make everything damnably
confusing.  Anyway, wherever we went, the
white crème de Menthe fairly flowed!  And
on Friday 30th August, we left for



Club Officer’s Reports 1974 Climbing Report

Once again, the climbing section seems to
stagnate, but, like a volcano, ready to erupt into life.  SNOW – that’s what we were waiting for last
winter to erupt us to life!  We had hoped
to get a little snow and ice climbing done in
North Wales,
but the weather was against us, with little or no snow, so nothing was done.

There were no organised meets arranged mainly because
of the three day week, and the increase in the cost of fuel.

The start of May saw interest taking place on
Thursday evenings at the Avon Gorge. Then members started doing some of the H.V.S. routes in the gorge on
Sundays.  On a couple of occasions we
really excelled ourselves and went to Wintour’s Leap, Monmouthshire, where we
nearly frightened ourselves to death.

The climbing holiday this year was at
Pembrokeshire and
North Wales.  Let’s hope the climbing done was worthwhile
and that we will read about it in the B.B.

I think the main reason for lack of interest in
the section is the areas we climb in.  We
are lucky to have such a large chunk of rock as the Avon Gorge on our door
step, but if you do not climb constantly at H.V.S. or above, the routes left
open to you are limited.  Therefore going
the same climbs week after week gets somewhat tedious.  The Cheddar Gorge, lovely beauty spot, which
is exactly what it is.  In the summer you
can’t climb there because of tourists. In the winter it’s either too wet, too cold or the days are too short.

Let’s hope that, with the coming of new blood into
the section, the fire to climb will once more be rekindled and give the
climbing section the new lease of life it so sadly needs.

Climbing Sec.


Don’t forget the A.G.M & DINNER. SATURDAY 5th OCTOBER 1974

A.G.M. starts at the Belfry at 10.30 a.m. Dinner is the same evening.  BOOK
full details).


Round and About

A Monthly Miscellany

By ‘Wig’

111.     Priddy Green Sink.  Fred Davies and Ray Mansfield
have almost reached their goal.  Cowsh
Aven is now within twenty feet of the surface. A radio transmission located the spot in mid august and found it to be
at the rear of the cowsheds (shibbins, if you are of West Country farming
stock!)  As part of the agreement with

Fred has agreed to block off Priddy Green Sink. He’s laid a concrete block over the entrance and covered it with soil –
so it’s not lost for ever.


– Top Sink.  Wig is
commencing a dig at this site.  Anyone interested
in digging it will be very welcome. During the first week of September, Jim Durston and Wig visited the site
one Thursday afternoon and found the water very high.  Digging was out, but inside the hole came a
fine low rumbling noise of falling water. Maybe the Burrington master cave!

113.     Belfry fire repositioned.  Our grateful thanks to Bucket
Tilbury for the magnificent job of removing the Belfry fire from its old
position against the rear wall and replacing it in its new position just off
centre of the room.  Apart from the
chimney – now free of the double bend which was necessary to get it out through
the rear wall, it allows people to sit round it and will throw more heat into
the room.

114.    M.R.O. goes 999.  As from September 1st 1974, the
callout procedure has been changed.  In
future, all that is necessary is to dial 999 and ask the operator for: –


After the police have
been contacted, STAY AT THE PHONE UNTIL CONTACTED BY AN M.R.O. WARDEN.  The M.R.O. signs outside caves have all been
changed.  They were changed by Prew, Wig
and Fred Davies together with helpers on August 31st, and the old signs were
auctioned at the C.R.O. conference in September.

115.    New Caving Reports at the
.  Two new
Caving Reports will be available.  Number
14, the long awaited PYRENEAN REPORT by Roy Bennett and the first of the
journal type of CAVE NOTES 1974.  Both
reports will cost 30p each.  Only 100
copies are available of each report. Also, a reprint of Caving Report number 1

, available at 25p – only 50 copies of
this printing.  The whole range of other
Caving Reports will be offered for sale as well.

116.    Combwich (Cannington)

  Is threatened with possible
quarrying.  The quarry owners have
applied for an extension to their site – and the cave lies on this
extension.  Prof. E.K. Tratman has
submitted a report to the Ministry of the Environment.

117.     Roy Bennett at Chepstow

‘s latest site is the best to date.  After many years of walking the area and
digging at several possible sites, he has at last located a small but extremely
interesting cave.  Details and a survey
of the cave will appear in Caving Report number 19 (due to appear later this
year).  Anyone interested in digging with
Roy on Wednesday evenings should first phone
Roy at his home after 6 p.m. (

627813 )

118.   Terry Baker’s Dig.  Near the Mells Ironworks is
proving very interesting according to Nig Taylor.”  It lies on the edge of the river, in a
similar position to Little Neath River Cave and if it goes it should prove very
wet and interesting!  Talking of Nig
Taylor, I wonder if he has given up the game of cops and robbers?  Anyway, N.R.A.S.A. are back together again
digging somewhere (won’t say where) but it appears to be an interesting dig.

119.   Rock Drills.  Several clubs have developed
various types of rock drill to aid in persuading caves to move chemically.  Tim Large has spent quite a sum of money and
time producing an improved rock drill based on an U.L.S.A. design.  It should prove interesting.  What about a paper for the journal type of
Caving Report, Tim?

120.   Tights for Cavers!  Those who still depend on
woollies for their caving exploits will breathe a sigh of relief that there are
nylon tights on the market of interest to cavers.  Long Johns used to be the main stand by for
the woolly wearers, but their price – about £2 to £3 nowadays – made one think
twice about buying them.  Now nylon
tights have been produced for football and athletic training – complete with
zip if you require one – and are obtainable at Lewis’s and Jones’s at

.  They are comfortable and warm.  (Editor’s Note: Any truth in the rumour that
ex W.D. carrying bags are to be replaced with a smart line in caver’s

121.   Material for the B. B.  and for Caving Reports should be
forthcoming from the various individuals who went on continental holidays this
year – and who were lucky enough to avoid the collapsing travel agents.

122.   Swildons Hole.  The Wessex Cave Club have done
it again.  An 80 odd page booklet of
photographic record of Swildons Hole, including 60 pages of photographs going
as far as Swildons 12 (although the photograph does give the impression of
being taken in any stream cave!)  The
price is £12 leather bound and £9 rexine bound and the edition is limited to
300 copies.  Apparently

are ‘falling over themselves’ to buy a copy on the basis that the book will
become rare and will be a worth while investment.  This is rather akin to the stamp collector’s
first day covers, which are generally ignored by keen collectors as they are
manufactured specifically for this purpose. One wonders whether W.C.C. members will adopt the same approach to this
speculative issue of a publication which deserves wider circulation.  The book is dedicated to Albert Maine, who
deserves the grateful thanks of all cavers.

123.   Well at Bathford.  The first of the new
multi-subject Caving Reports contains a description of a well at Bathford which
was examined by Alan Thomas, Dave Irwin and Tony Tucker on the 18th August at
the invitation of the owner who was put in touch with Alan by Martin Cavender
of Harris and Harris, the club solicitors.

124.   Caves of Derbyshire.  A copy of the new edition of
this book has been donated to the club library by Tony Oldham.  As many will know, Tony deals in caving
publications and is prepared to send any member his current list of available
books free.  Write to A.D. Oldham,

17 Freemantle Rd

.  Incidentally, Tony informs me that

, Volume I is out of print though
some shops may have stocks left.

125.   Social and Scandal.  Congratulations to Maggie and
Tim Large on the birth of a son – it appears to live up to its father’s name by
being 8lb 12oz.  Doing it to excess
again, Large!  Our congratulation too to
Alfie and Sally who have another daughter, born a day after Tim and Maggie’s
son.  In the next bed to Sally at

she was surprised to find Lyn,
Mike Baker’s wife who has also had a son. Phil and Yo Kingston will be on their way to

New Zealand
in October.

126.   Cuthbert’s Celebrations.  On the 4th September, a
distinguished gathering met at the Belfry and, under the leadership of the
venerable Bennett and with Kangy following some way behind carefully carrying
two bottles of champers together with the glasses (actually plastic cream
cartons).  It was gratifying to see many
of the early leaders present even though two of them didn’t actually make it to
the cave entrance but sat it out in the solitude of the Hunters.  The main party descended via the Waterfall
and Wet pitches to the Water Chute and on through the By-Pass to congregate in
the Dining Room.  An argument developed
as to the location of the concrete dining table.  However, this was located and the drinks set
up in an orderly fashion.

Kangy, having poured the drinks out and passed round the remainder of the booze
in the bottle, called on the venerable Bennett to propose the toast to St.
Cuthbert.  Having duly taken our fill of
the sparkling wine, the discussion moved on to talk of having a similar event
to mark the 25th anniversary.

Those present included the two most important – they descended the rift first
to the head of Arête Pitch – Viv Brown and Roy Bennett, followed by Kangy;
Martin Mills; (straight from his three months tour of the U.S.A.); John
Eatough; Colin Clarke; Mike Palmer; Mike Wheadon; another venerable – Chris
Falshaw; Phil Kingston; Tony Meadon; the Golden Oldie of Cowsh fame – Fred
Davies; Wig; Tim Large; Barry (Goldilocks) Lane; Steve Tuck; John Attwood;
Martin Webster (again, straight from a U.S.A. trip) and last but not least,
Dave (Twittering) Turner.

Following the leaders get together, all surfaced and joined Albert Francis;
Norman Petty and Roger Stenner in the pub.

127.   Polypropylene rope.  Several lengths of No 4 rope
have been purchased by Graham Wilton-Jones for use as lifelines.  These will be added to the club tackle in the
next few weeks.  Nylon rope is also being
obtained – details later.  An article by
John Hunt on S.R.T. will be of interest to members and will be published in the
second Cave Notes to be published later on this year.

This edition (Caving Report No 19) will also include extensions to O.F.D. with
surveys by Bucket Tilbury and Graham Wilton-Jones; a surveying feature ‘Leg
Length as a function of station to station accuracy in Centreline Surveying’ by
Alfie; Rod’s Pot – a new survey by Wig, and details of the Withyhill survey –
also Fairy Cave Quarry complete with a simplified survey.


Some further information on Deneholes

Since the recent article on Deneholes, we have
received a letter from Roy Musgrove, of the Chelsea S.S. who writes as follows:

Yes, people actually read exchange copies of the
B.B.  I was interested to see the article
in the July issue on the Hangman’s Wood Deneholes.  They have been threatened by a road
construction scheme.

However, I was disappointed to see no reference in
the bibliography to records of the Chelsea Speleological Society, Volume 4,
entitled simply ‘Deneholes’.  This was
written by Harry Pearman, founder member of C.S.S. who is a specialist in the
subterranean South East of England.  It
describes 73 Denehole sites, discusses their origin, and has a bibliography of
77 items.  It agrees that most were
probably dug for chalk.

I enclose some advertising ‘blurb’ covering all
our current publications on S.E. England, which you may like to make available
to B.E.C. members, especially the D authors of the article.  How about getting ‘Wig’ to buy copies for the

We’ll do better than that,

, and publish details of the publications
you sent in this B.B. for all B.E.C. members.


Volume IV.


Volume V.



Volume VI.








by Harry
Pearman.  Published 1965, reprinted
1970.  72pages 26 illustrations.

by John
Henderson, Brian Hillman and Harry Pearman.  Published 1968.  84 pages with 33 illustrations.

by Harry
Pearman.  106 pages.


All three volumes are duplicated, quarto.  Volumes IV and V 50p each, while Volume VI is
75p.  Volumes IV and V describe sites of
speleological interest South East England. Some sites are natural, being formed by sea or river action.  There are also many disused mines in the
area, some many miles in length.

Deneholes are curious excavations which abound in
Kent and parts of
and comprise a network of chalk-cut chambers entered by vertical shafts.  Some sites are follies, dug as single
passages or labyrinths at the whim of a landowner.  Some places are legendary secret passages
although their true functions were often less romantic.  There are also a number of cavities which are
complete mysteries.

Each volume gives plans and locations of each
underground place, relates what is known of its history and explains the
position about obtaining access at the time of going to print.  They are unique documents of interest to the
geographer, explorer, antiquarian and archaeologist.  Since many of these sites will disappear or
be deliberately closed or obliterated, they will also perform a useful function
by recording what exists for future researchers or land developers.

Among the places described in Volume VI are the
remains of a trial bore for the channel tunnel, which lies hidden in the sea
cliffs near Folkestone; the massive underground folly at Eastry, the lengthy
subterranean conduit system for Greenwich Palace; the chalk mine which
collapsed and destroyed part of Plumstead; the underground forts at Dover the
natural caves 100 feet beneath Blackheath and the alleged smugglers’ caves at
Pegwell Bay.

Enquiries and orders to: Chelsea Speleological
Society, c/o 385,

Kings Road,


Monthly Crossword – Number 50.  Prize Crossword



















































































1. Cave feature found
in claps I’ll argue about. (6)
5. One of a triple in Swildons? (3)
6. Features of a master cave? (6)
7. Flowerpot, presumably, has no need for this feature. (3)
9. See 13 across for example. (1,1)
11. Backward cry for Mendip swallet. (3)
12. Thus we have it. (2)
13. 9 across Cerberus? (3)
15. 7,037 lbs approximately for climbing aids. (6)
16. 2 down was interested in this. (3)
17. Changes of this nature have occurred in G.B. (6)


1. Forced a passage –
pr perhaps shed – up. (6)
2. A lead this was associated with Mendip once. (4)
3. Tore again this deposited material. (9)
4. Mythical underground region forming inclinations of fault planes? (5)
8. Strode otherwise for a caving club’s region. (6).
10. Mixed oversize rug found in some caves. (5)
14. Exclamation and French for caves! (4)

Solution to Last Month’s Crossword



















































































Club Committee

The Belfry,

, Priddy, Wells,

. Telephone WELLS 72126

Chairman          S.J.

Minutes Sec      G.


Members           M. Bishop, D.J. Irwin, B. Wilton, G.
N. Taylor, A.R. Thomas, A. Nicholls.

Officers of the Club

Honorary Secretary        A.R
THOMAS, Allen’s House,

Barrows Lane
, Priddy, Wells Somerset. Tel: PRIDDY

Honorary Treasurer         B.


27 Venus Lane
Clutton, Nr. Bristol.

Caving Secretary            A.
NICHOLLS, Address to follow.

Climbing Secretary         G. OATEN,
Address to follow.

Hut Warden                   N.
TAYLOR, Whiddons, Chilcote,

.  Tele : WELLS 72338

Belfry Engineer              M.
BISHOP, Bishop’s Cottage, The Batch, Priddy, Wells, Som.  Tele : PRIDDY 370

Tacklemaster                 G.
WILTON-JONES, 17 Monkham’s Drive, Watton, Thetford,


B.B. Editor                    S.J.
COLLINS, Lavender Cottage, Bishops Sutton, Nr. Bristol. Tel : CHEW MAGNA 2915

Honorary Librarian          D.J
IRWIN, Townsend Cottage, Townsend, Priddy, Wells Som.  Tel : PRIDDY 369

Publications Editor         D.J
IRWIN  As above

B.B. Postal                   Brenda.

  Address as for Barry

© 2024 Bristol Exploration Club Ltd

registered in England and Wales as a co-operative society under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014, registered no. 4934.