Exploration Club, The Belfry,

, Priddy, Wells,

. Telephone Wells  72126.

Editor: Robin Gray

Members will be sad to learn of the death of Postle (J.M.
Thompsettt).  Providing a link with the
immediate post war pars when the ‘Barn’ was club headquarters on Mendip, he
will be missed by many members.  Our
sympathy goes out to Dizzie and her family.

Odds & Ends

The Club has for sale a quantity of car stickers in blue
vinyl with white lettering.  They bear
the standard plebs motif with the novelty being that, as usual, the BEC thought
of it first (over 20 years ago in fact) so with this superior thought in mind
you may decorate your car with the excellent caption “The BEC do it to
EXCESS’.  60p each from Tim Large or the
the Belfry.  Proceeds towards the new St
Cuthbert’s Sump Pump.

Hordes of old members have been spotted on the hill
recently.  They include Don and Stella
Hassell, Angus,

Barry Lane
Chris Hall, Dizzie Tompsett, Tom Gage, Graham Phippen, Graham Wilton-Jones,
‘Foulmouth’ McKee, Sett, Alfie, John Cornwall etc.  Lets hope we see them all in October and,
along with many more, at the 50th anniversary feast.

Alan Thomas is preparing for the winter.  He has started to raise a fresh crop of duvet
filling that lays eggs as well (except, as Alan says, when there’s a Duck
strike on!)


The Dinner

Please make sure you order your meal by Sept 30th.  Tickets £8! ….Only 150 and they are going
fast!!  Nigel Taylor is laying on a coach
to and from the dinner.  Write your name
on the list on the Belfry notice board or let Brian Workman know when you order
your tickets so that he can do it for you.

Please make sure you include your money when ordering your
PO or cheque for £8 made payable to
Brian Workman.  he’s opened a special
account for the dinner.


1983                           £1.80

1983                                  £3.00

FRENCH WINE                     £2.20

RHONE 1983                        £2.25

ROUSSILLION 1983              £2.75

You can order when you get there or take your own.

Coq au Vin with
Button Mushrooms & Red Wine Sauce

NOTE The caterer can now provide Jacket Potatoes so these
will be substituted for rice.


Editors Report

Although the articles printed in recent BB’s have been of
good quality, both on the scientific and the humorous side, there has by no
means been a glut of printable material. As a result of this lack, BB’s have been produced only when enough
material has been assembled.

My thanks to those of you who have sent in articles for
publication and I hope to receive something from the rest of you in the next

As the 50th year of the BEC draws near may I take this
opportunity to suggest articles of an historical nature from some of our older
members.  I hope to use a special BB
cover for 1985 perhaps incorporating all the different Bertie Bats.

My thanks to all who have helped with typing, printing,
articles, and drawings over the last few months.

Robin Gray, Hon Editor
to the BEC.

The Hon. Librarians Report

The libary has ticked over gently throughout the year.  Several new publications have been obtained
with an emphasis on Cornish Mining.  Many
thanks to those who have donated material and thanks in advance to those who
will donate during the coming year.

A major exchange has been arranged with Steve Craven of the
South African Speleological Association. All our available material has been
posted to


and we expect a return parcel soon.

Until the new library room is built, little can be achieved
in the way of improvements to the present system.

Please will all those who have books out return them to the
library as soon as possible for stock checking.

Tony Jarratt.


St. Cuthbert’s Report

To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the BEC it is intended
to produce a complete publication on Cuthbert’s, including the survey on 28

The overall survey and description are almost complete and
much of the information already published as Reports will be included.  A selection of good black and white
photographs of both a historical and a geomorphological nature are needed to
illustrate the work.  Should any member
wish to loan material of this sort or indeed go down and take some new ones,
please contact Tony Jarratt at the Hunters or write to
, Pelting Drove, Priddy, Wells.  We hope to have all the material for editing
by the end of the year.


New additions include the latest Devon, Cerberous, Shepton,
Red Rose,


and South African Speleo. Association publications.

Anyone still holding library material PLEASE RETURN
A.S.A.P.  If you can’t afford the postage
bring it to the A.G.M.

All donations of books, newsletters and press cuttings for
the club scrapbook gratefully received. The Hon. Librarian will be present at the A.G.M.

Collectors of old BB’s who are lacking any back issues
please send a list of their needs to J’Rat who will attempt to find what they


The Dave’s Cave in


From BCRA grade 5 survey by Robin Gray and David Watts and
drawn by Robin Gray.

The cave is situated on the wooded crest of a hill above
Sandilands Farm, Cowden, Nat. grid ref 491416 sheet TQ44.  10p goodwill fee at the farm.  The farmer will give details of how to find
the cave which is in a slight depression in wooded ground.  The entrance is to be found at the base of a
small tree, falling straight down in the form of a vertical 25ft pitch.  Belay ladder to tree.  The hole is covered with a tree stump.

Tales of endless caverns and bottomless pits abound in this
out of the way back water of


and most of the Queens Arms can tell of either a relation friend who had been
in vast caves, with streams and stal, many never to return.

It is probable that many of the stories are based on
childhood visits to the many mines in the area as this like Godstone and
Reigate is a greensand area.

David Watts, Dave Davidson, and Robin Gray, all then living
in the area, spent many an afternoon poking around in search of the caves
recalled in the public bar.

In September 1976 the two Daves were told of a hole in the
wood at Sandilands and after a short search they found a pitch covered with a
rooty old tree stump.  This had been
placed over the hole by the motor cross club who had no wish to take up caving.

The cave was explored the next day by Gray,
Watts, Davidson, and Sue Jenkins who also did a fair
amount of digging at the end of the cave.

The entrance shaft was found to be almost round and to be
surfaced from top to bottom with white stal. The pitch lands on a small pile of sticks and leaves which is in a
narrow rift in the sandstone.  On this
pile of detritus we found a rusting Victorian candle with the remains of a
length of light rope.

The rift leads down to a cross rift with a slot on the left
leading up to a little boulder chamber. The whole cave is decorated with stalactites and several inches of
flowstone.  Some of the stal is bright
red while the other of the purest white. There were bat droppings in the boulder chamber and the cave give refuge
to many insects and some very large and fierce looking spiders.

A draught was detected at the lower cross rift but digging
revealed a narrowing of the rift and no way on. At the other end of the main rift fallen blocks and a narrowing of the
rift also made further progress impossible. However, lovers of spiders will find this place of great interest.

Although small, the cave is of great interest and provides a
natural break from the many hearthstone mines the area.  It is of course, little visited.

Robin Gray.


Caving Notes

Gouffre Berger.

As part of next years club jubilee celebrations, it has been
decided to arrange a trip to the Berger in July.  Anybody wishing to come, help in organising
food, equipment etc should contact me or Tim Large.  Further details later but don’t be slow in
coming forward.

Ian Deer Memorial Fund.

A reminder to club members, particularly the younger ones,
that there is money available to assist in your caving expeditions.  If you think you qualify, drop me a line now!

St. Cuthbert’s Leaders.

Anybody wishing to become a leader should contact me for
details, and an application form.  We
can’t rely on our present set of leaders to do all the tourist trips we are
obliged to do.




Quote of the Month

Young lady (with boyfriend) overheard in the Hunters: –

‘Lets leave, this place is like a lunatic asylum’

Change Of Adddress, New Members

Richard clarke, Chudleigh,
Newton abbot Devon
Pete & Joyce Franklin, Stone, Staffs
Dany Bradshaw, Priddy, Wells,

Paul Hodgson, Burcott nr. Wells,


We welcome the following as new members of the BEC

John Chew, Rodney Stoke, Nr .Wells,

Lisa Taylor,


Dave Pike, Luckington, Chippenham, Wilts


© 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.