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A very Happy New Year and Good Caving to all our members all over the World,

Grand Auction

The Club is auctioning an almost new pair of Tyrolean Shorts, complete with the usual natty braces.  These shorts of leather have been given by Henry Shelton, and will fit a tall man. Bids are to be sent to the Hon, Sec, by the end of February.


The following "Poem" arrived in the Hon. Sec's door by mysterious means and is unsigned. Members of the Club will however recognise without difficulty its author. (with many apologies to Shakespeare).

When motorbikes stand by the hut,
And Don the Diver cleans his plug,
And Sett screws up a loosened nut,
And beer comes frozen home in Jug,
When roads be white and slippery,
Then nightly sings the B.E.C. "Woo woo!
Alas Poor little Angeling”,
While Greasy George the plates doth clean.

When Macbeth doth refuse to go,
And caving clothes hang by the door,
And G,B. lies beneath the snow,
And Half-Pint's nose is red and raw,
When stew's been cooked, and beer runs free,
Then nightly sings the B.E.C. “Woo woo!
Alas Poor little Angeling”,
While Greasy George the plates doth clean.

Stupendous Discovery on Mendip

The following is an extract from a newspaper cutting recently sent to the Hon. Sec.:-

The spirit of adventure and exploration was high in the minds of all who went out on the Club Run last week with the ----------- traversing over rough cart tracks and muddy lanes of the barren, almost deserted Mendip Hills, white over with the frost of the night before, against a biting wind, they continued to their destination- Goatchurch Caves- going via Banwell, Shipham and Charterhouse.

Descending into the caves, which go down many miles having a great many turnings which must be chosen and remembered with care for the return journey, and armed with ropes and candles, a depth of approximately two miles was reached.

The more adventurous of the explorers succeeded in reaching a grotto through a tunnel known to cavers as the "Drainpipe", this being 1’6" in diameter and 20 feet Iong, here turning round and reaching the top again, muddy but pleased with their achievement, just as dusk was falling.

The afternoon run was met for tea at the Stirrup Cup Cafe, which is situated at the top of Burrington Coombe. -----------

Someone has been holding out on us! Two miles, It puts Stoke Lane in the shade. Will anyone with information please send in to the Hon. Editor at once!!!!

Climbing Nevis Peak. British West Indies.

The Menace Again!

Nevis is a small island which really consists of an extinct volcano, sticking 3,600 ft. out of the ocean. This mountain is covered in dense jungle right to the top, as are all the mountains in B.W.I..

Having heard of some rock near the cloud capped summit, George and I decided to climb it. We managed to get permission to start at 6.0 a.m. in the morning before it got too hot, and by 7.0 we had got to the base of a large gully.  The bed of the Gully was a vile mixture of mud, loose rock, ash and jungle, and the going was so loose that we had to take to the side of it. I can only describe the next part as climbing up a mass of vertical matted vegetation. By then it had got really hot and clouds of steam were rising off everything, also clouds of mosquitoes, bugs and what have you. We soon became eaten alive, scratched to bits, and generally done up in big heaps. After about 1,000 ft. of this sort of thing we came into the cloud level, and it became very cold. There was a sort of green twilight all the time, and the only living things were a vicious brand of ants, and some horrible looking monkeys that wailed and screamed at us. After this the going was somewhat easier over mossy rock and ash, and we arrived at the top. The top was covered in stunted grey trees covered in streamers of grey moss, and with a visibility of about 5 yards it was very depressing and cold. In fact the only sign that we were at the top was the fact that we couldn’t go any higher.

After a cold miserable meal we started off down another gully. In fact, once we started we couldn't stop and it was one long glissade to the bottom.  However, there were one or two rock pitches and George went flying over the first one, about 35 ft. into a pot-hole full of water, without getting seriously damaged.  I decided to be a lot more careful and lowered myself from a small tree which promptly came away, and I joined him, landing in a sitting position on a rock. I will leave the next part to your imagination, as it is not printable. After about two more hours of this sort of thing, we got back to the ship, being the first ones to have climbed the mountain by that side for 25 years.

J.Y. Morris

From the Hon. Sec’s-Post Bag

From Terry Reed, Off Klein Bonaire, (Wherever that may be, Ed.)!! . I would like to report that I believe some caves to exist at Point St. Marie, just North of Ballen Bay in Curacoa. I must have passed within 200 yds of them.

Also from Terry Reed, off San Luiz. (Ditto) Ed.. Spent my time in Curacoa in – you’ve guessed it - Caving!!  I was unable to visit the Virgin's Grotto ---- but I visited an old mine-working near Caracas Bay, which had broken into a big L shaped chamber.  I didn’t even need overalls, which with other tackle I'd lugged from-------?, Just walked in -------—— Hope to collect some dried Human Heads this trip.

From Tony Crawford,

If anyone is interested, there is a place called Cromarty inside the Morray Firth. As we steamed through the Cromarty Gap I sap that the right hand side was a cliff covered with sea caves which should be very interesting to explore. I was very sorry that I was unable to go ashore and explore them.------------On the Isle of Arran, off the S.W. coast of there is an island called Holy Island on the lighthouse end of which there is a cave which is easily seen from the path all round the island. This cave is really a split in the rock which you would call a cleft. It looks like an interesting cave and is worth exploring. I crawled as far as I could. It is not a sea cave at all, as fresh water trickles trickles through it and showers through the roof.  When the opening became too small I had to turn back as I had no spade to dig the earth in the bottom of the passage, where the floor was soft. The passage continued as I; saw when I shone my torch in and saw a larger chamber continuing. ----

Reed’s Cavern Buckfastleigh, S. Devon.

By G.W. Ridyard

During a visit to Plymouth during the second week of December, I met E. Masson Phillips, a newcomer to Caving, and a local archaeologist.

The outcome of our meeting was that on the Saturday morning I found myself on a bus bound for Buckfastleigh.

Buckfastleigh is-situated on the south-eastern fringe of Dartmoor and has a number of caves nearby in an outcrop of Devonian Limestone. The Devon Speleos, have their headquarters at Buckfastleigh behind the general store of Mr. Reed, discoverer of Reed’s Cavern. There we changed and set out, in pouring rain for the disused quarry where the entrance to Reed's Cavern is situated.  The party consisted of four sixth-form boys from Totnes Grammar School, one of which was "Jigger" Reed who as a caver is following in his father's footsteps, E.M. Phillips who is their science master, and myself.

Arriving at the quarry I found that the entrance was in a large rock shelter formed by a natural cavity half quarried away in the past. We waited here for a while for Mr. Woodward of the Devon Speleos, who was to lead the party. After a while the lads and myself decided to have a look at Spider Hole, a small cave system about 50 yards from our shelter. We were hoping to see some bats, but we had to be content with one rather sleepy Greater Horseshoe Bat, which swore softly when he was removed from his perch. This was one of the bats which had been ringed by the Devon Speleos. The Hoopers and the Reeds have done a lot of work of this type in the Buckfastleigh area.  Sometimes as was the case with this particular bat, the rings are rendered illegible by the bats chewing them.

Spider Hole lived up to its name, for in the semi-dark gone I saw some of the biggest spiders I have ever seen. Leaving our bat and the spiders we squelched back, through mud and. rain, to Reed's Cavern entrance; where we found Mr. Woodward had arrived with the key of the door which has been fitted a short distance inside the entrance passage.

The entrance was about. 8 ft. above the ground level and after negotiating this by climbing over a wheels-less farm cart propped against the rock face, we found ourselves in a small chamber with a certain amount of discoloured drip formation.  Pressing on we soon had to crawl along a low passage as far as the small, door which cuts off the bulk of the cave from the general public.  The door was in a side of the passage, and we made a right angled turn as we entered it.  A further crawl of some feet and a little squeeze brought us into the main chamber.

We emerged beneath two "Shark's fin" curtains of stalactite, of an orangish shade, one of which has had its point removed by someone who forgot to duck when he stood up. The main chamber I judged to be about 120ft long, 30 ft wide, and up to 30 ft in height.

The floor was very uneven with a number of large limestone blocks lying about and there was a small boulder ruckle at one point which leads, I believe, to a lower series. There was quite a lot of stalagmite on certain parts of the floor cementing boulders together. Around the sides of the main chamber were plenty of formations, and one or two stalagmite cascades, some rather dirty.

We continued along a passage which brought us into a small rift chamber where we saw evidence of a former water levels some 4 ft above the general floor level. Here, was a bristling fringe of dogtooth spar along one wall and on the side of a rock which must have projected at one time above the level of the pool.  We traversed a number of rift and water-eaten passages until near the limit of our trip we saw the oddest helactite I have ever seen. This was in the form of a little stalacto-stalagmite column with two horizontally opposed arms sprouting out of it, each curving upwards. The impression is that of a little man, wearing a top hat and conducting a choir.  The whole thing is in white crystal-like calcite which is similar to the calcite forming the numerous small helectltes in this part of the series.  I do not think that G.B. Cavern can equal this Devonshire cave for this peculiar type of formation.

We retraced our steps to the main chamber and spent half an hour or so exploring a few side passages which were pretty tight and quite abortive. In one small cul-de-sac we saw a number of small mounds of needle like crystals which being brownish in colour looked exactly like a group of hedge hogs in hibernation. Finally we headed back for the entrance having abandoned the idea of trying the upper series as one of the lads was wearing gum boots and was therefore, not equipped for any strenuous rock climbing.

After walking back to Buckfastleigh in the rain we changed and cleaned up. Mrs Reed very kindly provided us with a first rate tea which was duly dispatched and after bidding our fellow mud-wallowers good-bye, Phillips and I left for the Plymouth bus.

To sum up I would say that Reed's Cavern is a very interesting cave and, although some of the formations have much to be desired so far as beauty is concerned, it is far superior to any of the Yorkshire caves I visited last summer. It is a good sporting cave and is moderately dry. The cave is well worth visiting if any BEC members should be in the neighbourhood in the future, and I have no doubt that Mr. Reed and the Devon Speleos in general would prove to be very helpful in any way possible.

Belfry Sub. Committee.

At a recent Committee meeting it was decided that the Belfry subcommittee to deal with matters relating to the erection of the New Belfry and to expedite its completion should be:- John Ifold, G.T. Lucy, Tony Johnson and Mrs. Tompsett, with Tony Setterington as chairman.


The library will be closed from Feb. 1st. until a date to be announced later. All books MUST be returned by this date without fail. The Library Fine System is suspended as from the publication of this Belfry Bulletin until an announcement be made to the contrary.

T.H. Stanbury. Hon Sec

Note by Hon. Fester of B.B. The stencil seems to have slipped to the side during cutting. Apologies are offered.

At the A.G.M. a question was asked about B.E.C, activities other than Caving and the matter was discussed at at the last Committee meeting.

Walking and Climbing.  Will all those interested in either walking or Rock climbing please send in their names so that we may get something organised. Even if you think that a committee man knows your interests please let us know as your name may be the one forgotten.

We have a leader in mind for the walking Section, whose name will be announced when and if he accepts. Would any of the existing climbing types in the club like to suggest someone, not necessarily a club member who would give sound tuition to those interested.

Another unsigned epic.

A suggested Epitaph.

Here lies dear Don,
So sadly passed on.

He went down Stoke Lane,
When 'twas pouring with rain.

Tho' they pumped out the Sump
With a ruddy great pump,

He was well out of reach
In the tum of a leech.

So cavers take heed
If you*re able to read

Of the undignified end
Of a very dear friend.

D. A. C.    R.I.P.

Cave Research Group.

The C.R.G. is publishing in the immediate future 'The Transactions of the Cave Research Group'. It consists of 29pages of duplicate copyscript, a printed cover and 16 line diagrams together with 4 half tone illustrations.

The price is 4/-, Please send all orders to the Hon. Sec. as soon as possible. He will forward to the C.R.G.


Mr. F.J. Shorland has become engaged to Miss Joyce Norman, a Telephone Operator at Taunton.

News Flash.

A mine Shaft was recently found open in Warren Field.


Further item 3 of the A.G.M. agenda the following persons were nominated for the 54 committee

R Bagshaw, T H Stanbury,  D ,  K Dobbs,  R Setterington. A Collins A Johnson. P Ifold, D.A. Coase,  Mrs C Coase,  R Bennett N Petty

The Committee consists of 8n persons including at least one Lady member.

I wish to vote for the following:








8 Lady Rep


NAME                                         Mem. No.

This form should be completed and returned to the Asst Sec 55 Broadfield Rd,  Knowle Bristol 4 not later than 10 MAR 1954.

List of Members 1948 No.9,

T. Kendrick,                    Cherry Street, Bingham, Notts
W. Mack                         313 Watford Road, St. Albans, Herts
Miss P.M. Brazier,           14. Kendale Road, Bridgwater, Somerset
W.J. Shorthose,              Hon. Sec. London Section B.E.C.,
                                      7 Marius Mansions, Rowfant Road, Balham, London S.W.18
Mrs. L. Eno                     6 Saville Place, Clifton, Bristol.8
Miss. V,N. Inseal             35 Petherton Road, Knowle, Bristol 4
T. Driver                          10 St. Pauls Road, Clifton, Bristol
G. Ratcllffe (138)              2 Mayfield Road, Dagenham, Essex
R.H. Morgan                    4. Brook Road, Montpelier, Bristol 6
B. Smailes                      16 Armoury Square, Stapleton Road, Bristol
F. leR. Perree                  University Settlement, Barton Hill, Bristol 5
Miss. F. Chapman           38 Devonshire Road, Westbury Park, Bristol 6
R.T. Humpidge                26. Cavendish Road, Henleaze, Bristol.

Found!! Found!! Found!!

We seem to be making a habit of finding watches.  A watch has been found in Swildons Hole. Found in the wet way this watch is of the type hopefully designated as "Waterproof".  Will all claimants write the Hon. Sec. who has the watch in his possession. A claim was laid to it by the Marine Commandos who visit Swildons occasional, but the watch lost by them was of a totally different type to that found.

Caving Exhibition

The Exhibition at Bristol Museum attracted great attention in the district and has been acclaimed a great success.  From the Club point of view the exhibition marked the first publication of the provisional plan of Stoke Lane, and the showing, for the first time, of a number of Photographs taken there.  Except for the Plan which is copyright, the idea of strict suppression of the Club name was kept to, although several blatant exceptions were noticed from others.

Report on the Annual General Meeting

1.  It was prop by R.A. Setterington Sec by D.A. Coase that D.H. Hasell be elected Chairman of the meeting, this was carried unam.

2  Hon Sees Report.

This report was compiled on Nov 28th.

Our membership at the present moment stands at 94. That being the number whose subs have been paid and whose membership is current. Besides those there are a small number whose Subs, are due and will probably send them in during the next few days.

The proposal at the last AGM that the subs for new members run to the anniversary of their date of joining has been carried out with the result that a. the club is assured of a steady income through the year instead of having all the subs coming in on Jan.1st. b. The Hon Sec. has far less work to do, it being far easier to type one or two remainder forms per month than 100 in Jan.

A considerable increase in the tempo of caving has been noticed in the last few months. But we should be glad if members could a. send in a report of their trips so that the club can have some record of the activities of its members & b. let us know in advance as far as is practical where members are going each week.  If this had been done there would not have been the uproar in the papers and the police inquiries about the clothing at GB.  The survey of Stoke Lane has at last been published; it is only provisional and will I hope be superseded by a another issue latter on. The difficulties on S/L seem to keep people away from the place when there is work to be done. Certain Surveying instruments have been bought and it is hoped that members will use them in caves as well as finding their way over hilltops.

Tackle. A. quantity of rope has been bought and put into our reserve stock. One ladder has been condemned but has not been rebuilt owing to the fact that there is so little interest in the tackle shown by members that the last two ladders were made almost in their entirety by three or four people who have rebelled against further forced labour.

Belfry. A separate report will be coming from the Hut warden, and I will not trespass on his ground except to say that our new Hut still awaits the willing hands of members to help in its  . erection.

Exhibition. The exhibition being held at the city Museum has a great success and I have been asked to read the following letter:-

Dear Mr. Stanbury,

My committee have asked me to extend to you their sincere thanks for the splendid effort which the Bristol Exploration Club and the Cave Diving Group have made in connection with the Mendip Caving Exhibition. They are indeed gratified with the response, and are pleased that such cooperation has been proved possible and has led to such happy results.

The exhibition is proving of great interest to the public, and my Committee are delighted that such a representative collection has been made possible by the goodwill and collaboration of all concerned. Will you please thank your Societies on our behalf,  I feel that our especial thanks are due to those members who undertook not only to attend the Committee meetings in connection with this exhibition, but also did such a great deal of the actual arrangement. Will you please express my thanks to those concerned.

Yours sincerely, (signed) F.S. Wallis, Director.

As mentioned in the Belfry Bulletin earlier in the year, we have absorbed the Clifton Caving Club, These lads have been doing some fine work recently and are now experimenting with photography,

A London Section of B.E.C, has been formed and this will be discussed later in the evening.

Belfry Bulletin. A change in format during the year has been claimed as a great Improvement. The Bulletin has been produced more regularly this year than last, but there are very few sending in articles etc. for publication. Please make every endeavour to make our Bulletin a real news sheet. This is another reason why we want reports of trips.

The Hon. Sec. has obtained a blasting license and will be only too pleased to bang any and every hole that the ”digging” members want enlarging.

Library. During the year a number of new books have been purchased, and every opportunity has been taken to increase the amount of caving literature available to members. A number of obsolete travel books have been withdrawn and sold, the proceeds going towards new books. There are still a number of books missing, and I ask you once again to hunt them out and return them.

I should like to hand a special bouquet to Jim Weekes for the way that he took over the secretarial work of the club during my illness at the beginning of the year.

A social sub-committee has been formed to handle and arrange such things as dances etc..

In conclusion, this year has been the most successful in the history of the Club,  I say this every year, and I expect that it gets quite monotonous to hear me say it year after year. From the Club point of view however, it speaks well for the future of the B.E.C, when for a large number of years running, we can say that each year saw a step forward on the year previous. The coming year depends upon each member, and the amount of work and effort that he or she puts into club affairs. Our percentage of active members is I believe, as high, if not higher than any other club in the area, and we must try to make it oven higher next year.

Arising from the above. R. Wallace asked what instruments had been purchased. A list was read by D.A. Coase and included the following:- 2 compasses; 1 clinometer; 2 tripods; and a simple theodolite.

3. London Section,

D.A. Coase explained the idea behind the formation of the London Section. As a fair number of members are resident in the London area, the Section was formed both for Armchair caving and fieldwork. The section would be self supporting for all work in that area.

J.M. Tompsett proposed that a London Section be formed officially, this was seconded by R.A. Setterington and carried.

4.  Financial Reports,

The year’s financial sheet is separate and every member will find it attached to this BB.

Arising from 4. R. Wallace proposed that the A.G.M. be held after the end of the financial year and that a financial statement be sent to members with the A.G.M. Agenda. This was sec. by R. Woodbridge and carried.

R.M. Wallis proposed by letter that the "Graded Subs" for the Belfry Sleepers be dropped. This was seconded by D.A. Coase and carried*

D.A, Coase proposed that the Hut Subs be increased from 1/- to 1/6 and 1/- for Junior members, per head until such time as the debt on the hut be paid off.  This was sec by J.C. Weekes. When put to the vote the motion was defeated only 8 members being in favour.

R.A. Setterington proposed that the £2 'Season Ticket' for the Belfry be pressed in the BB. This was seconded by Mrs. Tompsett and carried.

The subs for Life Members was discussed and J.A. Dwyer proposed that the matter be left to the committee. This was sec. by Mrs. Tompsett and carried.

At this stage Mr. Setterington announced that P. Daymond had joined the regular R.A.F. and that F. Shorland was in Africa. The Hon Sec. explained that all members of the regular Forces paid a subs, whilst in , but when they were posted overseas the club continued their membership until their return.

5,  Results of Committee Election.

The Hon. Sec. announced the results of the Election:-

T.H, Stanbury               44
D.H. Hasell                   37
R.A. Setterington          30
J.C.Weekes                  22
A.M.Innes                     21
Miss P. Richards          20
G.T. Lucy                     15
S.C.W. Herman            13
R. Woodbridge              12
J.M. Tompsett               11
S.A.J.Bosworth             4

The committee for 1949 therefore being:- Stanbury, Hasell, Setterington, Weekes, and Innes.

T.H. Stanbury proposed that D.A. Coase be co-opted to represent the London Section. This was sec. by G.T. Lucy and carried.

T.H. Stanbury told the meeting that an Assistant Sec. was very necessary owing to the very limited time at his disposal.  Mrs. Tompsett proposed that Miss. P. Richards be appointed. This was sec by G. Ridyard and carried.

It was proposed by R.A. Setterington and sec. by G.T. Lucy that T.H. Stanbury be appointed Hon. Sec and Treasurer. This was carried.

It was proposed by D.A. Coase and sec. by G.T. Lucy that R.A. Setterington be appointed Hut Warden and Tackle Officer.

It was proposed by J.A. Dwyer and sec. by Mrs. Tompsett that G.T. Lucy be appointed Hut Warden and Tackle Officer.

A vote was taken and R.A. Setterington was appointed to the post the voting being:- Setterington 13; Lucy 7.

6, Hut Wardens Report,

D.A. Coase reported very briefly that the foundations for the new hut were well under way, but that there was a considerable amount of work still to be done. The state of the existing Belfry is bad, and the new hut will have to be kept far cleaner that the old one.

A ladder is being re-roped and a lot of new equipment has been added to the club assets. This consists mainly of digging and, surveying gear.

Nothing further has been heard of the tent etc, that was missing and 2 caving helmets are also missing.

The Hon, Sec. asked why in view of the missing articles, why the lock on the main door had not been repaired. It was agreed that the new hut must be made burglar proof.

R. Wallace proposed that a sub-committee be appointed to push forward the erection of the new hut. This was sec. by Mrs. Tompsett and carried.

A. Johnson proposed that the whole question of internal arrangements be left to the General and Belfry Committees. This was seconded by R. Brain and carried.

7, The state of the Library Books

…was commented on by the Hon. Sec. and also the fact that few reports of trips were being sent in.

8  Plans for 1949,

The activities of the Club in broad outline were discussed and the following., tabulated for Committee discussion,

a          A complete survey of Stoke Lane,
b.         Photography of Stoke Lane,
c,         Trips other than Caving. (Climbing etc.).
d.         Cross Swallet,
e          Paes Dig.
f.          A Foreign Trip,

9,  Any other business

It was stated that for those wishing to work on the Belfry transport to and from the Belfry to Hillgrove would be guaranteed.

It was proposed that the Library fine system be overhauled. This was proposed by R. Wallace and sec. by D.A. Coase. The matter was referred to the Committee.

A vote of thanks was given to Mrs. Weekes for her kindness in loaning a room for the meeting.

The meeting closed at 9.30, there being 30 present at the meeting.

Members will be sorry to hear the our good 'clubite' R.A. Setterington met with an accident at Priddy recently. He was taken to Wells Hospital with facial injuries. However I have just had a message from him that he has returned home and he wished to thank everyone who either visited him or enquired for him. Good show Set!! Glad you’re in circulation again. .

To bring our list of Members for 1948 up to date, we are pleased to welcome the following new members:-

O.F. Rendell,                19. The Drive, Henleaze, Bristol.
Miss. S. Bowden-Lyle,   31 Highworth Road, St. Annes Park, Bristol;

From the Hon. See's Postbag:-

From our old friend and member Andre C. Anastasiou of Salt Lake City, now in Belfast:- ------ I saw in the Daily Mirror of a woman who left her clothes outside a cave on Mendip.-------Sounds as though the old B.E.C, must have been in on the hunt.-----------.

The only hole around here is a small hole with a total depth of about 10 ft (Members who don’t know Andre will be interested to know that he is the bod responsible for the books of cartoons signed Andre, that are so popular in club circles, and caused such hilarity at the recent Exhibition.)

From Fred Shorland who has been exported to Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia as a Human being and not by HM Forces.;- .

This country is honeycombed with caves in various piaces, but the distances are so great that one doesn’t get much chance of looking at any of them—----.

Black's Bulletin for Christmas 1948 has arrived and has the usual interesting features.

Song of a Speleo-Biologist

We print the following without comment:-

I like to see a centipede and to hear its martial tread.
And the sight of spiders fighting, it makes me reel in dread.
Bugs and beetles, lice full fittle,
Big worms, small fleas, if they're kittle.
Snails and leeches they bite my breeches
It's these that make me go!
With a clanking of collecting case, and chewing bubble gum!
With the nightly catch stowed safely in medicated rum!
A helmet's on my head and rotgut's in my tum!!!
As I speleo-biologising go.

Terry Reed

I beg to submit the above atrocity for publication on the BB., Terry    Off the Amazon, 2/13/48.

Apologies to all for the almost month's delay in this issue. Pressure of Work, Xmas and the general aftermath of the A.G.M. have all contrived to make it impossible to turn it out sooner.

BY THE WAY, Do YOU realize that you can get a Belfry Season ticket enabling you to stay (if you wish)permanently at the Belfry for as little as £2!!!! A Season Ticket is a great asset to the "Regular Belfry User" enabling him to save pounds during the year. Applications will be dealt with is strict rotation.

Financial Report for 1948

For the purchase of a Now Belfry we have been loaned by club Members the sum of £97/15/--

This sum will be repaid as soon as we are able to do so, it being born in mind that a certain cash balance is essential for the running of the club, and that the figures given below represent that balance.





By Equipment fees!
By Sales to members and friends:--
By Annual Subscriptions
By Belfry Income:
By Library Fines



To Membership CRG:
To Tools & Equip
To Goods. for Resale
To Belfry Expenditure
Books BB Stamps Gen Sec Execs



Total Income 1948


Total Expenditure


Profit on years working                     £5/ 1/2.

Cash in Hand on Jan 1st. 1948          £16/l6/4½

Cash in PO Account                         £16/ 7/5

Total Club Monies on 30/11/48          £21/17/6½

The above lists show that there is an increase in the sales income but that Belfry income is less than that of 1947.  Annual subs show an increase as go Equip fees.  Library fines are also down.

Expenditure on Tools and Equipment is increased, as has goods for resale. Although this item shows 125p.c. increase the corresponding profit can be seen in the credit column. Belfry expenditure is up as expected, and will greatly increase during the coming year. Miscellaneous items are down, by £6.  In this category comes paper etc for the B.B. some £10, then Library books some £5, stamps printing etc, Photographic papers etc for the Exhibition, and general secretarial exes...

List of Members 1948. No.7

R.E.J. Gough Camp Farm, Elberton, Olveston, Bristol.
E.J. Mason 11. Kendon Drive, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol.
G.W. Ridyard 14. Harvey Road, Croxley Green, Herts..
Miss P.Richards The Cottage, Wellsway, Keynsham, Somerset
W.T.Udall 10. Windsor Terrace, Bristol.8.
R. Hazell 1. Tralee Walk, Bristol.4.
M. Bayfield-Davies c/o G.P.O., Dartmouth, Devon.
G. Orren 68. Hazelbury Road, Knowle, Bristol
M. Lansdown c/o 376, Wells Road, Bristol.4.
Miss M. May The Chantry, Old Church Road, Clevedon, Somerset
Miss.D. Vickery Seaton Lodge, Station Road, Staple hill, Bristol.
T. Hodge 8, The Avenue, Clifton, Bristol
R.A.Shelton 18. Walsh Avenue, Hengrove, Bristol.4.
A.R. Preston 43. West Town Lane, Brislington, Bristol.4.
J. Swift 3. Wellesley Street, Lawrence Rill, Bristol.
F. Sharland 4. Vera Street, Taunton, Somerset
R.H. Newman 77. Beaufort Road, St. George, Bristol.5.

Some Notes on 'Mendip Mining'

by P.A.E. Stewart.

Mining has been carried on in Mendip from time immemorial, it began in Pre-Roman times and was organised after Caesar's invasion. The principal stations on Mendip were situated at Charterhouse, Priddy and the port of Uphill, and their lead, being smelted on the spot, was sent on the Roman road over Mendip top to the Severn.

Between the Middle Ages, and the Roman period, there is no base for saying definitely to what extent the industry was carried on, but in Richard Lionheart's reign, he granted mining privileges to the Bishop of Bath.

Throughout the following years, we find mention of mines at "Hidun" or Haydon (near Nordrach-on-Mendip), Rowberrow, and Burrington(1489). About the early 16th century the working declined, but we begin to hear of the mines at Chewton Mendip, they later revived and reached their maximum development in the 17th century. At this time there were mines in operation all over Mendip. They were however, divided into various areas of jurisdiction or ''Liberties” These were:-

West Liberty, where the lead that was mined at Ubley, Blagdon, Burrington and Cheddar was taken to the lead works at Charterhouse.

Harptree Liberty, the lead from the Lamb Leer area, Lord's Lot, Haydon, Castle of Comfort, and Wurt Pit was worked at Frances Plantation near Smitham Hill.

Chewton Liberty the mines at Red Quar, Tor Hole, Emborough, and "Gocedyres" or Cuckoo Cleeves sent their ore to the Waldegrave Works near Waldegrave Pool.

Wells Liberty the lead from the mines in an area Wells-Rodney Stoke- Westbury Beacon-Priddy Nine Barrows- Fair Well, (in Priddy mineries)- Green Ore- Masbury, were sent to St. Cuthbert's Lead Works.(The old site of the Belfry).

These 'Liberties' belonged to various people, who were called “Lords Royal”; they were respectively the Lords of East Harptree, the Gurneys, The Lords of Chewton Manor, and the Bishop of Wells, Charterhouse, however is rather in doubt, it seems to have belonged in turn to:-Witham Friary, who had a monastery there, the May family, and finally to Lord Gore.

It may be opportune here to mention the visit of 'Lord' Chocke. “Lord” Chocke was actually Richard Chocke of Stanton Drew, he was appointed a J.P. and bought Ashton Court in 1454. In 1469 he judged a mining dispute at Axbridge and he died in 1486. 'Lord' Chocke was supposed to have drawn up the Mendip mining laws, but these ware actually in existence long before his time. These laws were finally codified. They were vary stern in ways, For instance, if a miner stole, he was put in his house with all his mining tools and burnt. This is the old custom of "Burning from the Hill''. They also gave the miner very considerable rights, but, however, quibbles always arose and were dealt with in the mineral courts.

The lead mines were at their peak in the 17th century, when Chewton, Bowsland,(Tor hole), Priddy, Harptree, and the West Minories were all producing. Later on in the years following, the price of lead fell considerably, and due to other causes, the mineries closed one by one and by 1813, Priddy Mineries had closed. However, odd mines were still producing on Mendip. On 6th May, 1830, an adit was dug on Dolbury Rill and nearby Mr. Webster,(a retired officer) spent his fortune in driving the level at Sandford.

The main future of the lead works was in the middle 19th century when the Cornishmen brought improved smelting methods to Mendip. These men put up their works in various places near the old load works and resmelted the slag heaps, Nichols Enner undertook to work the St. Cuthberts heaps, Mr. E.H. Barwell worked the Waldegrave holdings and the Rev. E.T. Treffry the Charterhouse works. These men used the new reverberatery furnaces, round buddles and the draugnt tubes or horizontal flues. The flues were used to load the smoke or “flight” from the furnaces for a long distance before coming from a chimney stack to the open air. The reason for this is that the smoke contains a high proportion of volatile lead, and it condenses on the walls of the flue; this was periodically scraped and re-smelted. At St. Cuthberts in 1864 the flue was 800 yards lung, the soot collected in the first 550 yards yielded 60 pc lead and the remaining 250 yards to the chimney was 50 to 55 pc lead.

The final death knell of the Priddy Minery was the decisicn of the court in the Enner vs Hodgkinson water pollution case; Waldegrave works finished in 1885, in 1884 the Charterhouse works finished, the Harptree Mineries died out in 1875. Spasmodic working without using the water was carried at St. Cuthberts until 1908 when the works wore dismantled and sold. During the first World War, the Charterhouse Mineries were again at work, with 6 men, but at the close of the war the work finished.

A way in which losses were defrayed was the extraction of silver from the lead, the old heman cupellation process which was considered unprofitable if silver contained was less than 8 oz. per ton being of little use.- The new Pattinson process was perfected and a small plant was erected at Charterhouse - the ruins are on the east side of the valley almost opposite the Roman Camp in Velvet Bottom.

So it was that the Mendip Mineries, starting in the mists of antiquity continuing through Roman times and receiving an added impetus from the discovery of gunpowder in the middle ages, finally died one by-one. All that serves to remind us of the ''Old Men" who worked on Mendip top and finally came to rest in God's Acre are the long 'rakes' and stretches of “gruffy” ground in the hills.

From the Hon. See's Postbag,

From Jerry Hull, M.E.L.F.

------------I am feeling in very good spirits today because yesterday I discovered a cave!! It isn't exactly what could be called a cave in , but it is the first one I have ever had on my own.

At the back of this camp------ starts a range of hills known as the Ataka Mountains. In this range there is a gorge, a kind of miniature Cheddar Gorge. It is about a mile long and is at times very grand. In parts it runs between vertical walls some 500 ft. high and is only 40 feet wide. In its upper sections it widens out into a shallow V, huge rocks piled on either side, with here and there a colonnade some 300-400 ft. high showing strata red, blue, green, snow-white and black in colour.-----About halfway up this gorge I found what I had been looking for, a cave.

The main cave follows a fault in the rock face and goes from one entrance to the other in the space of 320 ft. Here and there it comes to the surface for a brief interval. As you can see the main cave is of little interest, but there are a number of side passages which may repay further investigation.-------

From Terry Reed at Antefagasta, .

---------- At a distance of 4 hours ride to the south----- are three or four very large sea caves, which are readily accessable. To the north at the far end of the Bay is a natural arch in the sandstone - known as El Porta. In the desert, over the mountains by the feet of which Antofagasta squats, lie an immense number of old and extensive workings for gold, silver and copper.'---------

From Terry Reed at Colon:-

-------- I have a heck of a lot of dope on S. American Caves, Cave Temples, Temples and ---little fellows---- never quite tamed who retain the habit of shrinking Human heads to the size of an orange.--------Have gen on:- Cave of the Virginon - Mt. Curacoa, Cave of the Millodon, Straits of Magellan, Cave of Guayabal & Caves of Mt. Vent in Mexico.

I should appreciate any snapshots of Caving to show to my friends anso please remember ME if any spare prints are floating about.---------

(Note. The Hon. Sec will be pleased to forward any spare caving prints that any one may have. These will help to remind our most roving member that Mendip and its netherworld still exists, although he is divorced from it. Ed.).

Faith and Friction

A joint effort by J.V. Morris and G.M. Whitaker.

Being Yet Another Episode in the Adventures of the Menace.

In contrast to the usual caving effort, I thought it might be of interest to offer an article on how not to rock Climb.

The climbing was decided upon as practice for a forthcoming graunch on Gable, Pillar, Scafell etc.. The site chosen for this suicidal venture being Anstey's Cove, whose weathered limestone cliffs make a passable climbing practice ground.

First came the question of the rope; finding the clothes line not long enough, the dinghy's anchor rope was immediately seized, cleaned and dried, and apart from a few strands of seaweed and its inability to hold more than a hundred pounds, it proved quite passable. Since then, this article has been returned to its former use, a spivvish length of nylon replacing it.

Arriving at the Cove, we decided upon the "Central Gully" which lies directly opposite the Tea Hut. As gullies go it was quite massive, about 550 ft. high. The first hundred feet proved comparatively easy, composed of scree and short pitches. From there we completed three routes.

The first was a left hand wall, slab traverse ending in a chimney finish. During this climb a good photo was taken of George trying to inflate himself with a bottle of very fizzy beer, presumably in an effort to float to the top.

The second climb was a direct ascent of the gulley, with the same chimney finish.

Then came the bind of the whole proceedings. On the right hand wall we had noticed a vertical crack, leading to a vile sloping traverse above a large overhang. Upon this George was determined to commit suicide. The crack went quite well, the belay at the top, being to say the least of it, sketchy. From here George, proceeded to lead across the traverse, relying on the fact that he hadn't shaved that day. The more I locked at it, the less I liked it, and when after much suspense he disappeared round the corner and called "come on, I've gut a fine beley", I didn't believe a word of it, but relying on “Faith and Friction” I pressed on regardless,

To my great surprise I traversed safely across and found George lashed to quite a reasonable belay. From there the climb proceeded to the top, up what in normal times would have been a really difficult crack, but which after the horrors of the “Church Roof Traverse” we romped up in great style, with the exception of George dislodging a rock on to my head. The seagulls for miles around took a distinct exception to my vocabulary,

Latter we proceeded to the Cave Gully, the first pitch of which was a, perpendicular cave of jammed boulders. From here a scree shute led to the top of the gulley, or a hundred foot climb, up the right hand wall, was much more acceptable to the "Menace" spirit. I then proceeded to climb it, whilst George stood by paying out the rope, issuing advice and sarcastic comments. When most of the rope had gone, and I had failed to find either a belay or a stance, I found myself underneath a realty crafty overhang.

Neither George’s advice or encouragement were any use to me here, and I contemplated joining him rather more hurriedly than I had intended. However George saved the day by hurriedly scrambling up a vertical ivy covered slab, and finding the best belay of the day, at a point vertically above me. Feeling much more encouraged by the support from above, I continued to climb upwards. However, the overhang proved beyond my powers, and I did a graceful back-dive into space. Fortunately, (No cracks from the Editor please!!) the rope held, and he lowered me back down.

The rest of the day was spent in practicing roping down. This proved quite exciting, especially on one occasion when the rope acting on quick release tactics, persuaded the belay to accompany it to the bottom, where it nearly flattened George. This called for refreshments at the Tea Hut, where we received quite an ovation from all and sundry, who, unknown to us, had viewed our antics from afar.

I have heard

That our Hon. Sec and Assist. Hon. Sec. were doing some climbing on the Cornish cliffs recently when one of them tried to prove that his head, was the best part of his anatomy to fall on. A hand hold came away and THS inverted him self and dived headlong to terra Firma. Total injuries wore a sprained wrist, a gashed leg and a hunk out of his temple. Hard Luck, Mrs. S. Better luck next time.

That one of the 'Quads' mentioned in the last BB has now progressed sufficiently and possesses sufficient intelligence to operate a slide projector. This he did in great style at a recent lecture given by the Hon. Sec..

The Structure and Location of Cave-Bearing Rocks in South America

by Terry Reed.

The main geological feature- of the Americas is the great mountain range, which, known under various titles-.Rockies, Sierra Nevada, Sierra Madre and the Andes-- stretches from Alaska to the rocky and still volcanic island of Tierra del Fuego,

This range was formed partly of igneous, and partly of metamorphic rocks, but by earth movement and consequent uplifting and denudation, the sea farmed the necessary marshes and shoals to produce packets of sedimentary strata.

In the Andes many caves (mostly at high altitude) are to be found. In the Chilean sector elevated marine beaches and layers of shells are also to be noted. Their elevation and distance from the present seashore bear witness to the penetration of the sea at an era which I consider was lying late in period between Permian and Jurassic. (Equivalent to the European Jurassic period which was the era of deposition for our New Red Sandstone.).

As the various beds or strata were not laid down in the same era nor in the same order in the various continents, it must not be taken for granted that rocks in South America named after the 'standard' system will exhibit identical characteristics nor contain like fossils to their European namesakes.

The costal belt west of the Andes between 20 and 30 degrees South Latitude is barren of considerable caves. The only things of interest here are the burials of Incan times. Incan limit of southern conquest is marked by thieir camp sites near P San Antonio on the Rio Mario, in the vicinity of Valparaiso.

An exception is the mountainous country west of 's Atacama nitrate desert, where areas of various erodeable rocks bearing superficial water rifts and deep caves along valley floors are known to exist.

The volcanic East Coast may hardly be considered, for, whilst I am aware that considerable caverns do exist in , yet there are few of them, and those are at some distance inland.

The last reliable source of information on the above was Darwin, who in the middle of the last century found important remains of extinct mammals in them.

Central Bolivia, Mid and North Peru, and South-west Ecuador bear a fine group of caves, most of the largo specimens of which have been converted into rock-temples, but these and the smaller ones having rock-carvings and inscriptions galore.

Nearly all these caves contain one or more burials of periods dating from very ancient times up to the seventeenth century. With few exceptions the corpses have been mummified by a process of rapid dehydration by the hot, dry soil, which is mainly of rock-dust base.

Small animals intended for "Post-Mortem consumption" by the dead are usually even better preserved than the human remains.

Finds of weapons, bone ornaments, and stone or pottery artefacts are associated with the burials and silver, sometimes golden, amulets are common.

Tin, silver and gold, mines cover much of South-America, and some of these are so old as to be of great historic interest.

The Belfry

The Club has at last fulfilled its promise to members to provide an HQ worthy of the Club. A large hut has been purchased, at very considerable expense. This hut was situated at Rame Head in Cornwall and a gang of stalwarts recently defied the vile weather and spent a weekend there and dismantled it. The weekend was noted for several things; the rain, the wind, the meals cooked and eaten under conditions that would have made the most hardened tramp shudder, the hardness of the floors at night and the lack of water.

We ask all members that are able to make every effort to got to Mendip and lend a hand with the erection and decoration of their new HQ.

The Hut is 30ft long by 15ft wide and is being erected adjacent to the existing hut. The present 'Married Quarters' is to be used as a kitchen and added to one end of the new hut, whilst the old Main hut is to be used as & generator house, tackle store and changing room. This will, give us ample space for everything, we hope, and will thus do away with the need for keeping mountains of semi-useless gear under the bunks etc..

It has been suggested that those who are not able to get to Mendip regularly may like to help by giving a small donation to the hut fund. The Club would be very grateful for all such donations, as the cost of the hut, £100, is very considerable.

DONT FORGET to visit the Caving Exhibition at the Bristol Museum 25th  November to 11th December.

Bristol Exploration Club.(London Section).

A suggestion was made on August Bank Holiday, that the members in and around London should form a London Section for the purposes of Local Meetings and field meets. The following has been received from John Shorthose:-

The suggestion made during the August Bank Holiday weekend, that the London-based members of the club should arrange to get together from time to time, has now been put into effect, and a London Section formed.  The usual meeting place is 7, Marius Mansions, Rowfant Road, Balham, S.W.17., where two meetings have so far been held. The next is fixed for Sunday October 24th at 3.30 p.m. (This has already been held, the letter arriving too late for the Sept. BB. Ed.). Any members of the club visiting London will be very welcome, but are asked to drop the acting Hon. Sec. a line or telephone Balham 7545.

The Section has not confined itself to "armchair" caving, and has made three field trips, two to inspect some swallets in Herts., and one to look at a hearthstone mine near Reigate.

The swallets at Water End, near Hertford look most interesting and it is intended to seek permission to dig them late next spring, when there is less chance of sudden flooding refilling any hole that may be found.

The hearthstone mine proved to be still working, and was locked so the party adjourned to Godstone. The first cave inspected was found to have the entrance blocked by a subsidence, and is on the programme for digging. A second cave was however entered and photographs taken.

It is hoped to visit the Chislehurst caves on Saturday 23 October, if the necessary permission can be obtained.

Annual General Meeting 1948.

MEMBERS ARE INFORMED THAT THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING WILL BE HELD ON SATURDAY, 4TH. DECEMBER AT THE RED LION HOTEL, WELLS ROAD, KNOWLE BRISTOL. 4. The meeting will commence at 7.0p.m., and members are asked that all items for the agenda be sent to the Hon Sec. by the morning of Dec.4th.

All Lumbers are asked to make a special effort to attend.

Have YOU filled out and returned YOUR voting paper?

List of Members 1948, No.3,

A. Riddell            13 Randal Road, Clifton, Bristol 8.
A. McCoy           14. Clifton Down Road, Clifton; Bristol 8.
H.D. Schoner      21. Richmond Terrace, Clifton, Bristol 8,
J.W. Adams        27. Granby Hill, Clifton, Bristol 8.
R. Wade             101. Princess Victoria Street, Clifton, Bristol.
M. Farr               1. Sion Lane, Clifton, Bristol 8
R. Beer               9. Westfield Place, Clifton, Bristol 8.
J. Beer                9. Westfield Place, Clifton, Bristol 8
D. Williams         Arch House, Victoria Square, Clifton, Bristol 8
G.P. Donald        c/o Hills Hotel, 37.Princes Square, London, W2.

Notes on a recent Caving Trip to

by T.H. Stanbury.

I have several outstanding memories to remind me of a fortnight's stay in the midst of some of the finest scenery it has ever been my lot to see.

First I must thank the Wessex Cave Club for their invitation to join their party, and for the splendid time than they gave me during our tour.

Our trip to Valence via Folkestone and Paris was uneventful, athough tiring in the extreme, and we were all glad when the journey ended. We were met at Valence by M. Ageron of the Club Alpln Francais who was our host during our stay. We slept all the morning and in the afternoon walked to some hills and a ruined castle to the West of the Town.

On the second morning we were called at 5.0a.m.. We boarded a coach which took us via Romans and Pont en Royans, to Choronche. Chorenche is a small hamlet situated in a gorge which makes Cheddar seem insignificant. This was our HQ for the time, and after breakfast we started our touring in earnest.

Our first introduction to this area, the Vercours, was Les Grands Goulets. This is a tremendous gorge, hundreds of feet deep, with vertical walls, the road being cut out of the cliff face about 300 feet above the river that flows at the bottom. The gorge is very narrow and ends in a high cascade. Passing through a tunnel the road emerges into an alp, and for some miles we followed this valley climbing all the time. Here was a centre for the Maquis during the war, and we passed many villages that had been destroyed by the Germans as reprisals.

After a while we stopped at a farm and the coach and our escort of French Army, and the cars of the C.A.F. turned into a meadow.

Here we changed into caving kit and walked about half a mile to the base of some cliffs and La Grotte de la Luire. This cave has a very impressive entrance and we were told that there is a drop of 600 feet in it, but we were not able to investigate.

In this cave the French Military hospital from Grenoble was moved when the Germans captured their temporary site in the Valley. Here too, they were captured and shot, some of the nurses being among the victims. Memorials in the cave recount the story and are erected to the memory of those who lost their lives.

Leaving this site we continued by coach up the valley, and plunging through a long tunnel emerged at the head of a deep valley. Below us we could see the continuation of our road winding its way endlessly down the mountain side. Our coach stopped at the highest point and after visiting a friendly hostelry we retraced our steps following the contour of the hills, eventually stepping at La Col de la Machine. This is the start of a gorge, La Combe Laval.

The Combe starts as a vertical precipice 1300 feet high, at the base of which rises a river comparable in size to the River Avon. The cave system is probably similar to Wookey Hole as there are several entrances at different levels. No one has yet penetrated this system, but the C.A.F. are contemplating an attack on it in the near future by lowering themselves to the highest level from the top of the cliff.

Next day we visited La Grotte de Bruillion.  Here again a large river sees the light of day.  A huge arch 250 ft. high and the same wide, gives access to a cave system running about 10 miles into the mountain to La Luire visited yesterday.

The water level was high so we were able to venture no further than the main river inside the cave. Together with Low, Dolphin and Devenish I had fun and games amongst the foaming waters where the river pours down from the 'Cave' level to that of the exit.  The speed of the water was very high and we had great difficulty in keeping our feet in even three inches of water, let alone the five or six feet depth of the river between the many boulders in the centre of the flow.

In the afternoon we went to La Grotte Favour. This is 1000 ft. above the road, and the climb seemed like miles in the blazing sun. The main entrance is similar to that of Aveline's Hole in Burrington, but infinitely larger.  A tunnel 20-25 feet square and about 90 yards long dives down into the mountain at the Aveline angle.  Below this are vast chambers in one of which is a stalagmite boss 60 feet high and 15 feet in diameter.  Other passages led to other smaller chambers and cross passages reminiscent of Mendip, but mostly dusty and dead. In one of these were found cave bear bones. .

On the Wednesday we returned to Valence where a reception was held for us by the Mayor and his entourage.

Thursday saw us up early and we left by coach for the south. Passing through Montelimar, the home of French Nougat, we crossed the Rhone at Pont St. Esprit, and passed up through olive groves into the Cevennes.  These hills are more rounded than the Vercors and are bare and lifeless.  These hills are of limestone and abound in dry watercourses which are transformed during heavy rain into raging torrents.  Our route followed one of these watercourses and eventually we reached the village of Orgnac.  About 1½ miles beyond the village is L'Aven D'Orgnac, here we met M. de Joly, President of S.S.F. and were escorted around the show cave.  Descending at the end of the show cave into a section not open to the public we saw several huge columns of stalactite far larger than anything I have ever seen before.

Orgnac is very wonderful, with magnificent formations.  These mostly are stalagmites of immense size and are shaped like flowers, the successive layers of deposit overlapping the previous ones.

We returned to the surface for lunch and afterwards I was privileged to be one of a party of 10 taken by M. de Joly to "les plus dangerous" parts of the cave. Our route lay through the main chamber and then we branched off to the left of the tourist route over banks of stalagmite.  Arriving at a chimney a dural ladder was fixed and we climbed to the top, this giving access to a gallery running at high level along the wall of the main chamber almost at its top.  Here the formation was more reminiscent of Mendip as regards size, but there were masses of eratics which looked like masses of well browned chips thrown against the walls. From certain vantage points it was possible to overlook the tourist part of the cave, and the visitors being conducted around looked more like diminutive ants than human beings,

Following a platform around the chamber we found ourselves on a ledge that grew progressively narrower as we travelled along it, rapidly degenerating into a ledge where we used the stalagmites growing from the vertical wall as handhold.  The ledge ended abruptly, and when my turn came I approached the end and found that at right angles to our present direction and about four feet away was a hole similar to the end of the Drain-Pipe in Goatchurch.  This was our route and I saw those who were in front on a continuation of the ledge beyond the hole.

There was a vertical drop of about 300 feet between the end of the hole, the only intermediate support being a loose leaf of rock about half way between the end of the ledge and the hole.  A light alpine line had been run loosely between the ledge and the hole but was purely psychological as one slip would have meant curtains for the person concerned.

Surprisingly enough the gap was negotiated with ease and we continued our perambulation along the other ledge. This soon opened into a small chamber with very beautiful formations.  Entering a parallel chamber we were each presented with a 'Gour' from the floor as a memento of the occasion, and we returned to the main chamber via the gap and narrow ledge which seemed even worse on the return journey.

We returned to the surface at 6.30 after M. de Joly had left a metal strip inscribed with the date and details of the visit, to be sealed in place by the drip on to one of the Stalagmites.

The next morning we resumed our travels at 6.0.a.m., and passing through Ales, we eventually reached La Grotte des Demoseilles.  This cave is situated on a hill side and was the furthest point south reached by us.  The Grotto is magnificent, some of the huge formations showing signs of being shattered by an earthquake and having formation subsequently growing on the shattered pieces.

In this cave the walls are completely covered with formation and the whole place is one mass of columns and pillars.

The cave is reached from the hillside by a funicular railway and some time before our visit the cable had broken and the top car had torn down the slope colliding with very spectacular results with the one at the bottom.

After lunch we left for Bramabiau, the road taking us over the hill tops on the longest zig-zag yet, the coach taking 1½ hours to climb to the top.

At Briambiau the limestone is in association with granite and is very hard.  The swallet is huge and takes a big stream.  The entrance is square section and at a distance from the entrance there is a spot where the roof has collapsed and is open to the sky.  The stream, or rather, small river, here vanishes down a hole reminiscent of Swildons Hole, but we were not allowed to penetrate any further.

At the resurgence about half a mile away, there is a huge cleft in the hillside from which the river pours in a waterfall. Entering this cleft we followed the river upstream for about 100 yards.

The next morning we visited L’Aven Armand, which is situated on the Causse, which is a bare and stony expanse many miles in extent.

Armand appealed to me more than all the other caves except the special trip at Orgnac.  Here the formations are superb, and the whole cave is so arranged that the maximum amount is seen from each vantage point.  The cave is one huge chamber, about double the volume of Lamb Leer, and of similar shape, with the original entrance as a chimney in the roof.  The modern entrance is down a long tunnel hewn out of the rock.  At Armand also a strip of metal was laid to commemorate the visit.

From L'Aven Armand the coach took us back direct to Valence, the journey taking from 12:45 until 9:30, the coach travelling at high speed all the way.  The main party by caught the night train back to Paris and , whilst Low, Dolphin and I moved to an hotel for the night.

On the Sunday morning the three of us went to Grenoble by train, where we spent the night.  In Grenoble there were festivities commemorating the release of Grenoble from bondage 100 years ago. All around the city are mountains, some of which are snow capped.

On Monday we travelled by bus to Lac Laffrey where we bivouacked for the night.  On the Tuesday we walked over the hill top and eventually descended into the Romanche Valley via a very hair-raising mountain path. At Gavet we caught a bus to Le Bourg d'Oisans where we installed ourselves in a small hotel.

On Wednesday we walked to L'Alpe d'Huez and on to Lac Besson, returning in the evening to d'Oisans.

Thursday was the highlight of the week. We travelled on the luggage grid on top a bus to the Col de Lauteret and then climbed to the Col de Galibier from where we saw Mont Blanc.  Here too, i trod Alpine snows for the first time. The route from d'Oisans took us through immense valleys and along through La Grave, the centre for the La Meije Massif which was on our right with its hanging glaciers and snowfields.  There were many hydro- electric schemes in operation each with its attending reservoir.  Some of these artificial lakes were very large and were very beautiful.  Thursday was our last day in the mountains and we spent the morning in a walk to the mountain hamlet of Villard Notre Dame.  We had a picnic lunch there and returned to d'Oisans in time to catch the bus back to Grenoble. Here we caught the night train back to Paris and from there eventually arrived back in Bristol dead tired on the Sunday morning early,

This was my first visit to the southern half of and my enthusiasm has been fired for further visits as soon as I am able to arrange it. BUT, in my personal estimation, the caves of Mendip arc second to none; no where did I see such close packed beauty as on Mendip.


List of Members 1948. No.6.

D.G. Brown 12 Edgerton Road, Bath, Somerset
S. Treasure Stoke Lane Poultry Farm, Stoke St. Michael, Bath, Somerset.
J.W. Ifold Leigh House,Nempett Thrubwell, Chew Stoke, Somerset
A.J. Needs 63 Callington Road, Brislington, Bristol.
C. Bennett 23 Uplands Road, Fishponds, Bristol.
Miss M, Thomas 6. Hill Crest, Knowle, Bristol.
J. Long 24. Bannerman Road, Easton, Bristol.
R.A.Ifold 32.Coburg Road, Montpelier, Bristol
E.O. Howell 4 Compton Drive, Sea Mills Park, Bristol 9
M. Hannam 14. Vyvyan Terrace, Clifton, Bristol.8

Notes on the collecting of Cave Flora.

(Extracted from the American National Speleological Societies’ Bulletin No.6.p,48, and submitted by D.A.Coase.)

Cave Flora may contain representatives of the four major groups of plants viz:- Thallophytes,(Fungi & allies); Bryophytes,(Mosses & their allies); Pteridophytes,(Ferns & their allies); and Spermatophytes, (Flowering Plants). Each of these groups presents a special problem in collecting.


In this group are the Bacteria, Algae and Fungi. You will probably not see Bacteria and for the time being it would be best to disregard them. Algae should be collected in screw top phials of water, preferably the water in which they are found growing. Fungi will be the plants most commonly encountered in caves, especially in zones of total darkness. The fleshy fruiting bodies of many fungi such as mushrooms, etc., should be collected in bottles of weak 5 pc formaldehyde solution. Woody specimens which will not dry out too much may be collected in boxes or other similar containers. Filimentous fungi, i.e. the mould like forms should be scraped into sterile screw top phials.


The BRYOPHYTES contain the liverworts and mosses. They are most likely to be found near cave entrances and in the zone of partial darkness. LIVERWORTS are usually quite succulent and should be collected In 5 pc formaldehyde solution. MOSSES will revive sufficiently to be recognised even after having dried out, so they may be collected in match-boxes or similar containers. When possible collect a small clump of the moss Including the organic material upon which it is growing.


The PTERIDOPHYTES include the FERNS and their allies. These too will most likely be found near the entrance end in the areas of partial darkness. Probably the beat way to collect these plants is to spread the fronds out flat between the pages of a note book if the plants are small enough. Larger plants may be brought out of the cave and spread out between folded newspapers or the pages of an old book to dry. When the plants are abundant, collect the whole plant, root and all. When only a few are present, collect only a single frond. Be sure to collect a frond that has the brown fruiting bodies on the undersides or margins of the fronds whenever they are present.


The last group the SPERMATOPHYTES, contains the seed plants. Whenever possible the whole plant should be collected; when this is not possible, collect a part or branch of the plant with several leaves. These specimens will probably be very succulent and fragile, so for the time being it would seem best to preserve them in a 5 pc formaldehyde or a 30 pc alcohol solution.

All of these suggestions are merely suggestions and will probably be modified as we become more familiar with plant life in caves. Be sure to include a complete label with your specimens giving name of cave, location in cave, and name of collector. Also include any notes of interest about the specimen, such as its abundance; and since preserving solutions remove colour, be sure to note any colour which may be present in the specimen when collected.

C.E. Cox.

The following has been added by Brig. E.A .Glennie of C.R.G.:-

The only group of importance to collect is thallophytes well inside the cave.

Of the other classes you will get them only in the threshold and get only what any botanist might expect to find in any shady cranny. This is surface flora only and of no special spelaeological interest.

Enquiry by me at Kew some time ago produced the following informations- Fungi in caves in total darkness will go on vegetatively, i.e., developing mycelium, almost indefinitely without fruiting and in that form cannot be Identified.

The only way to collect them is to collect them into jars, or between damp paper and grow them under more favourable conditions until they fruit. This requires expert treatment. They did not considered specimens collected in formalin useful. The ideological Institute is interested in fungi found growing on insects. Bacteria of course is a job for an expert, but very much wants tackling.


Annual General Meeting

As usual the Annual General Meeting will be held early in December the actual date being announced later. The existing committee consisting of T.H. Stanbury, D.H. Hasell, D.A.Coase, J.C. Weekes, and I.M. Innes, and the.Co-opted member, R.A. Setterington will resign in accordance with our constitution. Members are asked to send in nominations for the 1943 committee by October 9th at the latest. It is pointed out that a committee man is eligible for re-election on the new committee providing that he is nominated in the normal way.

Bristol Quads

CONGRATULATIONS to the "Bristol Quads" (Messrs. Weekes, Innes, Wodbridg & Needs), to their Nurse,(Mrs. Iris Stanbury), and to their driver (our Hon. Sec), for their effort in both raising a laugh and £2 for the club funds by winning the first prize in their class in Bude Carnival. The Quads were dressed in long white nighties and bonnets and were sat in a trailer; they all had dummies, a feeding bottle and & Guinness bottle. The Nurse kept them in order with a mallet and their nappies and a very necessary utensil hung from a clothes line suspended above the car, which was decorated with flags. The police controlling the crowds were greeted with cries of "Da-da" from the babes and a good time was had by all. Photographs may be inspected at HQ.*

Warning Flooding of Stoke Lane Swallet

On Saturday 21st August, Coase. Setterington, Wallis and a visitor went down Stoke Lane Swallet at 2.0 p.m. There had been a fine drizzle since about 10 a.m. and the weather the proceeding week had been fairly wet. The stream itself w was not noticeably increased although Coase, who knows the cave fairly wall, declared that the water was higher than usual. At the sump Wallis turned back and explored various side passages, eventually reaching the surface at 5.0 p.m., where it was still raining, although there was again no noticeable Increase in the volume of the stream.

The others had been photographing in the Throne Room and Bone Chamber and returning to the Main Chamber at about 6.0. p.m., the stream was found to be increased considerably and to be extremely muddy.

At the Sump the level had risen by at least 3 inches, and a large stream was flowing down Browne's Passage, which from the Cairn Chamber to the Nut-meg Grater was flooded about 1 foot deep. Most of the water was entering from a small rift just below the Nut-meg Grater, but a small stream was flowing down the passage from just before the Pool Chamber, which was naturally full.

As Coase was getting through the Corkscrew, at the beginning of Browne's Passage, a small trickle started to flow along the floor down the main passage. From the main sink in the old cave, the stream was overflowing down the passage and sinking again into two fissures.

At the entrance, the water was overflowing from the Main sink and pouring into the 'Caver's' entrance. It was still raining fairly hard and continued to do so for several hours.

It wouldn't have required a very great increase to have made Browne's Passage impassable. So take heed of this warning.

Make sure that the weather is reasonably settled before going down Stoke Lane. If it is raining when you go down, watch the water level and be prepared for a hasty retreat.

The main danger is not from a sudden thunderstorm, but when the ground is thoroughly sodden, and a continuous downpour sets in. During the winter especially, it may remain like this for several days or even weeks.

Whilst discussing Stoke Lane, a further warning: The stream is heavily contaminated with a large percentage of organic matter and any cuts or abrasions, however small are liable to suppurate, (in BEC Language “to fester”), and should be treated as soon as possible with Dettol or similar germicide. (Dettol is generally to be found at the Belfry).


Editor's Notes on the above article.

Those who know Stoke Lane need no further elaboration on the above which is the first report received about the cave under flood, or rather the start of flood, conditions. To those who have not yet indulged, but are thinking of doing so, KEEP AWAY if the weather is doubtful, and let us know anyway whenever you go. There are signs in the cave that the majority of the "old" cave is subject to complete flooding under bad conditions, as tins, branches etc. jammed in the roof out of reach testify.

From our Roving Reporter in London,

It is learned that Frank Seward has recently become engaged to Miss Doris Sheridan, not a caver herself, but it is hoped that this will not prevent them from still visiting the Belfry from time to time.

From the Hon. Sec's Postbaf

From our good friend and member Pongo Wallis. "As you may be aware a BEC party have recently spent a week 'potting' in Yorkshire. We took a copy of 'Pennine Underground' with us and we feel that in light of our experience some further comments to my original criticism in BB are called for.

-------- in a week we could not possibly exhaustively test the book, but in our opinion the directions given for finding the pots are hopelessly inadequate. In most cases the maps were of far more use than the text, but there are unfortunately numerous errors in them as well------. We gathered from local 'potters' that the statements of tackle required were also frequently in error, but ------- all the ladders we climbed personally, were correctly stated.-------a good deal of searching around the position marked may be necessary to find a cave. .-------

From Tony Johnson recently on vacation at Carreghofa Hall, Llanymynech.

-------- The caves on the hills have turned out to be very disappointing. Three that I got into are blocked by falls which I hadn't time to clear. I penetrated about 1000 feet into an old lead/copper mine level but came to a blank end. The last small hole I haven’t entered as a family of badgers are firmly entrenched in the entrance chamber.

From John Hull at Suez,

-------- I blush to admit that I haven't done any caving since I left . I did try to investigate some holes in Camel Hill, Haifa, but the Arabs or Jews were using them for their own purposes, and after two or three shots had whizzed over my head, I decided that caving had its limits and beat a hasty retreat. Here on the Gulf of Suez the thermometer is hovering around 105 degrees-----------but I’m pressing on regardless and dreaming of Stoke Lane. ------

Joan Morris fully living up to his title of the Menace, has pioneered a new route up a face in Snowdonia. His letter didn’t make it clear which face it was. Lets have the details John, Congratulations to you and your companion.

Our Hon. Sec. has just returned from a fortnight's stay in . A week of which was spent, at the invitation of the Wessex Cave Club, in visiting the caves in the area of Valence he tells me that he had a smashing time, and that he will write a brief resume of his travels. The second week was spent in the area of Grenoble, and excursions were made in and on top of busses besides using Shank's Pony.

Incidentally, blame the Sec. for the BB being late this month, he arrived back in too late to print it at the usual time.

Several inquiries have been made recently about page 6, and the disappearance of the cartoons from it. What about it, Halfpint? Has the well of inspiration dried up? The BB needs articles, too.

They are its lifeblood. Come on chaps, pick up your pens and write. Who knows, under that brute-like exterior may lurk a literary heart!!!

Clifton Caving Club

Recently a number of youngsters formed a new society, the Clifton Caving Club. They were inexperienced in many ways, but had the makings of good cavers. We were approached by their representative and they have now sunk their identity in our own. We are very pleased to welcome them to the B.E.C. "Family Circle" and hope that they will spend many happy hours with us underground.

News for the Somerset Section of The Cave Diving Group

(Note. All members of the Somerset Section of the C.D.G. are B.E.C. men, so I am sure that those not in the C.D.G. will excuse these few lines being devoted to diving.).

General instruction and practice will start, we hope at Bristol South Baths, by the middle of this Month again we hope. Each member will be notified personally when the final details are fixed up. Intending applicants for membership please note, that there is a long waiting list of partly trained bods. Until those have been trained there is no hope of an applicant, even if he is accepted for membership, doing any diving. Things generally in the Somerset Section have been dormant during the Summer for a multitude of reasons. We hope that we shall get back into trim quickly again, however and to start some at least of the diving jobs that want doing in this part of the world.

T.H. Stanbury Hon. Sec.

The books listed as lost in the last BB together with the Tent Etc., HAVE NOT.YET BEEN RETURNED. Come on you bods. Cough ‘em up. Surely the whole organisation hasn't got to suffer because of the thoughtlessness of one or two???????????