Belfry Bulletin

Search Our Site


List of Members. No.5.

J.M. Tompsett               6.Peter Street, Taunton, Somt
E.H. Cole                     "Sunny-side" Clarendon Roadt, Kenilworth, Warwickshire
W.W. Hucker                14 Dean Lane, Southville, Bristol.
J.K. Bindon                   19 Morse Road, Redfield, Bristol
P. Daymond                 15 Cheddon Road, Taunton, Somt
F. Seward                     32 Uxbridge Road, Slough, Bucks
S.J. Collins                   33 Valentine Ave, Bexley,
P. Woodroffe                 296 Cooden Drive, Beechill-on-sea, Sussex
Miss K. Hartnell            14 Endsleigh Street, London, WC1
J.L. Hull                        137 Filton Ave, Horfield, Bristol 7

The Belfry Bulletin.

The change in style of the BEB for July has been acclaimed as a great improvement, so it has been decided to continue with it as long as the paper situation permits.

Belfry Charges

It has been decided by the committee, that in view of the popularity of the Belfry, a 'rebate' system be instituted whereby those Members using the hut most frequently will pay a reduced charge. Although' this announcement is rather late for this year, there are plenty of members who will even now reap a benefit from it.  The rates decided on were:- The first 20 nights 1/- per night; the next 20 nights 9d per night; the next 20 nights 6d per night; all subsequent nights free. A season ticket for 40/ can also be obtained! The Season Ticket being available from 1st Jan. to 31st Dec., these dates also being applicable for the reduced rates, viz; On the 1st January any member who is paying reduced rate will again 1/- a night for 20 nights and so on.


A translation by Pipistrelle and Vesperugo

And it came to pass, in the eighth year of the reign of George, at the Feast of Easter, that Beecham, a wealthy man and owner of the land whereon the tribe of the Bat had chosen to dwell, gave audience to one of the Head Men of that tribe.  And said unto him: "Behold, I like thee not, nigh unto my house, neither thee, nor thy tribe.  Here on every seventh night can no man sleep, and my servants are weary from their labour in the fields." And he further said: "Get thee gone, thou, thy tribe, and thy dwelling, unto the furthest part of my land."

And he of the Bat said:" It shall be even so."

But he went away sore troubled, for the dwelling was large, and seemed more than the tribe could move.

Then came unto a maiden of the people, a huntress of great renown, one Pamela, so fair that all marvelled at her beauty. And she said unto them:" Lo, my father's brother hath many men and horses the sound of whose hoofs is as the thunder of the sea. For the love that I bear ye' all, I will persuade him to lend ye a cohort of these horses; with these and a great wagon shall ye move your dwelling."

And they said;'' Yea, it shall be oven so.^

So, on the twelfth day of the month of midsummer, a great number of the tribe gathered at that place. And there came unto them the maiden, as she had promised, driving a cohort of horses.

Then did the tribe heave mightily to lift the dwelling, in three pieces, on to the wagon.  But it moved not. Then said they: "Let us appoint a leader, one that shall say unto this one, “go”, and he goeth, and unto this one, “Come”, and he cometh.  And they chose one Sett from among them, a man not of Royal Blood, but skilled in the making of devices withal, and of piercing voice. And he called unto him all they of the tribe that were likewise skilled in the arts of making engines of war, and, they that were miners in the earth, and said unto them:* How shall this thing be done?"

And one said:" This and even this should we do," and mother said: "Nay, I would do this, and this." Raving heard their counsel, Sett then said unto them:" So shall we do."

And behold, men came running with great bars wrought of iron, so great that one man could scarcely lift with both hands, and these they placed under the divers parts of the duelling.

Then said Sett unto them: “Lift,” and they lifted as one man, and placed a piece of the dwelling upon the great wagon.

Swiftly then were the horses that the maiden had brought harnessed to the wagon, and the tribe said unto her “Take it away.” And she called unto the horses, in the tongue of the people of that place:" Yur! Giddap!" which are the words those people use to drive horses. And they strained mightily, and did bring the dwelling unto its new place.

There were those present, they that had the power of making likenesses on pieces of papyrus, without a pen. And these exercised, their power, and made many likenesses. Which likenesses pleased them greatly, and they did shew them unto all men.

This then was done with all the pieces of the dwelling. And they were upon the ground in their new place, but were not joined in one. And the tribe were weary and said:" Let us break the dwelling into smaller pieces that we may carry them with less labour.

Then came one Weekes, a man that flew even as a bird, and, calling aloud on strange Gods, said: “Nay, let us shift them now.”

And the tribe, likewise calling on other strange Gods, did labour mightily, and did place the dwelling on its proper pillars, and by the eighteenth hour it was done.

Then went they to an Inn, and drank of the wine of that place which they needed sorely, for they were athirst. After that went they their several ways, in carriages drawn by many horses*, to their dwellings, many thousand paces distant.

And in the morning Beecham looked from his window, and said unto his wife and his servants: “It is well.”

*           'Tis said, though I believe it not, that in sundry parts of the world beyond the Pillars of Hercules, men have made carriages to move at great speeds, without horses, oxen or elephants. If so, it is grossly impious.

Club Library

Following up the note printed in the last BB, the Hon. Sec,, and Librarian have been checking up further on the library. As a result of this examination the following books are found to be missing:-

British Caver, Vol. 14. Copy. C.
British Caver, Vol. 15. Copy. A.
Cave Science. No.1.
U.B.S.S. Proceedings 1943. Copy C
U.B.S.S. Proceedings Vol.5. No.3., 1944-46.

The library has always been made available for reference on Thursday evenings, and these books must have been taken home for reference without notifying the Librarian: will all members with books at home please check that they have none of these listed above amongst them: if so please send them, to the Librarian as soon as possible.

From the Hon. Sec's Postbag.

As you all know the Hon. Sec. has a considerable amount of mail from members and others. Some of these letters are from 'Furrln' Parts and are of general interest, others contain items that are worth passing on to members but would not in themselves be worthy of a special article. The Editor will browse through these letters from time to time and anything worth while will be printed under the above heading.

From Tony Crawford, now serving with the Royal Navy. He has been stationed near Porthleven.:-

----—There is a pool called Loe Pool and on the east side of it there is a boarded up opening that leads to an extensive and dangerous lead mine. These caves are noted for their stinking rotten sea-weed, dead fish, crabs and lobster-pots which rather sullies the pure Cornish air.—---------Our Naval Engineers pumped oil fuel through our fire water pipes system, so the fire fighting practice team pumped oil on to a fire, much to their surprise.--------

From Terry Reed, then in Rio:-

Report on Rio is disappointing. "All this coast line is igneous and eruptive. Every minor hill meriting the description of mountain.------- I found nothing even giving me a hope of a 'dirty great hole' and my attention was somewhat diverted when two girls sitting behind me started to squirt scent into my ear, and later into the 3rd. mate's beard--------

From John (Menace) Morris.:-

There is another cave in Plymouth itself; it starts in the limestones down by the Hoe and is supposed to run far a considerable distance. There are supposed to be some very good formations.—--------


We are pleased to announce that S.J. (Alfie) Collins was married on Sat. 19th June to Miss Jean Hill at Dartford.  Pat Woodroofe was the best man.


Back Numbers of this Bulletin are obtainable, when in print, from the Hon. Sec. 3d. each; post free, 4d each.

Programme, for September. October and November, 1948


Saturday 4th              Digging. Vicinity of Belfry
Sunday 35th       Ditto.
Sunday 19th       Swildons 1 & 2


Saturday 9th       Bath Freestone Workings
Sunday 24th       Muddy Mendip Mine Shafts.


Saturday 6th       Lamb Leer.
Sunday 21st       Eastwater, Both Routes.

Will all members intending to go on any of these trips please notify Hon. Sec so that arrangements may be made.


The following poem has been sent down by Don Coase. It was written in the 1935 diving days by, I believe, Mossy Powell to whom we give due acknowledgement; Club members who have been on CDG Ops. at Wookey, will I am sure enjoy it. Ed.

On Saturday nights the Diving Gang,
A wild and lawless crew,
With pumps, and ropes, and scarlet hats,
And shirts of navy blue,
Come roaring down from Mendip's heights
In Wookey Hole to pitch-
So call the Wing-Co. quickly Boys,
To chaperone the Witch!

Begob! They are the toughest crowd
That ever filled the Cave,
The Celtics and Romano- Brits
Lie shaking in their grave.
They'd use a pound of gelignite,
To open any niche
So call the Wing-Co, quickly Boys,
To chaperone the Witch!

The Diver takes some holding down,
It's done with leaden weights,
His frightful boots are made of brass,
As Safety First dictates.
His range is quite four hundred feet,
Before there comes a hitch-
So call the Wing-Co, quickly Boys,
To chaperone the Witch!

Before they go, on Sunday Morn,
They take a last look round,
And anything they may have missed
Will now be surely found;
The mermaids of the river Axe
Lie swooning in the ditch,-
So call the Wing-Co, quickly Boys,
To chaperone the Witch!

Will all those stalwarts who are interested in digging please Contact Jim Weekes or Dick Woodbridge, when they will find that there is plenty of work at hand for them to do.

The Belfry

The new hut is still being chased but there has, at the time of to press, been no purchase made as yet. The old Hut had been reared phoenix like from its own ashes and is being used until the great day.


Those members who attend our Thursday evening meetings will remember out American friend Albert Eccles, "Ek" to the gang. He has now returned to and has sent over a cartoon cut from a newspaper in his home town.  This cartoon shows two mountain goats.  One of those has fallen off its mountain top, and is lying rather the worst for wear on .a pile of boulders at its foot. The caption reads:-“A family tradition of sure-footedness for ten thousand years, and you have to bust it!” He has added: “Dedicated to all the B.E.C. Cavers. It may not be Stoke Lane, but—-----!!!”

Ek had his first experience of Caving in Stoke Lane.

More news from is from Joan Fountain in Texas. She sends her love to all the gang and Happy Caving!!


One Belfry Tent, Property of B.E.C.,
One Ground Sheet, Property of Pongo Wallis,
One Sleeping Bag, Property of R.A. Setterington,
& One Folding Primus, Property of B.E.C.

The above have been borrowed from the Belfry. Would the person who did the dirty deed please return them as soon as possible. If gear is wanted please ask any committee man, who will willingly explain who owns the various kit and if it is borrowable.


In these days of inflation & what have you, the costs of developing and printing has also risen. Members will be pleased to hear that if they contact Bob Bagshaw they can obtain films and get developing, printing and enlarging done at about 2/3 of normal shop prices.


T.H. Stanbury,   Hon. Sec, 74. Redcatch Read, Bristol.4.
J.C. Weekes,    Recorder & Assist. Sec, 376 Wells Road, Bristol.4.
D.H. Hasell        Hon. Editor, Belfry Bulletin, 1.Stoke Hill Cottage, Chew Stoke, Somt.
A.M. Innes        Hon. Librarian, 246, Filton Ave., Bristol.7.
G.Platten,         Hon. Editor, British Caver, Rotherfield Fernhill Lane, New Milton Hants..


List of Members No.4.

T. Reed 53 Dongola road, Bristol.7.
R.G. Bellamy 5 Heron Road, Easton, Bristol.
P. Brown 5 Trinity Parade, Frome, Somerset.
A.J. Crawford 10 Elm Close, Hendon London N.W.4.
A.M. Innes 248 Filton Avenue, Horfield, Bristol 7
Mrs. M. Tompsett 6 Peter Street, Taunton, Somerset.
R. Cantle 46 Cherington Road, Henleaze, Bristol 7
J.A. Dwyer 255 Wellington Hill West, Henleaze, Bristol 7
R.A. Setterington 21 Priorswood Road, Taunton, Somerset
R,M. WaIlis “Briarcroft”, Marlborough Crescent, Latchford. Without Warrington, Lances. '

A different method is being used in this issue to cut the stencils for the duplicator. If the method is successful and a better print is the result it will be adopted for all future issues; if the results are worse than usual please bear with the Hon. Sec. who is at his wits end to im prove the quality of each issue. You will see, too, that the format is altered. This is partly dictated by the supply of paper and partly by urge to improve. Let the Hon Sec. know which type of BB you prefer.

Safety Underground

By “oldtimer”

This article is intended for younger members of the club and their friends. It is hoped that it will assist them in enjoying in safety the deepest and dirtiest of our caves.

Cavers, although they are reputed otherwise, are, in general mindful of their safety underground. Some of the younger of the fraternity, and occasionally one or two old enough to know better sometimes let their valour, (or shall we say, sense of bravado) outweigh their discretion, and do things that, make the seasoned caver, throw up his hands in despair.

Even before going underground there are certain things that should be done, and when you are there, there are of course more.

Before leaving home tell someone where you are going so that in the unlikely event of your non-return, we shall at least have some idea of where you may be. Mendip is a large place, and if no indication of your whereabouts is given, a search party may spend precious hours in fruitless endeavour before you are found,. The same applies in other caving areas ALWAYS tell someone where you are going, and remember, you experts, you too, are liable to accident!

In the event of an accident, do your best to make the unfortunate one comfortable and then follow the procedure laid down by the Mendip Rescue Organisation (or equivalent body in , other areas), If through faulty equipment or other cause, none of your party can reach the surface, conserve your lights and food make yourselves comfortable, DON’T PANIC and wait. This wait will seem endless, but, remember, if you have left word of your whereabouts, you will be rescued in a reasonable time, (Rescue parties have to be called out, and this takes time). If no one knows where you are, you've only yourself to blame.

The next point is in every way intimately connected with the above. Never go underground by yourself. Solitary caving is both foolhardy and senseless. Although the lone wanderer may experience a thrill of achievement out of such a trip he is rightly looked upon by others as a constant source of worry and trouble. Underground, a slip that in a party would be of little consequence, may easily prove fatal to the solitary man, a sprained ankle anchoring him there indefinitely. He has no-one to help him or go for aid, and I should imagine that one accident under such circumstances would cure him of all desire to repeat it.

Also linked with the first item is clothing. It is essential that all cavers should be adequately clad. To some this seems ridiculous, as they remember visions of swarms of cavers clad in filthy and fast decomposing rags. These rags, however are warm, and warmth underground is essential. Of course, common sense has to be used in dressing, as anyone dressing for Swildons would be prepared for a wait in the chilly depths of the 40' pot, and would consequently wear far warmer clothing than for a trip down Goatchurch. Don’t be like the party encountered in Swildons Old Grotto some time ago. This party of 8 were clad in shorts and singlets and were already bruised and shivering.

A great point of failing with novices is their unwillingness to turn back when tired. It is far better to 'Call it a day' and return to the surface in good order, than to go to the bottom and have to be hauled out by main force. Novices are thought more of if they do not over-reach themselves in their first sallies underground, and are honest enough to admit that they've had enough. Don’t forget, you have a return journey that will be worse than the downward one.

The greatest source of trouble amongst beginners is the entire lack of common sense concerning lighting. The writer once met a party of 10 in Swildons, who only had one miniature torch between them. They were not impressed by the cave and considered caving a dead loss. Always take plenty of light underground, and always have alternative means of lighting, and this doesn't mean two boxes of matches. Two main types of lighting are in general use, Acetylene and electric, the ideal being a combination of these. Lighting is a subject of argument amongst cavers and this statement will probably bring down howls of derision on the writer's head from those of other schools of thought. Nevertheless, I have used this combination for many years and found it unbeatable. The acetylene lamps give both a 'spread' and a 'spot' beam, the position of the flame along the axis of the reflector ensuring maximum lighting effect. A gas lamp is unfortunately easily extinguished, and I have filled an auxiliary electric spot lamp with switch and battery to my helmet. By the way, always carry a spare jet and a pricker, so that you may readily clean or replace the jet if it chokes. An acetylene lamp is much cheaper to run than a battery lamp, and it will run for 4 hours on one charge of carbide. A candle too, carried inside the socks, together with waterproof matches is very handy in an emergency. Matches can be rough and readily waterproofed by dipping the heads of 'Swan' or similar into candle grease.

A word about electric light and batteries. A No.800 cycle battery is ideal both for size and endurance, but some plutocratic cavers prefer the more elaborate proprietary kit of NiFe accumulator, flexible lead and head-lamp. The writer has found that NiFe cells are bulky and a great nuisance in constricted passages, but, here again, there is a great divergence of opinion. I have spent quite a time on lighting, as without lights there would be no caving.

The next item is tackle. This of course varies with the cave, some needing none and others a large amount. Although a nuisance on both the downward and return journeys, a sufficiency of tackle is essential to the safe descent (and return) of any cave. By this I don’t mean that the party should be bowed down and encumbered with a mass of useless gear, but that every item should be carefully selected for the job it has to do. Examine all gear before going underground, as although all club equipment is tested at regular intervals, a rope may have frayed since the last test. Any tackle that has frayed or otherwise become dangerous *should be scrapped at once. This is done most easily by cutting the offending ladder or rope in several places thus rendering it useless. If it is ever necessary to do this, don’t forget to notify either the Hon. Sec. or the Equipment Officer, so that the article may be replaced with the minimum of delay. Do not leave equipment underground for long periods. This is a common failing of certain types of individuals who are either too lazy or careless of other peoples welfare to remove it, and is one of the cardinal sins of caving. After using tackle return it to its proper place and hang it up to dry; don’t throw it on the floor for someone else to clear up. It isn’t good for the ropes or the temper of the chappie who has the clearing up to do.

If you haven’t enough gear don’t attempt a descent. ALWAYS use a life-line, only fools go without. The cave will wait until tomorrow or next week, why risk an accident? If an accident should happen below a pitch normally laddered that has only a rope what then?

“Odd” caving is to be discouraged. By this I mean parties of Cavers unattached to any club or society. The clubs are in existence solely to help cavers and it is to their advantage to join them. They then reap the benefits of the experiences of others and are able to use the adequate facilities offered by these organisations.

Each Club trip is under the control of an experienced member, and his instructions should always be followed. Remember, he knows more than you, and it is his responsibility to bring you back in safety to the surface. If you disagree with his decisions, and you want to argue about it, leave it until you return to surface, and you will find that, usually, before surfacing, the reason for his action has become obvious.

Don’t think that the writer advocates that all trips should be "official" ones. By no means so; but for other trips chose a cave within your capabilities, and as your experience increases, so also should your field of endeavour increase.

Don’t hesitate to ask the "Old Sweats" advice, it will always be gladly given.

If those to whom these notes are addressed study AND absorb them caving will, become easier and safer for them and those in control of the sport would have less reason to worry about them.


We are delighted to welcome back into circulation again, D. Bessell, R.A. Crocker, and R.J. Bagshaw all recently demobbed.


The Club has purchased a tent which is available, subject to committee approval to members for a small cover charge.

Club Library

Both the Librarian and the Hon Sec. are seriously disturbed by the lack of care taken of the club books. These books which cost the club a considerable amount every year are being treated disgustingly and at a recent committee meeting it was decided that anyone returning books in a worse condition than they were issued would become liable for the damage, up to the full replacement value of the book, depending of course upon the amount of damage. A growing practice, too is the passing of books from member to member indiscriminately with the result that the Librarian has no idea who has the book and the consequent repudiation of responsibility by the person to whom the book was issued. In future would all members so passing books on please notify the Librarians that the necessary adjustments may be made in the records. In future the responsibility for any fine incurred will rest with the last person to whom the volume is booked out.

Club Records.

Jim Weekes has been appointed Club Recorder. Will members please send reports of trips etc. to him so that they may entered into the club records. You may reach him c/o Hon, Sec..

Owing to the distance that D.A.Coase has to travel to attend committee meetings and the curtailment of the travelling facilities of last summer it was decided at a recent committee meeting to co-opt R.A. Setterington on to the committee. His large experience and knowledge of the sport will strengthen considerably the working of the committee.

Members probably saw recently in the paper that a watch was found in Longwood. We are glad to say that this watch is the property of our member Terry Reed who lost it at Easter this year. As he is in it has beam claimed on his behalf by his father. Thanks to all those whose information helped to identify the owner.

The Belfry,

Since the last issue of the BB a great amount of work has been done at the Belfry. At the time of writing this there is still plenty for all to do so still roll up in your thousands. The response to the last call for volunteers was very good, but those who turned out were those who always can be depended to turn out when there is work to be done. Come on you slackers, what about it? The new site is very near the old one. The Belfry is now situated up the next track towards Priddy from the Hunters Lodge. So that instead of turning into Mr. Beecham's gate the next turning is taken. The hut is on a site facing the exit from the quarry. The hut is temporarily 'reconstituted' in its old shape pending the purchase of a larger and more suitable H.Q.. No stone is being left unturned to obtain one and it is hoped that within a short time a really 'spiv' hut will be reared on the new site.

They have a castle on a hill

Whilst browsing through an old book our Hon. Sec. has found the following, which except for the replacement of the word Lydford by Belfry in stanza 3 is as written. For the information of those who have not taken part in the removal operations, the hut has been moved by dividing it into three sections and moving each bodily on a farm wagon.

1. They have a castle on a hill;
I took it for an old windmill,
The vanes blown off by the weather:
To lye therein one night, 'tis guessed,
'Twer better to be stoned and pressed,
Or hanged, now choose you wether.

2. Ten men less room within this cave,
Than five mice in a lanthorn have,
The keepers they are sly ones.
If any could devise by art
To get it up into a cart,
'Twer fit to carry lyons.

3. When I beheld it, Lord! Thought I,
From this place all sane men would fly
This Belfry, when I saw it all.
I know none gladly there would stay;
But rather hang out of the way,
Than tarry for a tryal.

4. The prince an hundred pounds has sent,
To mend the leads, and planchens rent,
Within this living tomb:
Some forty-five pounds more had paid,
The debts of all that shall be laid
There till the day of doom,

5. The people all within this clime
Are frozen in the winter time,
For sure I do not fain:
And when the summer is begun,
They lye like silkworms in the sun,
And come to life again.

6. One glass of drink I got by chance,
'Twas claret when it was in :
But now from it much wider:
I think a man might make as good
With green crabs boyl'd, and wood,
And half a pint of syder.

7. At six a clock I came away,
And prayed for those that were to stay
Within a place so arrant:
Wide and ope, the winds so-roar,
By God's grace I'll come there no more,
Unless by some Tyn Warrant.

William Brown 1590.


Editor's Notes

Apologies are due for the long gap between this and the last BB. I must crave your indulgence as I have been (and still am) studying hard and have very little time. However, now the Hon. Sec. is back in circulation I hope the issues will be more regular.

The Hon. Sec has asked me to print the following:- I should like to thank everyone for their kind inquiries during my illness. Thanks are also due to Jimmy Weekes who took over my job at a minutes notice and kept the flag flying during my stay in Cornwall. To all those who have been waiting for letters etc. I apologise for the delay and will do my best to work off the arrears of correspondence in a few days. If you do not hear in a reasonable time drop me a reminder, as it is possible that some letters may be mislaid.

T.H. Stanbury Hon Sec

Elementary Geology for Beginners.

by another Beginner. R.A Setterington.

The Earth is roughly1,000,000,000 to 2,000,000,000 years old. We can obtain an idea of this age from the comparison of putting a postage stamp on a penny on the top of Nelson Column, then the stamp represents the age of man, and the penny the time that animal life. Has been in existence on the earth, ans the height of the Column itself the age of the Earth.

Pre-Cambrian Azoic
Devonian and Old Red Sandstone Primary
Millstone Grit
Coal Measures
The rocks which form the surface of the earth are divided into two main types; igneous (plutonic) and sedimentary. The igneous rocks are the rocks which were formed by the original solidification of the earth’s surface, while the sedimentary rocks are formed from those by erosion and subsequent deposition under the sea or other body of water. These two main divisions are further separated as is shown in the attached table. The secondary and tertiary rocks are further sub-divided into 18 different types of rock, three of which are not represented in , but since this division only confuses the investigator it is not made here.

The sedimentary rocks were laid down, in strata, on top of: the igneous rocks in order, (from top to bottom in the diagram) so that we might expect that if we dug down into the earth’s surface we would pass through each layer in turn, the newest first. However owing to distortion, faulting and erosion of the earths surface this does not happen. If we look at a geological map of we find that in the extreme west the rocks have been so eroded that
only the igneous and early sedimentary rocks remain while in the east very little erosion has taken place. Roughly speaking the older rocks occur, in , north of the line Greenock-Dundee; in , all except the north-east corner and a larger area in the south; and in Devon and Cornwall in . The newer rocks occur in -south and east of line, from Stockton south to Nottingham and southwest to the Severn, leaving out two small areas in central end southeast Devon and the Mendips. Thus we see that it is useless to expect to find limestone caves in areas other than:-


  1. Central and South-east Devon.
  2. The Mendips
  3. South and North-east Wales.
  4. Derbyshire
  5. Lancashire
  6. West Yorkshire, and an area north to the Cheviot Hills.
  7. An area around Edinburgh and Glasgow.

However limestone is not the only thing necessary for the formation of caves; water is also needed to dissolve it away and leave cavities. The water which forms caves comes, originally from rain and rain is heaviest in hilly or mountainous districts.

The caves in Yorkshire and Derbyshire differ from those in the Mendips in configuration, due to the difference in the angle of the strata. In Yorkshire the strata is horizontal, or nearly so, this causes the caves to occur as long vertical pitches and nearly horizontal passages. In Mendip the strata dips towards the edges of the hills, this is because the Mendips are an uplifted ridge of strata.  The Mendips were originally a lot higher than they are now, but they have been eroded so much on top that the tops of the higher parts (like Blackdown and Ninebarrorws) are old red sandstone. Now sandstone is permeable to water but is not dissolved by it, the shales (which lie over it in geological time, around it in physical position) are impermeable, so when rain falls on the sandstone it passes through it and drains out through springs, (like Ladywell) passes over the shales and into the limestone. From this we see that the best place to look for swallet caves is, at the junction of the shales and the limestone. This conclusion is amply born out if we consider the row of caves:- Cuckoo Cleeves, Plantation Swallet, Eastwater, Swildons and Hollowfield.

The water, having passed through the limestone, must come out somewhere and this it does at caves of iflux, like Wookey Hole and Cheddar, and springs like Rickford and Rodney Stoke.  The geology of Wookey Hole is worthy of special mention. Wookey was a very old cave formed when the Mendips were relatively young, then the hills sank down into the sea and the gorge which the river had formed was filled up with a mass of conglomerate. Then the hills rose out of the sea again and the river had to form a new cave and gorge, this is why Wookey Hole is in conglomerate.

Note:-   Dolomitic Conglomerate is composed of the debris of denudation, a mixture in the case of Wookey, of limestone and sandstone fragments; some large some small, all bound together into a solid mass. A very good analogy being a mass of concrete viewed through a magnifying glass.


The Annual General Meeting of the CAVE RESEARCH GROUP will be held at Sheffield on June 1st 1948 at 6.p.m. Will anyone wishing to attend please let the Hon. Sec. know his name as soon as possible, so that the necessary arrangements may be made.

Report on exploration and survey of a Chalk Mine near Springwell, Rickmansworth, Herts

by  G.W. Ridyard

I decided that, while I was at home this Easter, I would have a look at a chalk mine which is in our neighbourhood.  The mine consists of a vertical shaft which was once some 50 ft. deep, but is now shortened to approx. 40 ft in depth by a large accumulation of muck and rubble at its foot.  Branching out from the bottom of the shaft are a series of interesting chambers hewn out of the chalk strata.

The farmer w'ho rents the land told me that the pit together with several others nearby, which are now filled in, were dug within the last 100 years to supply chalk for spreading on sour ground. This sounds quite feasible and put an end to my hopes of an ancient flint mine, which in west Hertfordshire would have been quite a find. However, I thought that it was still worth having a look at so on Good Friday afternoon my friend, Douglas Goff, and I lugged two Sections of rope ladder and a tether to the hilltop where the shaft is situated.

The top of the shaft is surrounded by trees so we had no difficulty tethering the ladder quite securely. The ladder was just long enough and because of a slight overhang at the top of the shaft, was clear of the wall most of the way down. At the foot of the ladder one could see that the shaft is circular in section and it gave one the impression of being at the bottom of a well. The pile of debris is quite large and extends for some feet into the chambers on either side of the shaft, as might be expected there are numerous animal bones old cans, tyres and "what have you" mixed up with the dirt in the pile.

The Chambers average 6-8 ft. in width and are between 15-20 ft in height. The cross-sectlon of the chambers is more or less Gothic-vertical sides with two arcs at the top to form the roof- and this coupled with complete silence makes you feel as though you were in a deserted church. The floor is very even in most places and the whole system is surprisingly dry. I had taken some collecting bottles with me in case there might be some “bugs” for E.A. Glennie, but the place seemed much too dry to attract cave fauna, I saw no sign of bats anywhere in the system.

After spending a couple of hours on the survey of the place with pocket compass and knotted cord, we decided that we had found out just about all there was to know about the place and we beat a retreat. Both Goff and I enjoyed exploring this place and although I had hoped It might have more possibilities I shall not be nagged by the thought that I might be missing something worth-while as I might have been had I not gone down.

Geoff has sent a very fine plan of the above Chalk Mine. Space will not allow the printing of it here but it will be in the next issue.

List of Members No 2

22         L. Peters,          21. Melbury Road, Knowle, Bristol.4.
23         J.C. Weekes     376. Wells Road, Knowle .Bristol.4.
27         R.A. Crocker     5. Berry Lane Horfield, Bristol.7
29         R. Woodbridge   384 Wells Road, Knowle, Bristol 4
31         D.A. Bessell      5 Albert Parade, Redfield, Bristol
32         A.K. Baxter       93.Redcatch Road, Knowle, Bristol.4
34         E. Knight           48.Grafton Street, St. Philips Marsh, Bristol.
36         R. Brain            10 Weston Ave. Cossham Road, St. George, Bristol.5.
38         Mrs I.M. Stanbury (Life Member) 74. Redcatch Road, Bristol.4.
43         A. Atkinson       32. Salisbury Road, Redland, Bristol.

The Belfry, through the generosity of Set and Postle (to the uninitiated R.A. Setterington & T.H. Tompsett) has had a radio presented to it. Thanks also to Dick Bellamy who also offered one.

A copy of British Regional Geology, Bristol and Gloucester District has been presented to the library by Pongo (P.M. Wallis).

Back numbers of this Bulletin can be obtained, when in print, from the Hon. 3d. per copy, 4d. post free.

Also in stock are:- Carbide Lamps, Spare jets, rubber gaskets and prickers.

Caving Hats and Caps together with all caving, climbing and camping gear, can be obtained through the Hon. Sec., Who also has Y.H.A. and Camping Club Application Forms.




The Editor's Notes

As most of you know, Mr. Beecham has asked us to move the Belfry and has considerably reduced our rent. We want to complete this work as soon as possible and the job was started the first weekend after Whitsun. Mr. Beecham has given us a new site and promised to lay on transport, we need lots of labour to complete the job, so let the Hon. Sec know if you can come, if not turn up anyway there's plenty for all to do.

Caving at Bude II by T.H.S.

Since my article published recently in Belfry Bulletin Vol.3. No.9. was written, I have been asked to increase the area covered by it. I intend to cover the coast southwards from Wheelbarrow Rock to Millhook Cove. Although the area is singularly barren of caves, there are ample compensations in the form of climbing and the scenery is as fine as any that I know of the same type.

To the BEC the area is of particular interest, as the cliff at Upton is the nearest point to the club camp site at South Lynstone Farm, from which the sea can be seen. The camp site is about ¼ mile from Upton Cliff, and until the cliff is actually reached there is no sign of the sea except its roar and the fact that the trees, such as they are, all lean landwards at an acute angle.

Upon reaching the cliff a really wonderful view can be seen of the southern end of Bude Bay; Millhook, with its Trials Hills and water splash, already tasted by certain club members; Crackington Haven; Boscastle and Trevena, (known generally as Tintagel, although Tintagel is the headland, and not the village), with their sea caves and seals; with Trevose in the far distance with its lighthouse showing a red flash at night. To the north the view of the bay is curtailed by Efford Beacon, but Lundy Island can be seen lying low on the horizon.

The Coast Road as its name implies, runs parallel to the cliff as far as the south of Widemouth Bay, and then becomes a 'Mountain Track' along the edge of the cliff to Millhook Cove. Cliff falls on the higher land has caused the road to be moved inland some time ago, and on the low lying land at Widemouth Bay the sand has completely covered the old road, the new one making a considerable detour.

The beaches are readily accessible from this road, along which runs the bus from Bude to Widemouth. Numerous paths run down over the cliffs, which hereabouts are usually steep grassy slopes for the greater part of their height. At low water there are sandy tongues running in towards the cliff, but when the tide is in the seas beat against the bases of the cliffs.

Following our previous plan, we will follow the cliff base to the southward.

From Wheelbarrow Rock to Upton there is good climbing and just before Upton is reached, a hole through the rock gives access to Upton Beach itself. Upton Cliffs are sloping and grassy and we pass on to one or two tiny depressions in the cliff face that one can hardly dignify by the name of Cave.

Beyond this the cliffs heighten and run out to a small headland, the outstanding characteristic of which is the contortion of the strata (Fig.1).Image

Past this headland the shattered cliffs are clothed in turf almost to the sea, and shale beds form the major part of the next headland, the point of which is so broken and contorted as to make it almost impossible to describe or draw. Fig. 2 shows only a few of the contortions).Image

Below this point the character of the cliff changes and vertical cliffs rise from the beach. Here are isolated fingers of vertical rock 60-80 feet high that will defy the best of climbers to scale them. In contrast to the previous cliff, this rock is both hard and strong and can be trusted- not to break when weight is placed upon it.

The next headland is broken up, but passing it and also the little cove adjacent to it, we see that the next one stands out in a totally different manner to its predecessors. This headland, too, has been broken up, but instead of becoming a mass of tiny fragments, has become a colossal mass of huge boulders, some as large as a house. Excellent sport can be had here climbing over and through them. The writer visited these boulders the day before writing this article. The passages are of a satisfactory tightness, but the boulders themselves are so much larger than anything seen by him underground that the familiar "Ant in the stone-pile" feeling of the boulder ruckle of Eastwater is considerably magnified.

As we pass along the various benches, the remains of sea mines washed ashore during two wars are often to be seen, reminding the explorer of the risks taken in, travelling these same beaches not so very long ago.

A long point of rock, undercut and polished by the sea next stands as a barrier against further progress. This can only be circumnavigated at low water during spring tides, and at other times a really sticky time can be had here unless the key to the ridge is known. The overhang averages 2 feet and is from 8 to 10 feet above the beach, the rocks being in places slippery with slime as well as polished by the sea. The writer is keeping the secret of this climb as he feels that a lot more sport is had in hunting out ones own routes than by following in someone else's footsteps. The climb is easy when the secret is known.

More boulders pave the way to another shingle beach where once again the rocks are shattered and the green of the cliffs dip to the sea. The next small headland shows more of the strangeness of the strata usual in the area. (Fig. 3.)Image

The next beach shows a cliff with horizontal strata at the top, contorted in the centre, and horizontal again at the bottom.

A long lowish headland is next reached and another climb over boulders gives access to Widemouth Bay with its mile of sands and popular camping sites. Here the cliffs sink to sea level and a broad, clay bedded valley extends as far as the Tea Rooms. Salt House, at the northern end of the bay is the eldest house in the vicinity, and from it generations in the past have purchased their salt, obtained by the evaporation of salt water in shallow pans.

In Widemouth Bay, generally flat, Black Rock stands out and catches the eye. Legend surrounds it, a man, whom I have no idea, has been imprisoned under it for many centuries, and he will stay there until he can make a rope of sand. A similar story exists about the legendary Cornishman Tregeagle, but whether they are connected I cannot say.

Beyond the Tea Rooms, the cliffs again rise from the sand, this time of soft clay and stones. This cliff is being eroded tremendously every year, the 'old road' in places being completely eaten away.

Penhalt stream enters the sea from its little valley just beyond this, and then the cliffs shoot up again to tremendous heights, albeit sloping ones, and rounding the headland, the high vertical cliffs descend abruptly to the Millhook stream. There is here I am told a cave of some size, although I have never been able to find it.

The shattering and weathering of the cliffs is due to the fact that the area is situated in the Culm, with beds of Shale becoming increasingly predominant to the southwards. Because of this the cliffs would show signs of shrinkage absent from the secondary beds, with the erosion of the softer shale causing the undermining and collapse of the surrounding strata. The area around Bude abounds in excellent examples of the of the tremendous pressure and shrinkage that the original surface of the earth was subject to before the sedimentary rocks were laid down.

Chalk Mine, Near Springwell, Mill End, Herts


Ode to a “Beeza”

By “Ariels".

Don Stripped Rasputin's engine to see what he could do
To increase his brake horse power from 1.5 to 2.
With a clanking from the con-rod and a rattling from the chains,
And 80 thou of clearance in the big end and the mains.

He put rubber on the piston and polished up the bore
But 1.5 brake horse power was all he got, no more.

So he opened out his crankcase and filled it with oildag
Then he tried the timing and tuning up his mag..

Then he polished his exhaust port and fixed the carburettor
But 1.5 brake horse power was all he got, no better.

So he reset his tappets and ground his valves in well
But did it make a difference, did it ---- hell.

Then he filled his gearbox and relined his clutch
This made a slight improvement although it wasn’t much.

His valve guides were non-existent, his main jet was too small
and as for his main bearings they only had one ball.

He straightened out his con-rod, he put his big-end back
And then he bent his piston to take up any slack.

His engine once stopped firing and set his cart on fire,
And this burnt all the string off, so he tied it up with wire.

That engine failed one weekend, far out among the hills,
Out came a rescue party, equipped with headache pills.

The moral of this story, is if you buy a bike,
Make sure its not Rasputin, Dan goes faster on his trike.

List of Members. No. 3

44 K.S. Hawkins, 6.Melbourne Terrace, Little Horton Lane, Bradford. Yorks.
48 C.H. Kenney, 5.Vicars Close, Wells, Somerset
51 A. Johnson, 46.The Crescent, Henleaze, Bristol
53 J.D, Pain, Bibury, Old West Town Lane, Brsiliongton, Bristol 4
54 D.A. Coase, 18 Headington Road, Wandsworth London SWl8.
56 G. Platten, Rotherfield, Fernhill Lane, New Milton, Hants
57 E.J. Steer, c/o 23 Andover Road. Knowle Park,Bristol.4
58 G.T. Lucy, 28 Bibury Creasent, Henleeaze, Bristol 7
60 P.A.E. Stewart, 11 Fairhaven Road, Redland, Bristol 6
61 T. White, 107 Creswicke Road, Filwood Park, Bristol 4.

Programme for June, July and August 1948

JUNE. All this month will be devoted to Belfry moving; All hands on deck theres plenty for all to do!!

JULY. Sat. 3rd Burrington.
Sun.18th Eastwater.
24th - 2nd August. Club Camp at Bude, Cornwall. Subject to confirmation. Will all members who intend to go to Bude please inform Hon. Sec, as .soon as possible.

AUGUST. Sat.17th Longwood *and August Hole.
Sun.25th Stoke Lane.

Anyone with any spare time is asked to contact Jiim Weekes or Woodbridge who have plenty of digging on hand.



On Wednesday February 25th Betty and Johnny Shorthose, a daughter, Mary Elisabeth. Mother and Daughter both doing well.

Hearty Congratulations to Mum, and Dad, and welcome to the ”Young Idea”.

Editors Notes

I have learned that Alfie Collins hopes to be in double harness at Christmas.

At the request of a number of members we are printing the "Votes list of Candidates for the 1948 Committee":-

T. H. Stanbury 33
D.A. Coase 26
D.H. Hassel 25
A.M. Innes 20
J. C. Weekes 19
R.A. Setteriongton 18
G.T. Lucy 15
G. Fenn 12
J.D. Pain 5

The Committee decided to co-opt R.A. Setterington to the Committee because of the difficulty D.A. Coase finds in getting down for meetings.

Programme for March, April and May, 1948.

Saturday 13th March Swildons Hole
Sunday 21st March August Hole and Longwood
Saturday 10th April Burrington, General Caving
Sunday 18th April Eastwater
Saturday 8th May G.B.
Sunday 16th May Stoke Lane Lower Series

New Books

By R.M.W

The mere mention that there is a new book by Casteret should be enough to start a rush on the nearest book-shop. "My Caves", has just been published by Dent's at .15/-.

This is a chronological sequence to "Ten Years under the Earth” and brings us up to 1939, but it differs in some respects from that wonderful book. In this only one cave is dealt with in detail – the author describes very vividly the efforts he made to bye pass a trap in the cave of Labouiche, which required considerable effort in climbing and penetrating squeezes, only to find on regaining the river, that a further trap still barred the way. This he has not yet attempted to pass. The second chapter deals with some of the Basque Pot-holes which he descended (with aid of a winch and some terrifyingly thin cable) in company of Max Cosyns and Vander Elst - both one time stratosphere balloonists.

The remainder of the book is devoted to caving in general and a survey of facts and figures. He also discusses his own equipment, most of it little, if any, different from that familiar to us. His ladders, however, do not appeal to me. He pins his faith in 1/8" steel wire with magnesium alloy rungs, weighing only about 1.oz./ ft. He has 1600 feet of this - imagine about one Belfry-full of B.E.C. Ladder!

The final very interesting chapter records three years research into the habits of bats - their life-cycle, feeding and migratory habits. For some species do migrate, though why and how far remains a mystery. Some of the bats he observed and ringed successfully returned to their cave when released 180 miles away, though another group failed at 400 miles.

In the introduction, Casteret says: “Everything I have described has been observer, in the Pyrenees. I make no claim to ownership....but in many cases I have discovered and explored them. Visits to 700 caves.......are I think justification for the title. He does not claim it as a handbook or compendium, but rather a tale of adventure. Nonetheless, much can be learned from these pages by a pastmaster of the subject and even though he insists he is only an "Amateur and dilettante” he is beset by many correspondents suggesting suitable caves for exploration. One from said he had seen many large unexplored pots in the Apennines. It is only in the Postscript he bothers to mention that he refers to the Apennines in the Moon, which he had been studying in a telescope.

I feel this to be the work of a more sober man than the author of “Ten Years". His lone forcing of the Montesapn syphon in 1922, was, it seemed to me, a foolhardy risk, and as such he now recognises it. While he still prefers solitary exploration, he can in no case advise anyone to venture alone into the dark labyrinths below…. Do what I say, and not what I do.

The translation is by R.L.G. Irving, and very well done too. In one place only was I conscious of the fact that I was reading a book originally in another language, and that is a very difficult thing to achieve. Even a bad translation of ''Mes Cavernes" would have been better than none, but a very good one rejoices the heart.

26 photographs add a final touch to a book you must beg, borrow or steal (or you might even buy it - it's is worth it!).

A copy of the above book is now in the Club Library.( Ed.).

North Wales Border Caves

By A.C. Johnson.

Between Pantymevyn and Cilcain a dozen miles south of Holywell, and 3 miles west of Mold, the River Alyn runs through a deep narrow valley. I say runs, but it only appears in flood as it spends the rest of its time underground in old lead workings which it enters a mile or so upstream, not far from a pub boasting the name of "We Three Loggerheads'' commonly called "The Loggerheads”. Up till 1939 there used to be a spar quarry on the east bank of the river. The spar was quarried originally from a rift 20' wide. When they had got into the rift for about 300ft. they broke into the end of an enormous rift chamber about 120ft high at about 30 ft from the deck. This only left them 50 ft instead of 140 ft to quarry so they left it. The chamber is about 5 degrees out of the vertical. The bottom of this chamber Is filled with the water that should be in the river outside. The chamber stretches back into blackness although your light is hampered by a remarkable vertical buttress that stretches about two-thirds of the way up the left hand wall and connects up with a vertical inverted buttress coming down from the roof and attached to the other wall, forming a huge arch in the bottom right side above the water and an equally large doorway on the top left side. The whole thing is so far in as to be in gloom but I have a sneaking feeling that it is made of stalactite. A person with more energy than sense might possibly climb down the left wall into the doorway as there is a slight horizontal bulge running along the wall, having an upper surface at about 55 degrees to the horizontal. The which appears by the sound of the stonesto be very deep is divided at the limit of sight by a large spur but as there is still about 100 ft. headroom further progress should be possible. A dingy would be needed for exploration but a paddle steamer would be alright for size. Just about 50 yds up the river bank is a real scorcher of a cave entrance all choked by greenish stalactite. It is about 25 ft long and about 10 ft. high. Several promising holes peep out round curtains of the stuff and a chisel and hammer might reveal things. Even more hopeful is a corkscrew aven in the roof all covered in stalactite, which is the most impressive one I have seen. By its position, this is most likely to be an outlet cave and there is plenty of room under the hill so it may go. To return to lead mines, about ½ mile further on is the most shaky piece of mining engineering I have ever seen; just right for exploration by Johnnie Morris. A level has been driven into the rock near one end of a 100ft cliff, but it must have bean unsafe and they continue until it was about 70 ft. high. Then they stuffed it full of props to keep the walls apart. The two walls are now just masses of loose stone; most of the props near the entrance have gone and those further in have been removed by about 50 ft. of the roof collapsing. The first 50ft. was only saved by the roots of two big oak trees it seems. Anyway a rope over one of the props would probably fetch it all in, as stones start miniature avalanches. In the field above there is a line of 3 open shafts with large slab walls about 8ft. in diameter. There are about 20 shafts dotted about on the side of the valley; and towards The Loggerheads the O.S. marks a place called Cat Hole, that none of the locals know.

There are a number of quarries in the area and I believe that small caves were found and may still be open, but I do not know at present anything more but will try and investigate soon.

The hills to the west of the valley rise to the Clwydian range where some magnificent hill walks can be obtained. The highest peak, Moel Famau 1820 ft, has the base of a monster cairn on top but the builders must have thought that it wasn’t worth lugging stone that far. From here fine views can be had especially towards Snowdonia.

It seems to me that North Wales has been sadly neglected, but under this present ---x petrol situation it will have to wait. All the caves I have seen have been within a mile of bus routes and ½ a mile of a road, so they are all accessible like those of Mendip. Also the owners of the land surrounding the cave entrances don’t seem too bad in fact they seem almost interested..

Tony Johnson has asked that any information about this area please be passed to him. (Ed.).


We have had some letters from Terry Reed. He is infesting Trinidad now and has found some caves there; we shall print his notes all being well in the next issue.

List of members.

We have decided to publish lists of members and their addresses, so that those members who live adjacent to each other, may know their neighbours.

1 T.H. Stanbury, Hon. Sec, 74. Redcatch Road., Knowle, Bristol 4.
3 D.W. Jones, 18 Highbury Road, Bristol 8
4 D.H. Hasell, Hill House, Moorlynch, Nr. Bridgewater, Somerset
5 R. Wallace, 32 Springleaze, Knowle, Bristol 4
7 G.A.R. Tait, 35 Laurence Grove, Henleaze, Bristol
9 F.A. Edwards, 14 Tuegla terrace, Bristol
17 J.V. Morris, Ye Olde Jolly Sailor Inn, Teighnmouth, Devon
19 S.C.W. Herman, 34 Jubilee Road, Knowle, Bristol 4
20 R.J. Bagshaw, 11 Hill Crest, Knowle, Bristol 4
21 G.R. Fenn, Kinsale Road, Knowle Bristol 4