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A Caving Review of the Coastal Area around Bude, Cornwall

By T.H Stanbury

It is proposed in this brief survey, to give of a short account of places of interest to Cavers in the immediate vicinity of Bude.

It will be found that, although the area is not one of either limestone, or of the massive slate deposits around Trevena (Tintagel) there are a considerable number of places where caves can be found, although most of these are very small.

I propose to start at the North, and work my way down the coast. It must be remembered that throughout the entire area the cliffs are open to all, and that if for no other reason than the enjoyment of the scenery, a walk along the cliff paths is well repaid.

The first place of real caving interest is at Northcott Mouth, where there are situated two caves. The first, No 1 on the sketch plan, situated under Menachurch Point, has the remains of the wreck of a coaster as a sign-post. This wreck although about 1½ miles from Bude, can easily be identified from there on the ebb of the spring tides. The cave, situated in the point of the headland directly to the rear of the wreck is not extensive, but has a comparatively grand entrance. It runs straight for about 60 ft., and then terminates abruptly. There is a large pool just inside the entrance that is full of seaweed and looks shallow but woe betide the unwary explorer who ventures to step into it, as there is a considerable depth of water under the masking weed.

Making our way across the sandy cove of Northcott Mouth for about ½ mile we see in front of us another headland. In contrast to the cliffs around Menachurch which are crumbling and broken, Maer Cliff stands out as a sheer face of rock running out to sea.

Almost at the point where the headland joins the main cliff is “Smugglers’ Hole”, No.2 on the sketch. This cave has already been described by the writer in “British Caver” Vol.12. , and a survey was published in BB 4, A weekend trip was run to Bude in August last to excavate “Smugglers Hole”, and a further penetration of six feet was achieved The perfect weather and sea contributing in no small measure to the small amount of progress made and the excessive amount of swimming etc. indulged in.

Just south of Maer Cliff is “Earthquake”. Here the cliff is shattered and large crevasses extend parallel to the cliff face up the considerable slope up the beach to the cliff top. The impression is that the existed under Earthquake a very considerable cave, the roof of which has collapsed, causing the whole level cliff top to subside. That the subsidence is not recent is shown by the fact that there once existed on the hilltop a monastery or other religious foundation, all traces of which have long since vanished.

From this point the best way is to follow the cliff base. This is much more strenuous than either the cliff top or the sands, but the added interest makes up the extra energy expended.

Along the base of the cliff from Earthquake to Wrangle Point, a distance of about ½ a mile, there are a number of small caves, the entrance of which, at certain states of the shingle, are completely hidden. Most of these are insignificant, but a couple of them are worthy of the trouble needed to find them. As well as the caves, there are here some very interesting climbs, due to the protusion of vertical rock faces from the general line of cliff. If the route along the sands is taken instead of following the cliff face, there are one or two interesting rock arches to be seen, with deep pools beneath them.

From Earthquake to Bude the strata are vertical but beyond Wrangle Point it becomes almost horizontal until Efford Downs are reached.

From Wrangle Point to Bude Harbour there is nothing of interest to the caver except a small hole looking like a cave in embryo on Summerleaze Beach between the Bathing Pool and Mentone. This is purely artificial and I have no reliable information as to why it was made. I presume that it was for work in connection with the drainage system.

Crossing to the Breakwater, chapel Rock, so called from the Chapel that used to adorn it, used to boast of a smugglers’ cave according to the old guide books. No trace now remains of either the chapel or the cave, and I fail to see what good to a smuggler such an isolated hideout would have been, as before the Breakwater was built Chapel Rook stood. isolated on the sands of the Haven.

Under Compass Point are three caves. The first of these, No. 3., is small and is on the north side of the headland. The second and third, Nos. 4 & 5, are parallel to each other and. look west at the point of the headland. No. 4. is the larger, and has recently become partly unroofed by rock falls. A large pool on the floor at the entrance adds to the fun of penetrating to the end, about 90 feet in all. The entrance is about 5 feet wide and 30 - 40 feet high, with vertical or slightly overhanging sides. To enter, the explorer has to manoeuvre along a ledge about five inches wide and great fun is had in the return journey as this necessitates a climb up over a rock face overhanging the pool.

The second cave, No.5 is approached around the southern wall of No.4, and is a very different place. The actual cave is at the end of a long gully with vertical walls 100 feet or more in height, and only about 8 feet wide. The gully has a floor of large boulders and at one point a large mass weighing many tons has jammed across it at a high level, the person passing underneath wondering if it is going to choose that particular moment to finish its descent. Beyond this hanging mass, the boulder pile lessens and a climb down over slippery rock brings one to a sandy floor with a few boulders sticking out of it. The cave is about 50 feet further up the gully. It is only small, with an entrance about 6 feet square, and in about 40-50 feet it peters out. Where .the boulder pile ends there is a small hole in the north wall through which a caver can squeeze. If he has enough energy to do this he finds himself back in No, 4. Although the hole looks easy I have found that there are few that are not cavers that will attempt it.

These two caves are only accessible at low water, the neaps, not allowing any entry, and the sea being too boisterous to allow swimming.

Here again the strata are vertical, but after this the most amazing contortions of rock that I have ever seen take place. The rock has been twisted and crushed so that in some places there are zig-zags and invertions that seem incredible to those who see them for the first time.

An Interesting scramble over the rocks brings us to Efford Beacon. Here a finger of rock runs out for a considerable distance. On the far side of this is cave no.6. This cave has in the last few years been almost entirely eroded away, but enough remains to see that there was once a considerable arch. The back of the cave is discoloured red and violet from the dripping of mineral impregnated water.

From here a climb down over a 40 ft. vertical rock face brings us to Efford Ditch, where there is what appears to be a cave entrance across the cove. On approaching we find that this is merely a depression in the cliff face, but upon getting nearer still we see a cave mouth close by. This cave,no,7., is much visited and has had names and initials cut into its walls for many years. The entrance is triangular and at its apex is about 7 ft. high. Running up into the cliff for about 100 ft. It gets smaller and smaller until it is too small to penetrate further.

From Efford Ditch to Upton Cliff a number of rocky points jut out, and amongst these can be found other small caves of a similar nature to those between Earthquake and Wrangle Point. These too, are extremely well hidden, and great care has to be exercised in this area as the points of rock are further out to sea than the beaches and to be caught under the vertical cliffs in the region of the Wheelbarrow, during the spring tides necessitates a particularly bad climb to safety. Many years ago the writer was caught on this beach whilst looking for firewood, and both he and his companion never wish to repeat the experience. An almost vertical shale gully 100 ft. high being the only climbable spot from the beach and at the head of the gully, the only way on being over a pile of loose overhanging boulders for another 150 ft.

These notes although very brief, will, I hope, enable the caver who is staying in the area to indulge in his favourite sport during his sojourn there,


Thanks to G. Platten for two books for the library :-

Irish Cave Exploration by JC Coleman, and,

Gower Caves by  E. E. Allen & J. G. Rutter with photographs by A. G. Thompson, B.Sc and M. I. Strust.E..

Also to R.M. Wallis, “Pongo” to you, for “The Specialist” by Charles Sale. This should be read, marked, learned and inwardly digested by all detail constructors.


North Border Caving

by A.C. Johnson

Running north from Welshpool along the border to the west of the coalfield is a broken ridge of limestone between 2 and15 miles wide. Much of the land is low lying and so the prospects of large caves are confined to a few areas.

Travelling north from Welshpool, the first high ground is LLanymynech Hill. The east and south sides of the hill have been extensively quarried and in one place a quarry has been driven into the hill and covers a circular area of some 14 acres. The cliffs are anything up to 250 ft. high and provide climbs of all grades up to the impossible The quarry went out of business in 1920 and so the rock has weathered and become stable; some parts are the equivalent of natural cliffs. In all there are about 5 miles of cliffs. The strata are horizontal and in places there are some very natty ledges running along the face. The two caves are on the top of the hill which is used as a golf course. The first cave whose entrance is a fairly large chamber is in the south side of a huge amphitheatre, which might turn out to be an overgrown swallet depression.

The walls of the chamber are covered with a green transparent jelly which sticks to your clothes like glue and makes a hell of a mess. The place stinks of sheep, so they maybe the cause. There are several very small holes high up in the walls but there is an obvious way on through a rectangular hole about 3 ft. high at the far end of the chamber This leads to a second chamber with two or three tunnels leading off. I have explored up one of them but as I only had a baby torch I did not go very far, but to my surprise I found myself at the bottom of an aven about 3 x 2 leading up to the surface. Search on the surface revealed a wired off area containing a natural shaft which by its position should be the right one. This cave has a number of legend attached to it which are stlll current in the village. One is that the cave connects with a passage running from the River Vyrnwy under the pub and up to natural chambers under the hill where illicit drugs,etc. were stored before being distributed to the Midlands. This is not so impossible as it may seem because the cave is completely dry and as there is no high ground in the neighbourhood the cave, cannot very well be flooded. Also the line of the cave is towards the pub. So what about it blokes? There’s booze in them thar’ hills! perhaps. I might as well tell you the other legend, which originates from the people over the hill and that is that the cave is inhabited by badgers There are badgers on the hill but I don’t know if they are any In the cave. I didn’t meet any. Whilst on the subject of the cave, when the quarry was continued into the centre of the hill a large tunnel some 20 ft. square was knocked through the rock separating it from the track to the canal, to take the lines to carry the rock out. In the walls of this tunnel high up are two open ends of what appears to be natural caves, one large with a small one in the opposite wall. I think that these tunnels form part of the cave system as they are in the right line. The other cave on the hill is about 1/3 mile north of the first one under some hawthorn bushes and just inside the entrance is a stream which disappears down what looks to be a very promising tunnel. According to locals there is always water there but no one has explored it. At the base of the cliffs at the southern tip of the hill is a cave entrance which has been blocked; some 10 ft. in as the sheep use it as a shelter. In all these caves there is only a little formation that I have seen and is mostly white with slight brownish streaks.

Also on the same hill are 2 open lead mine shafts about 80 ft. deep. They are, circular about 4 ft. in diameter and the walls are built up with dry stonework. There are a lot of small depressions filled with loose stone which may be covered in mine shafts as they have the same appearance as the open ones.

At the other end of the limestone belt in Flintshire there is considerably more high ground. The lead mines there were once the chief local industry, and were operating until fairly recently. The shafts were quite as common as at any place on Mendip. Ordnance Survey maps of Halkyn Mountain show 90 shafts in an area of about 6 square miles. (There is a map in the club files which shows the Halkyn Mining area, the shafts and the veins of ore. Ed.) The method of mining in the district was to drive horizontal levels into the side of the hill and use the shafts for ventilation. An old book of the Halkyn district speaks of a level 1000 ft. long, which was flooded to a depth of 2 ft., so that punts could be used for transport, which went straight through the hill. Many entrances to these levels, could probably be found by systematic searching. There are a number of small ravines about that might have contained the entrances. Just to the north at Holywell there is a healing and petrifying well fed from the mountain. At least it used to be, but one day the supply was cut off when foundations were being dug, so the owners of the well, not to be beaten, tapped the town supply which also comes from the mountain, and the well functions to this day. Now who says Bristol water is hard? I don’t think this is generally known in the district, I found out very much by accident from some old records.

Attention all Forces Members ! ! i


If we do not hear from you BEFORE FEB 29th  We shall assume that you are no longer interested and discontinue your membership.

The Following Members (some since demobbed ) Have Already contacted us :-

A. Atkinson,                  R.A. Crocker.                J. Hull ,                         G.A.R.Tait

D, Bessell.                    P . Daymond .               D.W. Jones.                  J.C. Weekes .

R. Brain.                       F. A. Edwards               C.H. Kenney.                 T. White

R. Cantle,                      S. C. W.Herman..          J.V. Morris.                   P. Woodbridge.

Will the rest please note that they will receive no further information from us unless we hear from them ????

This is the first number of our Second Volume of the BB.  I think that we have fulfilled our purpose in bringing out the B.E.C. Mag., and I hope in 1948 to have a much greater number of contributions from Members.

So, to all Members of the B.E.C, Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year's Caving.


Minutes of 1947 Annual General Meeting

Minutes of 1947 Annual General Meeting held at 74.Redcatch Road, Bristol 4 on Saturday, November 29th.

Meeting opened at 6:35 p.m. there being present:-

T.H. Stanbury, Mr.& Mrs. Tompsett, A. Needs, G. Fenn, M. Hannam, W. Hucker, G.T. Lucy, J.A. Dwyer, J.V. Morris, D.A. Coase, A. Johnson, J.C. Weekes, J.Pidyard, Miss M. Thomas, P. Wallace, J.D. Pain, A.M. Innes, S.C.W. Herman, P.A.E. Stewart, Miss P. Richards, F.A. Edwards.

R.A. Setterington was representing B.E.C. at the C.R.G. Annual General Meeting and arrived at this (BEC) one at its (CRG) close.

It was proposed by J.C. Weekes that D.A.Coase be elected Chairman for the meeting. This was seconded by J.A. Dwyer and carried.

The 1947 Committee having resigned, the following were elected to represent the club in 1948:-

T.H. Stanbury,   (Hon. Sec.& Hon. Treas.)
D.H. Hasell,       (Hon. Editor, B.B.)
D.A.Coase,       (Hut Warden & Hon. Equip. Officer)
A.M. Innes,       (Hon. Librarian)
J.C. Weekes.

Hon Sec, asked if he might have an assistant Sec. appointed for such routine work as making up BBs etc.; this was agreed to and J.C. Weekes, was appointed to the job.

Hon Secretary’s Report

Hon. Sec reported that:- Owing to the colossal number of small trips taking place, no accurate records could be kept as in previous years, but 42 large scale trips have been organised, and in these, 536 persons went underground. Besides these, there were two and sometimes three smaller trips every weekend.

The year has brought the important discovery of Lower Stoke Lane, of Brownes Hole, entered a fortnight ago, and the initial penetration of Withybrook Swallet. A good week's sport was had in Derbyshire, and several weekends in , together with one in Cornwall, were greatly enjoyed by all concerned.

The Club Library, thanks to the generosity of various persons, has been greatly extended and now boasts of 195 volumes of various kinds. No opportunities have been missed to purchase books suitable for inclusion.

(These are the main and most interesting items from the Hon. Sec's Report. Space will not allow his complete report to be printed, or a complete itemised Financial Report. These may be inspected at Redcatch Road. Ed.).

Arising from Hon. Sec's. Report:-  D.A.Coase suggested that a loose leaf log book be used after January 1st next. This was agreed to by all.

Hon. Treasurer’s Report

During 1947 the Club income was;- 79/7/8
Whilst expenditure was:-                 69/16/6½,

Arising from Hon. Treas. Report:- D.A.Coase proposed that the, 1/- sleeping fee for the Belfry, should cover fuel for the fire as well as for lighting and cooking. This was seconded by S.C.W. Herman and carried.

Hut harden and Hon. Equipment Officer's Report

Hut harden and Hon. Equipment Officer's Report: The major item in this report is the Belfry, which has certainly proved its worth. The erection of the Belfry last winter was done under conditions of considerable difficulty in the midst of blizzards etc., but on February 1st it was officially opened for sleeping.  The Hut is now weather tight, although one gale threatened to remove it entirely.  A large part of the main hut is now lined inside, and the electric lighting has been installed.

The generator is at the moment fitted in the "married quarters", and although a lean-to has been constructed at the back for it, it is proposed to leave it where it is for the winter.  The lean-to being used meanwhile for storing firewood, timber, etc.

Unfortunately we have erected the Belfry rather near the farmhouse with the result that we have received one or two complaints about noise late at night and I would stress the importance to all that ALL unnecessary noise is taboo after 10p.m. and that anyone entering the lane with M/T after this time should be as quiet as possible.

The major source of difficulty has been the emptying of the detailer.  I can’t order anyone to do it, or rather enforce the order, I can only appeal to them.

Another point is cleaning up the Belfry. This is done by the game old regulars, and although they use the place more often than the others it is time that some of the other perishers did their share.

Now for some facts end figures. Since December 1st 1946, the Belfry has slept altogether a total of over 400 members, 50 visitors, and 30 members of B.C.C., a total of well over 500.  The Hon. Treas. has already given you the figures for the Belfry a/c, but I would remind you that in just a year the Belfry has paid for itself and shows a profit of 4/6/-.  To date the Belfry has cost 37/15/-.

One trouble with the Hut is that at times it is too small. At August Bank Holiday, we had 17 people sleeping in the Belfry and several more had to go to main’s Barn at Priddy. Although the hut will sleep 12 in comparative comfort, the room available for living in is rather cramped with more than 6 or 8.

Equipment.  The tackle has periodically been tested, and the two 35 ft. ladders we took over from the B.C.C. have been scrapped.  The rungs have been salvaged and one ladder has been made up with new ropes.  The other one has been made up but has not yet been completed.  Two ropes, a 40 and a 60 ft., have been scrapped as well.  The 40 ft. dural. ladder is reported to have frayed on one wire, but is still down Stoke Lane together with a 20ft. ladder, a 60 ft. rope and some tools.  Anyone feeling energetic can retrieve these and return them to the Belfry.

Digging implements have been in great demand this year, and the small shovels made by Les Peters proved very effective.  A few more large spades, a pick-axe, and a bucket should be useful however.

The Belfry is now fairly well stocked with equipment although with regard to sleeping gear, a few more blankets, and mattresses would be useful.  Also another Primus, half-a-dozen knives, and especially a water container, would prove their worth.


Arising from above:-  J.C. Weekes questioned the desirability of (a) running about nude in the vicinity of the Belfry, (b) Drunkenness, (c) Questionable behaviour.  After lengthy discussion it was declared, that there should be a general tightening up of behaviour generally.  R. Wallace proposed that the matter be reviewed at the end of three months by the Committee.  This was seconded by Mrs. Tompsett and carried.

J.C. Weekes proposed that a Swear Box be instituted, the fine imposed to be 1d. per word, "household language” excepted, The box to come into operation on January 1st, and the proceeds, if any, to go to Wells' Hospital.  After much hilarious discussion as to what was meant by "Household Language', the motion was seconded by G. Fenn and carried.

R.A. Setterington proposed that the following be entered in the minutes:- “That no member of B.E.C. Committee can serve on the governing body of any other Cave Club”!

An amendment by J.M. Tompsott that:- “No B.E.C. Committee member may be on the Committee of, or hold any official position in any other Caving Club at the same time, without the permission of the Committee of the B.E.C.” was seconded by J.C. Weekes and carried.

Omission from Rule Sheet. Hon. Sec. proposed, in view of the agreement at the 1946 A.G.M. not to change the Rule sheet for 3 years, that the rules omitted be left out permanently, and that the Annual Subs become due on the anniversary of the member's date of joining. This was seconded by S.C.W. Herman, and carried unanimously.

The principle of the B.E.C. having a Banking account was discussed and agreed to by the meeting, the details to be worked out by the Committee, This was proposed by J.C. Weekes, seconded by Mrs. Tompsett, and carried unanimously.

Hon. Sec. Presented to Mr. D.A. Coase, the membership card for 1940 won by him in the BB X-word competition.

J.V. Morris told the meeting that the Devon Speleo Society have given an open invitation to the Club to use their HQ etc whenever in the area.  A proviso being, that an adequate notice be given of such trips.  Hon. Sec. asked Mr. Morris to convey the thanks of B.E.C. to D.S.S. and to tell them that of course we are delighted to offer similar facilities to D.S.S. whenever they should be on Mendip.

A resume of the C.R.G. A.G.M. was then given by R. Setterington, after which the meeting broke up.

Although the shortage of fats, etc. made the usual "after A.G.M." feed impossible, cake etc, was consumed in large quantities.

The thanks of the club are due to the work done by the lady members and especially to Hon.  Secs.’s wife who had the arranging of the room and also the clearing up to see to.

At our Belfry on the Hill

The following outburst was probably caused by the remarks at the A.G.M. concerning Belfry Behaviour. (Possibly there are other causes).

Rather obviously to be sung to the tune of "Much Binding in the Marsh".

At our Belfry on the Hill,
The Purity campaign has really started.
At our Belfry on the hill,
From swearlng and bad manners we've departed,
We're fixing up a Swear Box on the table by the wall,
And Don must pay a shilling if he lets his fig-leaf fall,
In case the Bristol Brownies should decide to pay a call
At our Belfry on the Hill.

At our Belfry on the Hill,
Politeness is the order of the day there.
At our Belfry on the Hill,
In fact It's really quite a strain to stay there.
Our dear old maiden aunties couldn't blush at what is said,
And fairy tales and fables are the only stories read,
At night we say our prayers and then we toddle off to bed,
At our Belfry on the Hill.

At our Belfry on the Hill,
We used to talk of motor-bikes and caving,
At our Belfry on the Hill,
But now we're concentrating on behaving,
You can bring your little sister and your favourite blonde up too,
They wouldn't mind our language, but they mightn't like our stew,
But if they start complaining, well, they know what they can do,
At our Belfry on the Hill.

At our Belfry on the Hill,
We're sure you'll like our tablecloth and flowers.
At our Belfry on the Hill
We sit and knit to pass away the hours.
Quite early Sunday mornings we go off to church in twos,
But first we clean our teeth and comb our hair and shine our shoes,
And if we're offered pints of beer, we, graciously refuse,
At our Belfry on the Hill.


Eastern Mendip - The Discovery of Withybrook Cave.

By P.M. Browne

Withybrook Swallet, in the hamlet of Withybrook, is a walled in depression upon the North side of the main road between Stoke Lane and Oakhill, about half a mile from Stoke. The stream which is usually flowing in to the swallet is conveyed under the road in two concrete pipes.

Discovery and Exploration.

The system was opened by Messrs. P.M. &.L.M. Browne with Mr. Sam Treasure acting as Engineer.  A sloping shaf, some 8ft. in depth, was excavated through sand, gravel and boulders, until on September 10th 1947, the first open passage was struck.  Beyond, the two explorers could see their goal, made inaccessible merely by one massive rock, wedged across the way.

Many hours were spent in a vain attempt to force a way through, but finally it was decided to clear the obstruction by blasting.

On September 10th two plugs of explosive were used on the obstinate boulder, which fell with a crash into the chamber beyond - Withybrook Cave was open!  Great flakes of shattered limestone had to be cleared from the jagged opening before the cavern could be entered, but at last the discoverers crept through, and on into the unknown.

Description of the Cave.

Beyond the bottom of the entrance shaft, a sloping rift chamber about 14ft. long, 5ft. wide and 8ft. high with a very unstable, roof, goes off to the East.  Suddenly a stream course appears and the whole system begins to follow the dip of the strata, running North, at an angle of about 45 degrees for about 40ft.  Here the way becomes choked with mud and boulders.  Above the sink, a promising, but at present inaccessible, passage leads away.  Another interesting passage, running West for 20ft., terminates in to small rift chambers.  The second of these runs due South.

Geology and Water.

Geologically speaking this small system is very interesting, for inside it is possible to study the curious system of intersecting rifts and bedding planes, of which the whole district seems to consists.

Although inaccessible to man this ' fissure system' must hold many hundreds of gallons of water, (in wet seasons) at a high pressure.  The stream, which enters the swallet, I believe to unite with the waters of Stoke Lane Slocker and to reappear at St. Dunstan's Well some distance below.

P.M.B. 1947.

Caving in Palestine

Yes, believe it or not, in spite of the troubles in the Holy Land, The heat, and the apparent impossibility of finding a suitable 'orid 'ole, a BEC member stationed with the Army near Haifa has been successful in discovering a cave.  So Greetings to Terry White, and may he soon be wallowing in the cooling waters of Mendip!!  Below are extracts from his letter giving a description of his tour through the Goat shelters of Palestine.

'We are stationed in a camp just outside of Haifa, and life at the moment is not too bad.  At the back of the Camp there is a small range of hills.  I have been over them many times, but up till November I have found nothing startling in the way of caves.  There are numerous small holes dotted here and there, but none of these call for a prolonged stay, for at some time or other they have been inhabited by goats, and that speaks for itself.

One cave did turn out to be a little interesting though.  The entrance of this one must have been too small for the goats to get in, for we found no traces of them whatever.  The first thirty yards we did crawling on our stomachs.  The roof then rose until we were able to stand upright.  Taking a left and then a right turn, we walked until we were brought up by a very narrow passage.  Through the passage we came to a small cavern, its floor littered with well gnawed bones, evidence that animals had once lived there.  The thought that the animal, or animals, might still be lurking in the rear of the cave, made us sweat a little more. I forgot to mention that the cave was very hot, the hottest cave I have ever been in.

In the left hand corner of the cavern was another small passage, bearing around to the left.  Continuing on through we came upon another cavern the same size as the last one, and much to our relief it was devoid of any living creatures, although there were plenty of bones to show they had been, none human, thank goodness.

Whilst in here we noticed a tight squeeze, through which we emerged to find ourselves by the entrance again. I was disappointed by the finish, but we were lucky to find a cave at all, especially in these regions. The formations in the cave surprised me, although very poor by our standards.  I did not expect to see any with such a dry climate.  I could not form an opinion as to the type of rock it was, but it looked to me to be of a volcanic nature".

The elephant or so it seems.

An elephant escaped from the Bristol Zoo last week unnoticed by the Keeper.  A woman in Clifton, who had never seen an elephant before, discovered the animal in her garden.  She rang up the police and said:- "Hello, There is a strange animal in my garden, and its pulling up all my flowers with its tail".  Is that so, Madam? Then what is it doing with them?" "You wouldn't believe me if I told you", she answered.

Adventures of the Menace. Episode 2.

Pridhamsleigh Cave. South Devon.

We started out for the cave at the ungodly hour of 0930 hours, in pouring rain.  I had been told that it was a very muddy cave, but when I saw the large clean entrance I began to doubt it, not for long, however, for it soon dwindled down to a filthy 'ole something like the upper ox-bow in Stoke Lane, and we quickly became plastered from head to foot.  On making some choice remarks about the cave in general, Squeek said "Oh, you haven’t seen anything yet, wait till you see the Deep Well".  The Deep Well was what we intended to cross, Imagine a high rift with 30ft. of water in the bottom. 21ft. long and just too wide to chimney, there you have the Deep Well.

Squeek said "Well, what do you think of it?" I Said, "Personally I don't, but you can only die once". No, I didn't fall in (pity Ed.) but by becoming a contortionist, I got safely across. From there we pressed on regardless, until we came to the so-called end, a sump, with deep water.  I was just making up my mind to dive it when Frank pointed out a hole up in the roof.  So up I went, and managed to get through to the other side of the sump.  I carried on chimneying till I found myself in a pot above another sump, with the passage clearly continuing about two feet under the water, which was about 20ft. deep.

Unfortunately as I was climbing down to get a closer look I slipped and fell head first into the water.  I thought I would freeze to death and even my language didn't warm the water up.  The bind was that I could not climb back and had to swim back through the sump. All the others could do when I surfaced was laugh.  From there we took a high level route which we found back to the Deep Well, re-crossed it and carried on to the lake. It was not bad as lakes go, and quite impressive, it is 60ft. deep in the middle.  Here accident No.2 happened.  We decided to take some photos, and trying to light the, flash powder I must have touched it directly with the candle. All I knew was that there was a loud bang and I was blind for the next half hour.

After that I staggered out behind the rest, and arrived at the surface after six hours underground.

We then strolled down through the village and were met by cries "SPIVS", from the local inhabitants, so we beat a hasty retreat to the hut.


Further List of Publications available in the BEC Library

Earlier list appeared in BB 3 & 6


Pennine Underground                            N. Thornber.
Cave Science No 2                                BSA


List of Ancient Monuments.                   H.M.S.O.


The Astronomical Horizon                      Sir J. Jeans.


Log of the Fortune                                 T Lindley
Life and explorations of Dr Livingstone
A scamper through mercie                     T.S. Hudson
The Great gold Lands of South Africa      S. Haver
S.W. Shetland
Beautiful Britain

Local Interest

History of Clifton Suspension Bridge
A Short history of Malmsbury                 N. Piddick.


Legends and Stories of Ireland
River Legends                                       R. Fargesson
Summer Time in the Country                  R. Willmott
Manual of Botany                                  P. Brown
Legs and Wings                                    T. Wood
The Common Objects-of the Sea Shore
The Fisheries of the World
Popular Scientific Recreations.
Pictorial Chronicle of the Mighty Deep


The Food of the Gods                            H.G. Wells


Editorial Notes

The Weekes' Crossword Puzzle.

The response to this Competition was not very big. Only two entries being received. Only one of these was correct, so the result reads:-

First; D.A.Coase.
Also ran ; J.D.Pain.

The prize will therefore be presented to the Winner at an early date.


The perpetrator of the above outrage, No. 1853093 Sgt. Weekes will, from 2/9/47 be referred to as Mr. Weekes, and may be found wandering on Mendip at any time. If found without a glassy look, take him to Hunters' Lodge. At all other times, push him into the Mineries.

Annual General Meeting

The A.G.M, will be held early in December. The following, being the 1947 Committee, will resign.

T.H. Stanbury. Hon.Sec.& Hon.Treas.
D.H.Hasell. Hon.Editor,Belfry Bulletin.
D.A,Coase. Hon.Equip.Officer & Hut Warden.
A.M.Innes. Hon.Librarlan.

All nominations for 1948 committee, together with any items for inclusion in the Agenda, must reach me before November 1st,1947.

T.H.Stanbury, Hon.Sec..

The Belfry

The following notice has been posted at the Belfry and members are asked to note that its terms will be strictly enforced by the Hut Warden and that any action taken by him has the full support of the Committee.

To all Members and/or all users of this hut (The Belfry).

As from this date .......... any person or persons are liable to suspension from use of the Belfry for the following offences:-

  1. Any undue noise after 10 pm.
  2. Any refuse, paper, etc, left about outside the hut.
  3. Any action that may cause Mr.Beecham or his family any inconvenience.

The above action to be taken by the Hut Warden as he thinks fit and as approved by the Committee. The length of time being varied to suit the offence.

All caving gear left about the hut will be disposed of if not claimed after 14 days.

All bunks must be tidied by the previous night's user(s) before he or she leaves.

The fee for sleeping must be paid to the Assistant Warden before leaving/unless this is impossible.


We have to thank Miss C.M. York, 9 Goldney Road, Clifton for the gift of a large number of Books ,many of which will be useful additions to the Library. A list will be published as soon as possible. Mrs Lucy for a saucepan for the Belfry. And several friends for other useful articles.

Our versatile Secretary has been doing a lot of talking. He has given two lectures recently, The first at the Crown & Dove to the Old Georgians’ Society. The second to the To H, Knowle Group, at Pengrove. Both talks were very successful, he didn't even .get the Curate's Egg.

Adventures of The Menace.


Episode one. Plymouth Caves.

The Caves in question run up from the sea under Plymouth Hoe in Limestone. They are not just Sea Caves, but caves of outlet. To reach them a boat is needed at high tide but they can be got at normally at low. We explored them at high tide, with a heavy swell running wrecking a boat in the attempt, and getting as wet as we would in Swildons.

The main Cave goes by the name of "Lions' Den", and is a high rift cave. The water remains deep about fifty feet into the cave, when a steep boulder pile slopes down into the water. There are plenty of jagged rocks just below the surface, and as charged for the boulder pile, one came through the bottom of the boat, tipping us both into the water.

Anyhow, having climbed the boulder pile we found a steeply ascending passage,(beautifully muddy) until we were brought up by a creep through rock which looked as though it would fall to bits at any time. After a brief discussion we decided to "have a bash at it".

Then, much to our horror, the roof fell in and we were nearly buried alive. As it continued to collapse, we didn’t wait for any more but bolted for the entrance. There was not much more of interest in the place except what had been some rather fine formation.

The next cave we visited was also a rift cave. (This time with a different boat which had been used to rescue us by some of our pals). It went for a considerable distance until the cave got too narrow, so I decided to get out and walk, but to my disgust, I stepped into about six feet of water, so once again we had to turn back.

The third cave also turned us back, as it was a problem for the CDG even at low tide. We didn’t try diving it, partly because the. water wasn’t warm enough, and partly because we didnt know how long the dive was.

We both returned to Barracks that night looking like cavers, plastered with mud and candle-grease, but as the Officer of the Watch had never heard of Cavers or any such phenomena, we were polishing the brass work at sunrise the next day.



It is with great pleasure that we announce the forthcoming Marriage of Miss M. Akers and Mr J.M. Tompsett at Taunton on Saturday September 20th. We wish them the very best of luck.

Caving above ground


Derbyshire caves had had to be abandoned earlier than I had hoped, and driving North through the appalling traffic of the Lancashire towns on a grilling hot weekend, I envied those left behind, the coolness of Bagshaw Cavern.

did not, I thought, abound in caves, and though I had "Boots, Caving" with me, they were intended more for rooks above ground than below it.

With no definite objects in view, the sight of "Caves" marked on the Ordnance Survey in the roods north of Dunkeld called for early investigation. With the usual perversity of the surveyors, no definite points were marked, and my search would have to cover half a square mile or so. Several hours unsatisfactory walking produced no results; the ground was rough and very wooded and good views were not to be had. Eventually, I had to give it up with no more reward than a "cove"— a largely artificial rock shelter ,well hidden by trees, apparently inhabited by a Lady Charlotte in 1704. No doubt she had been unable to scream louder than the girl in the story.

All this was unsatisfactory. The only other sign of a cave - the map called it the "Thief's Cave"—was again to vague, and too far distant to tempt me.

Loch Leven Castle, on an Island in Loch Leven, and the one time prison of Mary, Queen of Scots was not a likely place, but none the less it contains most of the more desirable features of a cave. The main chimney forms as good an aven as you could want - 40/50 ft. high and 2½ /3ft across with plenty of foot and hand holds in the rough masonry. For the more ambitious and slimmer type there was another, shorter but more difficult, it being fairly tight, perhaps 15”X12”. Since I was wearing " Clothes, Spiv" I did not try it. The remains of a spiral stair formed the basis of a neat traverse requiring caution and good balance. It led nowhere, the upper floor being non-existent, but who cared? - until it came to getting down, which I found a good deal harder than going up.

The dungeon proved that cavers did not .exist in those days. Two windows, neither showing any trace of where there might have been bars, both-provided a means of exit; one to the slimmer and more agile only, since it was a very tight hole, the other easy enough, its extra width giving just that much more room for the shoulders.

I do not pretend to prefer such trifles to Swildons', GB. or what have you, but when caves are absent, don’t despair. Compensations can be found in the most unexpected places if one can only spot them.

A Caving Quiz with particular reference to the Mendips.

By D.A.Coase

  1. Which cave on Mendip contains the Initials "T.W." cut in the wall, whereabouts in the cave is it, and what date were the initials carved?
  2. How many natural show caves in can you Name?
  3. Who named Avelines Hole, and why was it so named?
  4. with which caves do you associate the following:-
    1. Z Alley?
    2. Bames'Loop?
    3. Rumba Alley?
    4. Duck II?
    5. Coal Shute?
    6. Tie Press?
    7. The Grill?
    8. Harris's Passage.
    9. The Speliocord?
  5. The Waterfall with the biggest clear drop in is located in a cave in Yorkshire, what cave is it, and what is the approx. drop?
  6. What two caves on Mendip contain appreciable quantities of Arragonite?
  7. What knot would you normally use for tying yourself to a lifeline?
  8. Two geological terms, used in connection with the formation of caves are- "Rift" and 'Bedding Plane". Give a short definition of each, with two examples of each from Mendip Caves?
  9. What cave on Mendip was excavated by schoolboys, and what School was it?
  10. What cave do you associate the noise of "cymbals" with?
  11. What is the total depth of GB from the surface?
  12. Which cave has recently been sealed by a slab of concrete, and whereabouts is it?
  13. What are Stalagmites and Stalactites composed of chemically?
  14. Which Cave on Mendip bears most resemblance to a Yorkshire Pothole?
  15. What Mendip caves, do the following describe?:-
    1. A four legged herbivorous animal’s home?
    2. Lengthy plus fuel for the Belfry Stove?
    3. A cardinal point plus H20?
    4. The operation of putting the last part of b in the stove, plus a relation of a road?
    5. A corruption of a (generally very wet) Saint?
    6. Seen on the back of cars that have travelled abroad?
    7. Usually associated with South Sea Islands. A book on this subject is in the club Library?
    8. Sometimes kept for milk plus a building found near e?
  16. Which is generally recognised to be the biggest stalagmite on Mendip and where is it found?
  17. What was the first successful cave dig on Mendip, what year was it done in, and who was the person responsible? (By cave dig, an excavation to enter a new cave is meant not an archaeological dig).
  18. Various features in caves have been named. Starting at the entrance to Swildons Hole, and going via the Short Dry Way to Sump I, can you fill in the missing names in their correct order?
    Dry ways,
    Short Dry way
    20ft Pot,
    Barnes Loop,
    Sump One
  19. What Major Archaeological excavation is in progress at the present, and what society is undertaking it?
  20. Recently a new theory on the formation of caves has been publicised in this country. It divides the formation of caves into two sections (a) by means of a free running stream, as in Swildons, and (b) by means of solution of the rock under the water level, as in the submerged parts of Wookey Hole. These two divisions have been given the names "Vadose" and "Phreatic", but not necessarily in this order. Which word means the formation of a cave by a free running stream?

No prize is offered for a correct solution of this quiz. The answers will be published in our next issue.


Since the library lists issued with Belfry Bulletins Nos. 2 & 3, The following books have been presented to the Club Library:-


2nd Edition Mendip—The Great Cave of Wookey Hole. H.E. Balch
3rd Edition. Ditto
Fauna. CRG Publication No.1
Cave Science. No 1 BSA.


The Voyage of the Rattlesnake Huxley
Geographiocal Magazine Vol 18 Nos.9 & 11.
The Cotswolds Murray
Somerset M.Fraser.
Gloucestershire Newth.
The Happy Travellers. Tatchell.
British Ports and Harbours. Walmsley.
Rambles and walking tours in Somerset F.E.Page
Hike Tracks of the West.


Geology and Scripture. Pye Smith
Handbook of British Assoc. 1898.
Principles of Geology. Vols 1 & 2 Lyell.
History of Devonshire Scenery. Clayden.


Excavations at Sea Mills E.K.Tratman.
Handbook of British Asscc. 1898.

guide books

Dartmoor Guide
Wye Valley
The Now Forest Guide.
Ramblers Guide to Lynton and Lynmouth.


The Mechanism cf the Heavens. Olmstead
The Story of the Heavens Ball


The Story of Somersetshire. Richmond.
Marvels of Nature.
The Universe Pouchet.
Wonders of the Volcano,
Wonders of the Ice world.
The World of the Sea Tadon.
Turtons British Shells Gray.
Popular Educator. Vols 1-6.


From Earth to Moon Verne
Five weeks in a Balloon Verne
Around the world in 80 Days Verne
20,000 Leagues under the Sea Verne
Adventures of 3 Englishmen & 3 Russians Verne
Out of the silent Planet Lewis.

Besides these books a number of those presented are duplicates of those already in the library & will help to reduce the waiting time for the more popular books.

The Editor's Notes

An Apology

One of the Members has pointed out to me that in BB No 5, I promised to put in the next issue, D.A.Coase' description of the New Section of Stoke-Lane Swallet. This I failed to do; and for thus disappointing members, I most sincerely apologise. However; this article was left out because it was not sufficiently up to date, and I now await a further contribution from Don giving a full description of the cave.

Withybrook Swallet. Stoke Lane

On July 12th 1947, P.Browne and L.Browne, together with, Sam Treasure as "Engineer", succeeded in entering the upper passage of this swallet and penetrated a short distance. A sketch plan has been sent to us with the threat of dire consequences should we dare-to-publish it. As soon as Pat sends us the Pukka Gen you shall have it.

Annual General Meeting

The AGM has been moved forward, at the request of Members, to Saturday November 29th, so that Members who do not live in Bristol may use their own transport to get there. (If they have any petrol left). Any members, who have items for the Agenda send them to the Hon. Secretary by November 1st.

Notice to all who are regarded as "Forces Members"

Many of our Pre-war and wartime members who joined H.M. Forces during the war and whose Membership has therefore continued, have not been in communication with us for some time.

The Committee have therefore decided to review the position at the end of the year and eliminate all those who are no longer "Cavers" in fact or spirit. Will all those members now in the Forces please write to the Hon. Secretary before November 30th to confirm that they still wish to remain "on the Strength".

Mrs. Joan Fountain (To say nothing of the Trickle)

The following note has lately been received from Joan.

"Hi Boys! Congratulations on your new cave. I remember the place. Don’t take off that smacker. Huh! I shiver to look at it. Keep me posted, I like to hear from you all, you bet I miss the fun of Thursday evenings. Take care of Mrs. S. for me. Say hello to Stan and Jimmy Weekes. Best of luck caving. Always your friend, Joan and Trevor.

P.T. Reed

Terry Reed will not be with us for some time. He tells us that he is now at sea in a Training Ship, name unspecified, and will not be able to do any caving for quite a while.

August Hole

We have received from the Hon. Sec. of the U.B.S.S. a plan of this new discovery. This plan is available at H.Q..

Mr.& Mrs. J.H.Tompsett

Dizzie and Postle are now safely married. God bless them. I wish to put on record my admiration of their courage in leaving on the decorations so liberally supplied for "Sue" by the Fellows. WELL DONE!!

Postle's Appreciation

The Hon. Sec. has asked me to publish the following letter:-

6 Peter Street,

Dear Harry,

Dizzie and I wish to thank you very much indeed for the marvellous present from B.E.C. It's really a very useful weapon and looks very fair on the sideboard! Also many thanks for the attention Sue received from odd bods! We should have been most disappointed if she had been left untouched, and we left all of it on for the first day - in fact much of it is still on - and received varied greetings from passers-by who noticed it.

We did a very fair tour around the coasts of Devon, and Cornwall, and although we passed through Bude, we didn't have time to visit the Smugglers' Cave. However, we visited 's Cavern at Torquay, where Dizzie got a telling off from the Guide for sneaking off down an odd passage. However, we got talking and they were a damn sight more accommodating than other show caves I know! No doubt you are familiar with the place, and have possibly decided that it is not worth a visit in view of it's "walk-aroundability" but anyhow I've paved the way for a visit in speaking to the owner, Mr. Pave, who suggested that we write to him, in, say, November, the slack season, if we wish to arrange anything,

Cheerio for now, Postle.

Answers to the "Caving Quiz" in the last issue of the BB:-

  1. Lamb Leer, Cave of Falling Waters, 1894.
  2. Wookey Hole, Cox's Cave, Gough's Cave, Ingleborough or Clapham Cave, White Scar Cavern, Stump Cross Cavern, Peak Cliff Cavern, Peak Cavern, Speedwell Cavern, Blue John Mine, Poole's Cavern. Dan-yr-Ogof, Bagshawe Cavern
    (What about 's Cavern & Michelstown Caves, Don? - H.A.Ed.)
  3. Sir Boyd Dawkins, after his old Professor
  4. a. Read's Cavern, b. Swildons Hole, c. G.B., d. Swildons, e. Goatchurch, f.Sidcot Swallet, g. Wookey Hole h. Eastwater, j. Rod's Pot.
  5. Gaping Ghyll, approx 360 ft.
  6. G.B. and, Lamb Leer
  7. Bowline
  8. Rift, high and narrow, Bedding Plane, wide and low.
  9. Wookey Hole
  10. 480 ft
  11. Sidcot Swallet, and Sidcot School.
  12. Coral Cave, Compton Bishop.
  13. Calcium Carbonate, CaCO3
  14. Cow Hole.
  15. a. Lamb Leer, b. Long Wood Swallet, c. Eastwater, d. Stoke Lane Swallet, e. Swildons Hole, f. G.B. Swallet, g. Coral Cave. h. Goatchurch.
  16. The Beehive Lamb Leer.
  17. Vadose.
  18. Swildons Hole, 1901, Mr. H.E.Balch.
  19. 1. Jacob's Ladder, 2. Old Grotto, 3. Water Chamber, 4.Water Rift, 5. 40ft. Pot, 6. The Shrine, 7.Double Pot, 8. Tratman's Temple, or November 22nd Grotto.
  20. Badger Hole, Wookey Hole, Mendip Nature Research Committee

Pennine Underground: by N. Thornber

The Dalesman Publishing Co

4/6 (4/9 post free from W.W. Waterfall, 10 Sheep Street, Skipton.)

This little book (it slips easily into the pocket), contains brief information on over 350 caves and pots in Yorkshire, and 14 maps showing their location. In such a small volume the description cannot be detailed, but sufficient is given to be of great use. For each pot we are told its altitude (which can be of great use in finding it), its length and Depth. Directions, (perhaps a little on the brief side) are given for finding the entrance and the tackle required, for each pitch is detailed.

The date of the first exploration is given, and each is graded as -Easy, Moderate, Difficult, Very Difficult, Severe or Super-severe. The method of grading is a little difficult to fathom. It seems to depend to some, extent on the length of the pitches, and a tight section also sends up the grading. The severity of a pitch, however, is not necessarily proportional to its height, and a severe crawl to one man may be easy to the next.

The maps, drawn by Arthur Gemmel contain plenty of detail and are very clear despite their small size.

A really invaluable guide to a party exploring the district and a remarkable 4/6 worth.


A copy of the above Book has been ordered for the Club Library.

The Tragedy of Thomas Todd or Laugh, Drink and be Merry, for Tomorrow we go Caving.

Another Squeek from Herman has arrived and follows below:-

This is the Tale of Thomas Todd,
Who, acting rather like a clod,
Decided one fine day he'd show
That he could be a "Spelio".

Young Thomas set out now with glee,
He took his dinner and his tea
And just in case he should feel dry,
Of Ginger Beer a good supply.

He leaped upon his trusty steed,
Alas, No warnings would he heed,
And with a load of half a ton,
Looked forward to a day of fun.

The journey to the hills was tough
The heat that day, was great enough
To melt a candle in the shade,
Or cook an egg as it was laid.

But Tom at last was in the Gorge,
And up the steep hillside he forged,
Until as shown upon the map,
He saw the frightful yawning gap.

He sat for just a while to brood,
And fester up a spot of food;
Two bottles spare of pop he found,
He'd take a couple underground.

At last with ginger beer complete,
A length of rope, say twenty feet,
And in his hand a goodly light,
He started, "Gad, this hole is tight".

For half an hour or maybe more
He struggled on, the sweat did pour
From off his greatly heated brow.
The passages were tighter now.

Young Thomas strained with every bone,
And gave at last a final groan,
As realising to his dread,
He was inextricably wedged.

The ginger beer which Thomas prized,
Had now, as you might well surmise,
Become the object of this grapple,
Like the legendary apple.

Still he struggled more and faster,
Then it came, the great disaster.
With the sound of crashing thunder
Solid rock was split asunder.

Glass and bottle stoppers flew,
As like bombs the bottles blew.
Rocky splinters hummed and whizzed
The ginger beer just lay and fizzed.

The frightful echoes died at last
And in this cavern dark and vast,
Young Thomas ended mortal life
And as a ghost took up the strife.

It has bean said, it might be true,
That when the moon is bright and new,
The ghastly voice of Thomas Todd,
Is heard front underneath the sod.

The moral of this tale is clear,
Do not take caving ginger beer
You might perchance get stuck and go
To join our late friend down below.

Programme for November, December and January.

Saturday November 1st Burrington.

Sunday November 16th Longwood.

Saturday December 6th G.B

Sunday December 21st Stoke Lane (Full).

Saturday January 10th Burrington.

Sunday January 25th Eastwater.

Will all members who intend to attend these trips please notify Hon. Sec. so that he may have some idea of who to expect.

Saturday Trips have been arranged with due regard to the transport situation.

This is the First Report of the new discovery in Stoke. Lane Swallet. This will, I think, Be one of the most important on Mendip for some considerable time. The report of the "Trap Divers" will follow soon.

Stoke Lane Swallet


Browne's Passage

An exploration party from Bruton, led by myself, made an important cave discovery in Stoke Lane Swallet, one of the least known caverns on Mendip.  The members of the party were - P.M.BROWNE, D.SAGE, and J.H.UMEACH.  During the three hours of our exploration we had the luck to be the discoverers of a new and very interesting series of low tunnels and encrusted grottos, totalling about 250 feet in length.  This new system ,now known as Browne's Passage, doubles back upon the known cave and thereby introduces several very interesting hydrological problems, which I trust will be solved in the near future.

Immediately after the discovery I arranged an expedition with the Club for the following Saturday.  Accordingly the second party to enter, the extension, consisting of D.A.COASE, R.A.SETTERINGTON, and I, arrived at the little village of Stoke Lane at about 3.00pm on June 7th.

During the proceeding four days a considerable amount of rain had fallen on the surrounding land and so, on arriving at the cave mouth, we found the volume of water entering it to be far greater than it had been on the previous trip. In normal weather the entrance of the swallet is dry, or nearly so, but that day the water was thundering over the boulders and pouring into the narrow opening, and on into the darkness beyond. All being in readiness for the adventure I abandoned all thoughts of personal comfort for the following four hours and crawled into the uninviting gate to the strange world under the hills. Within a few seconds I was forming an admirable substitute for a leaky drain-pipe, with the icy water pouring up the legs of my boiler-suit and emerging by means of vents and other outlets somewhere above the knees!

A suggen step enabled us to stand in a narrow keyhole shaped passage, in which the stream foamed and boiled around our feet. Suddenly the passage widened and lowered forcing us to crawl along an arch shaped tunnel of a type very characteristic of this cavern. On the floor the stream flowed through a series of muddy, leech infested pools. At about 30 ft. from the entrance the roof rose slightly and we found ourselves on the brink of a large swiftly flowing stream, the main stream of the cavern, coming in from our right. Crawling in the water beneath a low arch we entered a long, narrow rift at the end of which was the first chamber. The murmuring river flowed through the chamber and vanished under a huge boulder at the far end. Looking back along the rift by which we entered this place we saw the lights from the rear of the party beautifully reflected from the surface of the rushing water.

Now began the discomforts of the journey. Climbing over huge blocks of limestone we left the stream and struggled upwards through a small and very muddy aperture to a steeply inclined bank of wet, glutinous mud. Below us, on the left, the stream again appeared from under a low arch. From here we had as it were the choice of two evils. One method was by following the water, the level of which was just above one's neck; and the other by what is known as the Muddy Ox-bow. I enquired whether it was to be mud or water and the unanimous reply was mud please. At the top of the slope we literally slid through the door shaped opening which gave access to a small mud grotto proceeding one of the most uncomfortable portions of the whole cave. Those who have been through the Devil's Elbow in G.B. Cave will be able to visualise a similar tunnel, entered through a choice of two holes bored through a mass of solid mud, the floor covered by a pool of stagnant water!  Dropping into the glue like mixture of mud and water I began to move forward,using my forearms as skids and my feet as barge poles, A sharp bend brought us to a long, narrow, and comparatively dry tunnel, at the far end of which I crossed the stream, which once again came rushing past from a large passage on my left, and turned to watch my companions wallowing through the mud-lined tunnel.

A short tunnel led us to the second chamber, the floor of which was strewn with largo cubical boulders. Creeping through a low arch in the opposite wall, we began one of the most painful crawls that I have ever undertaken. The floor was covered with a thick bed of sharp pebbles, over which we crawled beneath a seemingly endless series of very low creeps. At length we came to a fork in the passage. On the left an ascending tunnel led through the "Grill Chamber" to "Pat's Coffin", and on our right a roundish passage, followed by another short and painful crawl, brought us again to the main stream. From this point we, followed the rushing water for about 50 feet along a high passage, in which we noticed some exceedingly fine formations, until it again became necessary to make use of another ox-bow, the walls of this one, together with the floor and roof, being coated with crystalline formations.

In a few wore yards the main stream vanished into the wall for the last time. (Until the opening of Stoke Lane ll.) On the left we followed a small stream, which soon vanished, through a narrow fissure in the right wall, along a low tunnel at the end of which a short vertical squeeze, followed by a long sandy tunnel, brought us to a high narrow chamber, the floor of which was heaped with a pile of massive rocks cemented together with mud and stalagmite deposit. Straight ahead, a large tunnel stretched away into the gloom, and from it a small stream usually flows, to disappear on reaching the edge of the boulder pile. Some weeks ago this chamber was the scene of the new discovery, now Known as "Browne's Passage".

Climbing over the pile of boulders to the far end of the chamber, we dropped one by one through a narrow, irregularly shaped hole in the floor. Twenty feet of awkward crawling brought us to a small chamber with a pile of very unstable boulders, behind which a low tunnel led us to a high sloping grotto with excellent formations.  Following a low water-worn tunnel, from the roof of which hung a cluster of well formed straw stalactites, we suddenly found ourselves on the brink of a black and mysterious "lake", covering the floor of a low, wide chamber measuring some 15 feet across. From here we crept along a narrow, arch-shaped tunnel for a considerable distance until we were suddenly faced with the "Nutmeg Grater", a very nasty Squeeze. On the return journey we found a by-pass to this section of the tunnel, but unfortunately this offered us no greater degree of comfort than the "Nutmeg Grater" itself!

A fine series of round, water worn arches led us to another long and sometimes low tunnel, at the end of which we crawled out into a chamber called "Cairn Grotto". (The limit of the first Exploration). The grotto was about 25 feet in height, and two possible exits could be seen leading from it. One was an ascending mud tunnel giving access to a sloping mud grotto. The other was a narrow rift, in which the water was about three feet deep. Entering the latter of these two extremely uninviting passages, I dropped into the icy waters beyond a low arch called "Disappointment Duck", under which I was forced to submerge to my neck, the tunnel suddenly turned to the left and I found myself in a small chamber in which the water was about five feet deep. A short distance beyond this the walls closed in and the roof dipped below the surface of a dark and horrible pool. Spluttering and cursing, I made my way back to my two companions in "Cairn Grotto".

On the return journey we explored the remaining section of the known cave, an ascending series of tunnels terminating in a small, low chamber.

Somewhere in the vicinity of the "Nutmeg Grater" one of the party was found to be crawling up the narrow passage with what remained of his trousers hanging round his ankles!

After the journey back to the open air, which took us over an hour, we took great delight in lying in a nearby waterfall, after which we changed into warn dry clothing once more.

On Sunday June 22nd the sump at the end of "Browne's Passage was dived by D.A.Coase, T.H.Stanbury, & F.G.Balcombe. Beyond it was found over 400 ft. of cave. On June 28th and 29th D.A.Coase and other members of the B.E.C. together with myself, again dived through, and beyond, was discovered one of the largest and most beautiful caverns in the West of England. The largest chamber is about 100 feet long, 80ft.high and over 70 ft. wide.


by Llesah.

I have here a question, the Editor said,
From the Belfry one Saturday night,
I've been racking my brains and shaking my head,
But I cant got the answer quite right.

We'd been telling some tales, as we do when we're out,
And this is what puzzles my head.
Why, when “Postle" called a Boy Scout a Boy Sprout,
Did his lady friend fall out of bed?

Beyond the Cairn Chamber,

by The Editor.

First of all I must apologise for this article which must, of necessity be very sketchy. I have seen the large chambers, but as I did not intend to write this myself I kept no record of my impressions and I have left the Pukka article by D.A.Coase in Cornwall.

You will remember Pat Browne's description of the 3ft. Puddle, which is the dreaded "Trap". This is plunged rather more easily than its appearance would indicate, and beyond one enters a tunnel. about 5 ft. wide and high, with water about 2ft.deep. Down the stream we paddle until we reach the Boulder Ruckle, which is the floor of the first large chamber. From here the cave opens out into a total of 9 large chambers, some of then very beautiful.

In one of these chambers is a high scree slope which is littered with bones, some human, some animal. Some of those bones have been tentatively identified by an eminent archaeologist. There is evidence of Ox, Sheep or Goat, and Deer, (Probably Red Deer). The Human bones present are from at least two skeletons, one of an adolescent and one adult.

Leading off this chamber is the "Throne Room". This is the most beautiful Grotto I Have ever seen. It is lined with formations of all colours and dominated by two large stalagmites, one "The King" formation which is joined to the roof, and the other, ''The Queen", which is astonishingly like the statue of Queen Victoria on College Green.  Part of this chamber is a beautiful smaller Grotto, now called "Princess Elizabeth's Grotto", which has a stalagmite floor studded with clear pools filled with "Coral" formation which form a delightful contrast to the noisome water of the stream in which we have wallowed to reach this beauty. In another chamber, connected by high and low level passages to the "Bone Chamber", is an amazing curtain formation whose edge unlike the more normal curtain, is a cylindrical "carved" pillar more than 20 ft. high.

Until the end of July the termination of the new series was a trap, but early in August, Pat Browne, exploring off "Princess Elizabeth's Grotto" discovered a rift which he thought bypassed this obstacle. This was confirmed on Aug.10th.when a small party took a ladder in and carried the exploration a little further. They have almost reached the river again, but they are stopped by another small vertical.

This very short account will give members some idea of the extent of the new system.  Exploration is going forward, and we shall be starting on the work of removing the bones as soon as we have found another entrance (or exit).

The Editor's Notes - The Belfry.

We have no report from the Belfry warden for this issue, but as all active members will know, the hut has proved its worth this Summer. On August Bank Holiday, 25 bods had breakfast there. In connection with this day's work, the A.U.T.A.H.W.* has suggested that in future, should such a crowd turn out, at-meal times all members shall collect plate, knife, fork and cup from the assistant cook at the first shutter on the left, and the head cook will issue rations at the door.

From the Bristol Evening Post we cull the following:-

Exploring bravely underground,
Some members of a Club have found
By squirm an wriggle, squeeze and crawl,
The finest Mendip Caves of all,
And chief among the wondrous sights,
Are stalagmites and stalactites.
Which lackadai-sically grow
An inch each thousand years or so,
While now - of all the blooming cheek -
They're working on a five day week!

* A.U.T.A.H.W. — Acting unpaid assistant Hut harden.


We, have received some contributions for future Bulletins from a, few members and should like more. If your article has not appeared, don’t be discouraged, it will.

The Secretaries graph which is well known to members, has now reached the unprecedented length of 7ft 6ins (unfinished). In the years to come provided that any future secretary does not condemn it to use in the detail, the Editor hopes to see this monument of perseverance used as wall paper for the B.E.C. Mendip Club House.


We have lately received from this Group Publication No.1, Parts 1 & 2.  Part 1, Cave Fauna by E.A.Glennie, Part 2.Cave Fauna Preliminary List by M.Hazelton & E.A.Glennie.

Visit of French Cavers to Mendip.

A party of about 15 Frenchmen have been staying on Mendip as guests of the Wessex Cave Club. We learn from the local press that they have discovered a new Cave Animal “something like a caterpillar". Believed to be new to science.

Back Numbers

Back Numbers, when available can be collected from H.Q. for 3d.each or by post.4d. per copy.

The Mystery,

Perhaps she was trying to drop off??!!