The Bristol Exploration Club, The Belfry, Wells Rd. Priddy, Wells.  Telephone: Wells (0749) 72126

Editor: Robin Gray

From the Editor

Happy New Year...May I984 be a tremendous year for us all with successful trips, magnificent discoveries, and everyone getting their share of the action.

Well,here it is.  My first BB.  Firstly, many thanks to Bassett for the really superb job that he has done for so long and for making it easy for me to take over.  It will be a hard task for me to maintain his high standard.  At least my typing should improve!

Thanks to all of you who have provided material for this BB; I have some held over for next time, but don't let that put you off writing more.

I984 looks like being an exciting year for the B.E.C.  The new extensions to the Belfry should. make life easier but will take a lot of fund raising; something the B.E.C. have not been heavily involved in before, preferring to spend all their time caving.  That’s fine, but we can't complain if the living conditions become poor as a result.

Please have a go at my caption comp.  It seems like an easy way to raise a few pounds. Dany has asked me to draw your eye to his note about the next working weekend.....Page 3.  Many thanks to Fi for her help with the typing and please keep the articles coming in.

Cheers, good caving.


Library Additions

Collieries of Kingswood & South Gloucestershire by John Cornwall

The Caves of India & Nepal by H.Daniel Gebaur (see review)

Bulletin of the S. African Speleo; Assn. 1956-1978 (Some missing)

Many thanks to Dr. Steve Craven of SASA/CPC for these.

Cango - The story of the Cango Caves of S. Africa by SASA

Scotland Underground by Alan (Goon) Jeffreys.

Thanks to C. Batstone Esq. for donation of Descent, BB’s ,Wessex Journals etc, and to Jonathon Roberts (MCG)for a similar heap of publications.


Caption Competition For Improvement Fund

PRIZE….A signed, framed copy of this REG cartoon with your caption.

Send your captions to the Editor together with 50p per caption.  No limit on entries.  Cheques/PO to BEC.


Mendip Notes


Brian Prewer reports that on the evening of 5th Jan much of the unstable passage at the start of the Browne -Stewart series moved blocking the entire section.  Much work has gone on in this part of Reads over the last year as reported by Mark Lumley in BB420 and Descent 55.  Two cavers must count themselves lucky to be in the land of the living today as they were there when the big rocks were on the move.  It is unlikely that the series will be entered for a long time.


The farmer has requested that all cavers wishing to change before and after visiting the cave should use the barn as local residents and visitors have no wish to see your bum and various other bits and pieces.

He is aware that often large groups of novices visit the cave and this causes him some concern as he is well aware of the caves ability to flood and become dangerous.  He has no wish to put any limit on caving at present. Please shut all gates and stick to the path to and from the cave.  The Council of Southern Caving Clubs Suggests that the Burrington area is a more suitable training ground for novices and a note to this effect is to be found in the Belfry.


Only a few members turned out to lend a hand at the last working week end but a fair amount of work was done non-the-less.  There is still a considerable amount of work to be done much of which is urgent.  The next working week end will be held on the 4th and 5th of February.  Please try to come and lend a hand and let’s hope for good weather.



Job's For The Boy's

Digging Projects which NEED YOUR HELP.   Compiled by Tony Jarratt

A member recently told me that not enough information was printed in the BB about club digs.  He suggested that a list be compiled and published in the hope of maybe attracting some of the newer (and older) members into action.  All sites listed are either Official or Semi-Official Club Dig Sites and their respective FOREMEN would be pleased to see you turn out for YOUR shift!

EASTWATER (Westend Series)

A vast amount of work still needs to be done here.  A main line survey has so far been completed as far as the squeeze before Lolly Pot, there is still over 1,000 feet of side passages still to be done.  Much of this is in the first part of the extension and could be done on a midweek evening trip.  This area still has to be further explored and there is a chance of a connection to the Boulder Chamber or 380 Foot Way areas which would make the route a lot easier.

The very end of Greek Street still needs digging, but it is taking a rather large stream making progress difficult, unpleasant and potentially lethal.  With the next dry spell the dig should yield a lot more passage judging by the howling gale which is draughting out.  Water Tracing, further photography and Smoke Tests still have to be carried out. Interested parties should contact Tim Large or Tony Jarratt.

EASTWATER (Morton’s Pot)

Temporarily out of favour due to recent discoveries, work should hopefully restart soon with the help of NHASA's compressed air drilling rig.  A promising site with good potential.  Main contact Tim Large or Tony Jarratt for details.


Digging and Blasting at the end of the cave making a nice change from Eastwater - some 20 feet of low bedding passage taking a stream can be seen ahead.  Some recent problems have been experienced with CO2 build up making digging trips short.  A good midweek digging project.  Contact Tim Large or Tony Jarratt for details.


A very promising site at the very bottom of the cave, with lots of potential.  Due to ROMANCE digging has waned here in recent times so a new influx of blood is needed to keep this superb site going.  See John Watson for details.


A nice cosy dry cave just five minutes walk from Biffo's teapot (and wine bottles) will hopefully be this years winters digging project.  An ideal midweek dig with a good chance of breaking into the further reaches of Wookey Hole.  Contact Trevor Hughes for details.

Gough's Cave

Visit Mendips most luxurious dig site.  Helmets, lamps and overalls provided most freshly laundered.  Warm sheltered changing facilities with running water and hand drier - what better way to spend and evening than building sand castles, and what about playing with a model railway!  Fancy an adventure caving trip (ITS HARD, ITS DIRTY, ITS FUN).  For those with an eye to becoming a television personality the possibility is there and especially for the ladies how about Page 3 of The Wells Journal.  The dig itself is a large black hole (don't all rush) heading out into the unknown. The HARD WORK takes place on a Thursday night 6.30-9pm followed by a well earned drink in the Cliff Hotel.  Contact Tim Large or Chris Bradshaw for details.


Another temporarily lapsed site best left for a dry spell.  Contact Tony Jarratt for details.


Borrowed from NHASA a couple of years ago and now returned to them (in better condition).  Contact Brian Prewer far further details.


A new site directly above the presumed route of Swildons.  No obvious surface indications but should be excavated just in case. The area to be covered is some 20x60 feet and grass seed will be provided for those with a conservationist outlook.  For details contact Jane Thomas.


TIM LARGE, Wells, Somerset,


TREV HUGHES, Wookey Hole, Somerset

CHRIS BRADSHAW, C/O Cheddar Caves.

BRIAN PREWER, West Horrington, Nr Wells Somerset.


The 1983/4 Committee Of The Bristol Exploration Club

Hon. Secretary: Tim Large, Wells, Somerset

Hon. Treas: Jeremy Henley, Shepton Mallet, Somerset

Hut Warden: Phil Romford, Coxley, Somerset

BB Editor: Robin Gray, East Horrington, Nr Wells, Somerset

Caving Secretary:  Stu MacManus, Wells Road, Priddy Somerset. 

Hut Engineer: Dany Bradshaw, Wookey Hole, Somerset

TackleMaster: Bob Cork, Stoke St. Michael, Somerset.

Floating Member John Dukes, Shepton Mallet, Somerset.

Hut Warden Roster

As we have no full time hut warden a roster of members to do 2 weekends a year has been established. The following have agreed to help:-

Nick Holstead

John Dukes

John Turner

Ian Caldwell

John Watson

Paul Hodgson

Chris Castle

Robin Gray

Greg Villis


Brian Prewer

Dave Aubrey

Axel Knutson

Pete & Joyce Franklin

J Rat

Keith Gladman

Bucket Tilbury

Chris Smart

Jane Clarke

Trev Hughes

Nigel Taylor

Andy Lolly


Bob Cork

Danny Bradshaw

Tim Large

Chris Batstone


If your name is not on the list and your conscience allows you to volunteer please do so a.s.a.p. to me. Keeping the hut in good order is a high priority on the administrative requirements of the Club so the more volunteers the better!

J.  Henley


Hut Wardens Report I982

It must be pointed out that I took this post by default, since no other person would take the responsibility.  I made it clear that that I would accept the post on my terms and that it would not be entirely satisfactory in that I was not regularly staying at the Belfry over Weekends.  However, I did set out to improve the declining services offered.  A major concern was that the Royal Navy may move to another club for their mid week activities, thereby depriving us of considerable income. After a lot of hard work with the help of a very few, the condition of the Belfry was considerably improved resulting in the RN coming to us again and regularly.

Early in the year I fitted a new front door and look which required issuing new keys on request, about 60 have been issued since.  During my term I went into business with my own caving shop.  Unfortunately this resulted in not being able to put in the effort that I should have over the last four months.  However, I have kept up to date with the Belfry accounts as the Treasurers report shows.

Bed nights.  During the year 82-83 there were 1547 members and guest nights and 693 Navy nights; in 61-82 there were 1866 ordinary nights and 621 Navy nights.  Thus we were down by 339 ordinary nights and up by 72 Navy nights, on balance there was less income this year than last.

It is my recommendation that the new Hut Warden should be both regularly staying at the Belfry and that he should have a well developed sense of responsibility.  Members should be strongly discouraged to not use the Belfry as a Pig Sty and giving guests the wrong impression.  My thanks go to those few who have helped me through this year.

P. J. Romford
Hut Warden

Would those who have lockers in the Belfry please let me know which they have and send me the fees due. Locks on lockers unidentified at the end of March 1984 will be removed and the lockers emptied and relocked with new locks.

Large lockers round Belfry Table - 50p.

Tall lockers - £1.00.

J. Henley


University Of Bristol Paul Esser Memorial Lecture 1984

Our Lecturer for 1984 will be the canoeist, Dave Manby.  He will be describing some of the white-water canoeing expeditions that he has made, under the general title of:


This was the conclusion arrived at by a Yorkshire man on a coach tour of Austria, when he saw the canoeing party climbing up the river bank into the car park in Landeck.

Dave Manby has been canoeing since 1968, has visited the Himalayas three times, the Orinoco Naipure Rapids, British Columbia, the U.S.A. and Alberta.  In 1982 he paddled the greater part of the Coruh River in N.E. Turkey.  His British Columbia expedition in 1979 included the first British descent of the Overlander Falls, an 8 metre vertical drop on the Fraser River!  His 1983 expedition is another attempt on the Braldu River of K.2. - solo - returning in November. 

The lecture will be given at 8.15 pm. on Wednesday, 15th February, 1984 in the large physics lecture theatre, Tyndall Avenue, University of Bristol.  The Vice-Chancellor will be in the chair.

If parties coming from a distance will let me know beforehand, I can have seats reserved for them. Admission is free.  Write to Dr. Oliver Lloyd, Withey House, Withey Close West, Bristol, BS9 3SX

1st November. 1983


Darfar Pot

As I read In a recent BB that I was soon to be supplying a write up on the above find in the Manifold Valley it looks as though I'll have to cough one up.  Although I have visited Derbyshire on relatively few occasions, the secretary of the Trent Valley caving Group, who made the find, is a patient of mine.

The TVCG consists of a small core of young caving enthusiasts whose keenness and methodical approach more than makes up for their lack of experience.  They have been digging in the Manifold Valley for about 4 years and the result of their work has been a significant contribution to the knowledge of the underground drainage of the Manifold, and the excavation of a very attractively decorated dry system at Darfar Ridge.  For those curious about this Tolkienesque name-it means badger.

For those who do not know the Manifold Valley, most of the river sinks in dry weather at Wetton Mill and resurges at Ilam 4 miles away and 160 feet 1ower.  During spring and summer, as the rainfall diminishes, the river is progressively captured by a series of swallets in the river bed further and further up the valley.  It is fascinating to watch these swallets in action because they behave like bath plugholes.  The river bed is dotted in some places with little gurgling whirlpools.  In wet weather or flood these swallets act as resurgences and in fact one or two finds have been made when concrete cappings placed optimistically over swallets to stop the river drying up have been blasted off by resurging flood water!  The best known cave sites in the valley are Redhurst Swallet and the severe Ladyside Pot, both thought to be part of the same drainage system.  The resurgences have also received the attentions of a number of cave divers but have both proved dangerous and impenetrable.

Despite the fact that the Orpheus had attacked the main sink at Wetton Mill on a number of occasions (one dig in the river bed went 5 metres through boulders), the TVCG were undaunted, and after some initial poking about in the valley, began a dig just below Wetton Mill at the base of Darfar Crag, on the river bank.  They received help and encouragement from Simon Amatt, an Opheus member.  A trial trench led to the excavation of a choked entrance at river 1evel.  This was found to happily take the entire river without backing up so the diggers pressed on.  As one would expect with a dig in such a location, wet weather digging was impossible so effort was sporadic.  However, in I986, a series of tight crawls and squeezes was entered and the river reached.  Unfortunately it rose and sank in boulders and in dry weather completely disappeared. Some avens off the second chamber were briefly examined before the weather deteriorated and the cave became un-enterable again.  The cave was not then accessible until mid 1981 when in the far chamber, a rift was extended to a point where through a cleft, the dull roar of the river could be heard again.  Again bad weather and other digs meant little progress until the drought this year when the breakthrough was made.

As is often the case, the breakthrough was unexpected.  The avens were being re-examined when a previously unnoticed hole in the wall of one of them was noticed to swallow stones.  It was opened up and progress was then swift.  I am a little hazy about the exact details but it appears that a series of rifts above the Manifold streamway were entered which give access to it at various points.  The initial section reached revealed the stream roaring down a tube with little airspace.  It was so intimidating that nobody pushed it, but fortunately a bypass soon found and a 25 metre section of streamway explored to a sump.  Although short, it is apparently impressive, being a steeply inclined 5 metre wide 1.5 metre high bedding cave with a meandering phreatic tube in the roof.  The water flows into the sump with incredible force – only suicidal cave divers need apply. A possible draughting bypass to the sump is in the process of being excavated - weather permitting.  Altogether Darfar is now about 1300 feet long and 135 feet deep - one of the longest: caves in the valley.

Current work is being directed; at finding a drier route into the system.  There are one or two potential sites nearby which have already been partially excavated and I am sure diggers will not be in short supply after the recent finds.  One curious feature of the discovery is that the cave is at present going up valley instead of in the direction of the risings!  If anybody wants to know more about the TVCW’s work at Wetton Mill, contact their secretary, Steve Johnson, who lives at 27 Bracken Way, Fernwood Estate, Rugeley, Staffs.

Peter Glanvill  Oct. 83


Review……The Caves Of India & Nepal.

H. Daniel Gebauer

Obtainable from Tony Oldham; Bat Products; etc; Price £5.00.

A new publication in the style of the old Britain Underground, listing all known cave sites in the two countries.  Surveys of the larger cave and a very compreh6nsive bibliography are included, as is a report on the Speleologische Südaisen Expedition 1981/82 of which the author was a member.

Written in both English and German with one or two entertaining translation errors: - . . . ‘of course there are hundreds of bats and- an abundance of porcupine’s pricks’.

Essential reading for those with an interest in the potentially very promising karst areas of the Indian Sud-continent.


Discount Dying

In a recent article in a management journal, the Ilkestone Co-op (nr Nottingham) are giving 50% discounts on the price of a funeral if you arrange it before you die!   The offer apparently also gives the person preferential treatment and discounts at all its retail outlets.  This could mean up to 3 extra barrels at the wake!!!

Pegasus C.C. correspondent.


Merstham’s Underground Stone Quarriers

The firestone and hearthstone mines along Surrey's North Downs have, for a long time, been used as a training ground by the south east caving clubs. But it is only recently that the historical significance of the mines, or quarries as they are rightly called, has been appreciated.  The workings occur all along the base of the downs, where the narrow strip of upper greensand joins the chalk.  But it is at Kerstham where the most important in terms of industrial archaeology occur.

Most study of the industry has centred on an area known as Quarry Dean to the east of the A3. Quarry Dean lies in the small valley formed by the Downs to the north and the Rockshaw Ridge, lower down to the south.  The valley contains a series of depressions up to 30' in depth and as much as 100 yards long, lying in a fairly straight line running west to east.  These depressions are of course, the remains of old mine entrances, which have been back filled or blasted shut, and over the years have become overgrown and wooded.  Locals have little ideas of what lies below and that the south ridge is virtually hollow.

It was from those mines that much of the stone used for building London in medieval times was quarried, and for building such things as canal basins and bridges during the industrial revolution. The stone itself is a calcarcous sandstone which is found in a layer up to 40' thick at Quarry Dean.  The stone is found in varying qualities and it was known as 'Firestone', that was principally sought by the quarrymen.  The stone was largely used as a building stone, but some was used for lining furnaces and it is from this use that it gets its name of 'Firestone'.  The stone is nearest to the surface in the valley floor, and it dips away north and south under the chalk and greensand ridges.

The mines were dug along the valley at its lowest point, by sinking a sloping trench until the stone was struck.  The trench was then continued until there was a sufficient depth to enable tunnelling in the stone itself, similar to adit mining, where horizontal tunnels are driven into the hillside.

The stone was extracted on a 'broad face' and one contemporary reference of 1819 describes passages of 30' wide, though today’s explorers see little of this.  As the quarry men worked forward on their broad face they trimmed the blocks to size so that only usable stone needed to be moved.  This was known as 'scappling'.  The rubbish or 'deeds' were then stacked neatly along the walls leaving only a narrow access for hauling stone to the surface along the un-stacked wall.  In some mines, there is evidence of part finished blocks, and splitting wedges and spike hammers of varying length have been recovered.  These hammers or picks were called Maddocks or Jads or sometimes Jadders.

As the quarrymen advanced, they left pillars of rock to support the roof - a technique known as 'pillar and stall'.  In some places, deads can be found neatly stacked around these pillars giving the impression of pillars composed only of rubbish stone.  During the nineteenth century, continental miners were employed, and they insisted on using wooden props.  These had little strengthening effect and were often called 'wind ups' by local quarrymen.

The collapse of piles of deads into the passages in places gives the quarries the appearance of natural cave and this has been encouraged by low routes forced over deads by explorers. In addition to this stal formations abound in the oldest mines.  Many unspoilt areas still remain however, and there are passages which bear the foot prints of the old Quarrymen as yet untouched and it is hoped that they will continue to be preserved.  In one passage a pair of boots, left behind by a quarrier around 1750 still lie untouched, where they have collapsed but are still undisturbed.  A credit to the local cavers and historians who regularly visit the area.

The quarry's were all named and many of the original names are evocative of days gone by.  Names such as Quarry Banfield, Bedlam's Bank, and Stonefield bring pictures flooding into the imagination.  The entrances forced by today’s explorers have nothing of this magic in their names which help only to put them into order – i.e. No 3, plastic pipe or football field.

Quarry Dean is believed to date from Roman times and indeed a section of ‘Roman Arches' bears Roman characteristics in its stone brick lining.  This particular mine lies beneath 50' of tipped flyash and is now entered by concrete pipes which have an interesting deformation half way down. The bricks are in fact beautifully cut stone blocks fitting with hardly any mortar. The mine was entered by Mr Harrison who farmed at Quarry Dean.  He dug his way into the mine in 1960 and it was he who gave its contemporary name when he found the arched section.

The earliest mention so far found is a reference dated 1522 to Quarrepitden the farm house.  Since it has been known as Quarryhouse, Quarryclale, Quarrydene and Quarrydene Farm.   Merstham Manor was owned by the monks of Canterbury in 1018 but was reclaimed by Henry VIII in 1540 when he gave it to Robert Southwell.  This early church and state connection throws light on the fact that Merstham stone is to be found in Westminster Abbey and Windsor Castle.  It can also be found in the Guildhall and was used in the construction of the medieval London Bridge.  Merstham stone was used again in the new London Bridge, as infilling which was then faced with Granite.

This stone came, in all probability from Lower Quarry which was sealed in 1911 and it has so far been impossible to find a way in again.  It is thought that stone used for the rebuilding of London after the great fire, came from the massive workings known as Bedlam's Bank and from here it is possible to get into much older workings known as Quarry Ockley.  It has been suggested that stone here may have been worked for the first 500 years of the Norman Conquest.  This old section has peculiar grooves in the floor, similar to those in Roman Mineral Mines on the continent and it has been suggested that Ponies or Oxen may have been used to haul stone from here.  In more modern times flat barrows (Circa 1750) and railways (Circa 19th Cent) were used.  In many places flagged plate rails may be found inside and hidden by undergrowth outside.

Much work has been done, in sorting out the history of the Merstham Stone Quarries and much still remains to be done.  Their full extent, for instance, is still not known.  Legend abound to tantalise the explorers.  The legend that I like best concerns an underground lake with a boat that was left by the Jollifes when they surveyed the workings prior to purchase in 1788.  It might be there:

It is hoped that a weekend trip can be arranged sometime in the summer for anyone interested when it should be possible to see a great proportion of the workings and their important remains.  Anyone interested should contact Mac or myself.

Ref:  Various papers produced by Unit 2, Croyden CC and Croyden Natural History and Archaeological Society.

P.S. The Fremlins Ale is superb!

Robin Gray
January 1984


Offensive In The Ardennes


Friday 2nd December saw the invasion of the continent, once again, by the BEC.  An initial team of fifteen had dwindled to a mere six due to the problems of legally obtaining a university minibus for the transportation of uneducated drunks.  Those with the willpower and cash who remained were Mac, J'Rat, Barrie Wilton, Matt Tuck, Bob Cork and Alan Thomas - divided into two car loads.  After crossing the channel at different times on Friday we eventually met up at the Speleo Nedarland hut at Bohon near Dubuy in the Belgium Ardennes.

Unable to gain access to the hut we headed for the bars of Borveausc – expecting to meet the Dutch lads in (at least) one of them.  Meanwhile the Dutch lads were in Dubuy 1ooking for us.  Late that night we returned to the hut - full of ale and "joi de vivre" and minus the usual carrots and tomato skins.  With no Dutchmen in sight we removed a wooden window pane and attempted to get some kip in the prevailing artic conditions - only to be disturbed soon after by an even more paralytic bunch of Nederlanders.

Late Saturday morning, with blazing international hangovers, the assembled planned the days caving. Alan accompanied Peter Staal and Co on a gentle fester to the Grotte de Bohon whilst the remainder were taken to the steep swallet cave of Laide Fosse (Ugly Shaft) near Rochefort.  This cave was initially dug open by Marc Jasiniki and his team in the fifties and consists of a few hundred feet of usually dry passage on two levels.  In our delicate state we only visited the fairly well decorated upper level where all are under the impression there is more to be found.  A couple of interesting climbs and an exposed traverse were not made easier by the general lack of balance of the party.  Despite this we moved a lot easier than the Belgium novice groups infesting the cave.  It was near the entrance to Laide Fosse that a small foreign field will remain forever polluted by Matt’s gastric juices.  Too bad the electric fence was turned off!

Consciences eased we descended upon Rochefort.  While John, Fransh and Josh returned to the hut for Laurens Smits and Peter (Speleo Limburg) the BEC found the roughest cafe in town where a homely lady (Sylvie Hobbs double) turned out to be the local brothel Madame.  Following a visit to several other cafes and fritteries we returned here to meet the Dutch.  By now a regular fight was in progress amongst the locals with Mademe well in the thick of it - having forgotten all about her offer of free young ladies for the English Speleos.

With little to keep us here we were forced to take up Laurens Smits offer of an overnight caving trip.  One pub and many drinks later we were all gathered in a field, at midnight near the Grotte Le Han.  One of Europe’s most renown show caves with some 3km of tourists trails it is difficult to obtain permission to visit the several kilometres of undeveloped system beyond.  This can be solved by enveloping Laurens and Bob Cork in neoprene and persuading them to swim a hundred metres or so up the river exit from where they are able to open the show cave door.  Meanwhile the dry clad must creep past the restaurant trying to keep quiet in the foot deep frozen grass, very difficult.  Once safe inside a whole underground world is yours to play in.

We followed the tourist trail to the underground river, pausing to admire the huge underground cafe with its helium balloons and locked booze cupboards and the enormous Salle du Dome – 154m long, 136m wide and 200m from the base to summit of its underground mountain.  At the river a plastic dinghy was acquired and, like Jules Verne heroes, we embarked on a subterranean voyage across the mighty Lene to the far bank where the entrance to the Resau Sud led off.  Several hundred feet of walking and crawling passage ended in a huge boulder strewn hall with some of the finest formations in the cave - mainly tall white columns and pillars.  After some three and a half hours we returned to the entrance via the Salle du Dome, where a quick burst on the show cave lights revealed this gigantic chamber in all its glory.

The hut was reached at 5am on Sunday and sleep indulged in.  By 1pm we were inspecting another cave.  The Grotte d'Alexandre must be one of the most ideally situated caves in the world.  Leading from the back room of a caving pub with a very friendly Belgian landlord (who was a soldier in Melton Mowbray 1945!).   As we had already planned to visit another cave we left this one for another time and concentrated on the front room and beer.

Our afternoon trip was perhaps the most novel yet.  The entrance to the Resurgence Lucianne consists of a small hole ten kilometres up the inside wall of an active railway tunnel!  Keeping an eye out for passing trains and the other for passing gendarmes a large team of BEC, Speleo Nederland and Speleo Limburg climbed up the electron ladder into the system.  A series of thrutchy tubes is followed by a maze of much larger passages, cascades and streamway with well decorated chambers.  Perhaps the most memorable part of the trip being the babble of French, Flemish, Dutch, German and English as various hordes of illegally exploring cavers attempted to converse with each other.  An excellent trip, marred only by the fact that Peter Staal was not carried off by the train which hurled past him as he was climbing down the ladder!

For some this superb weekend finished with a Chinese meal in Danant - for others another nights drinking had to be endured.  In conclusion, our thanks to Peter, Janet, John, John, Fransh, Josh (Speo Nederland) and Peter Goosens and Lauren (Speleo Limburg) and to Alan Thomas for looking after us.  Over eleven cafes, five caves, one railway tunnel and some superb scenery were visited.  Roll on the next trip.

Tony Jarratt
January 1984


Mendip's Oddest Cave Entrance

Although previously noticed by others it was only on a recent Swildons trip that the writer spotted a third potential way in, almost directly above the grilled 'flood entrance’. From inside the cave it is possible to look up an aven, 15 feet high approx: and circular in form, to daylight. Though slightly too small for human passage it could be widened using a carpenter's saw as the aven is straight through the trunk of the large old tree adjacent to the blockhouse.  If passed it would add a completely natural extra 15 feet of depth to the cave though the fine crop of toadstools growing from the underground roots would be somewhat upset.


Club Trips For I984

I initially thought of producing a 12 month trip list for 1984, but no sooner had I started, when I found other events on the caving and social scene clashed with my suggested trip dates.  Oh well! What made my task even harder was that except for a few suggestions by others, the trips were my own suggestions. This I thought is NOT what it's all about so come on you club members (young and old) give me your suggestions for caving trips; the ones you'd really like to go on.  Perhaps you could even lead one of them!!

I’ve decided therefore to produce a trip list for the next six months and as you can see, cover the major caving areas within the U.K. (and Eire).  Other trips are constantly to being arranged at the Belfry and the Hunters, and trips to OFD, DYO, Rock and Fountain can be arranged at short notice.

One final word - 'CLUB EXPEDITION' (OK I know that's two!).  Bob Cork and Dany Bradshaw are looking for people to join them on their trip to Austria to continue their success in the Barengassewindschact in June/July. Response at present is slow, so come on lads and lasses, see Bob or Dany if you're interested.

Mac.  3.1.84

P.S. If you have already arranged or are intending to arrange a trip and you have spare places to fill, you can always ring me at home on Wells 74061.


Sign Here Please

A large parcel from the USA was received recently by the Librarian.  Feverishly opening it, he found three American car licence plates ( Colorado, Virginia and Wyoming) and a metal sign advertising The Chinese Physical Culture Assn; in two languages!

Our thanks to Dave 'the Skunk' Newson for these Belfry trophies - and lets hope he doesn't want us to pay for the postage.

New Locks for the Belfry

At the AGM it was decided to fit new locks to the Belfry and tackle store.  A special security lock has been purchased and this will be fitted to the front door.  The key will also open the tackle store.  Paid up members may request a key on the form below.  £2 cheque or PO should be included with your request for the key.

NAME ................................................................................................... BEC Membership No……………

ADDRESS ....................................................................................................................................................


…………………………………............................................. POST CODE …………............

I enclose cheque/PO for £2 made payable to the B.E.C.

SIGNED ………………………………………………………………….............................

B E C Caving Trips for JAN - JUNE I984





JAN 15th


JAN 28th/29th


FEB 10th-17th


FEB 12th


FEB 25th/26th




MARCH 24th/25th



APRIL 20th/23rd Easter



APRIL 20th/27th Easter week


MAY 5th



MAY 26th/28th.



JUNE 16th

Rock and Fountain


Derbyshire (Giants etc)


'A week in the Lakes'


Derbyshire (Peak Cavern)


Northern Dales (Alston)

Cliff force. Smelt Mill Beck

Caverns,& some very good mines


Yorkshire(Dowber Gill Passage, Goyden Pot (Nidderdale)


South Wales DYO, OFD, AGGIE, R&F etc


Co. Clare, Ireland


Otter Hole (Provisional).  Limited to 6 persons. 7.00 car park


Yorkshire. Various trips and show caves


Devon Prid: Bakers Pit, and Reads – hopefully