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Fairy Cave Quarry Caves - Stoke St Michael, Mendip

By Brian Prewer

After being closed for over a decade, the three most spectacular caves in Fairy Cave Quarry has been reopened to cavers.

Lengthy negotiations between the quarry owners, English Nature and a newly formed management committee have finally been concluded with a management plan being put into place with the agreement of all parties.

Due to the fragile nature of the three caves, Shatter, Withyhill and W/L, access will only be open to bona fide caving clubs by writing to the committee.  Party size is limited and no novices are allowed.  For the three caves named above a leadership system is in place.  A trip fee of £1 per person will be charged to cover maintenance and general conservation. Full details will be given when applying for a leader.

Shatter, Withyhill and W/L have long been considered amongst the finest stalactite caves in the UK. Shatter is over 1000m in length, containing many beautifully decorated chambers and grottoes whilst Withyhill, although shorter at 700m, is equally well decorated.  W/L is shorter again at 150m and contains some unusual crystal formations. None of the caves is in any way physically demanding and are regarded as a photographer's paradise.

Great care is needed in all these caves to protect their unique nature and for this reason tight access controls are required.

Other caves in Fairy Cave Quarry may be visited with permission from the management committee but without the need of a leader.  It is hoped that all the necessary work of re-taping and clearing entrances will be completed soon.

For further information write to the Fairy Caves Management Committee at "Bryscombe", The Quarries, New Road, Draycott, Somerset, BS27 3SG

On behalf of the FCQ Management Committee.

21 June, 1999

(Also printed in the Craven Record)

 

Elephants Trunk Chamber, Withyhill Swallet