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Spin-offs

by Peter Glanvill

The following comments were prompted by features in the last 2 BB's.  First of all with regard to Wig's article on lost caves (BB Dec. 99 Vol. 50 No 12) I would suggest that the cave Trevor Knief found on Cothelstone Hill which was subsequently dug at and photographed by myself and Tony Boycott is that mentioned in 19th century writings.  The cave we found consists of a large chamber about 10 metres long and 2 metres wide the entrance of which had been obscured by a cliff fall which has now slumped into it forming a scree slope which obscures the natural height of the chamber - probably 2 metres plus.  When we dug at the end we found the remains of a clay pipe.  I know this doesn't prove habitation but does suggest the cave has been open in the past.  The size of the cave suggests extensions may be possible and there are choked side passages but they would need quite a bit of digging.

Elsewhere on the Quantocks we have Dodington House Cave.  I have visited the area and you can see the engine house in a field - a little piece of Cornish landscape on the Quantocks.  Of more interest is that Nick Chipchase's research revealed that the mine was closed but mothballed and the shafts capped.  The adits remained but have all slumped in except for one.  This opens into a lane in the Dodington area and is invisible to the casual eye.  Unfortunately this low drainage adit was bisected by a brick lined water extraction shaft.  This presented an obstacle to exploration up the adit until local cavers chiselled away a course of bricks either side of the shaft to enable progress upstream. Unfortunately when the site was visited in 1987 the diggers were chagrined to find after another 5 metres that some of the stone lintels roofing the adit where it ran under the field above had collapsed blocking the way on.  Further digging just produced more collapse.  This would be an ideal site for a Hymac dig at the point in the field where the adit enters solid rock and would allow access to a perfectly preserved mine (and the cave of course).  Nobody has visited the site for 13 years.  If you want to know more contact me or Nick Chipchase.

See - Men and Mining on the Quantocks by J.R. Hamilton and J.F. Lawrence 1970

Beer Caves

Rob is to be congratulated on re-inventing the wheel with regard to the caves at Beer.  These were originally mapped, listed and surveyed and the descriptions published by Chris Proctor in The Caves of East Devon. The cover has a nice drawing by the author of the largest cave.  I have got photos of some of them but cannot find them at present!  I did try to match up all the names but Chris has listed more than Rob and the grid refs are more detailed.  He lists over 40 caves, the longest of which is known as the Hall and runs through the point north of Beer Head.  Another cave nearer Beer Beach is known as Tooth Cave and has about 67 metres of passage with several levels.  I strongly recommend visitors check tide times before having a look here.  It is possible to traverse the entire distance from Beer Beach to the Hooken Beach (the beach below the Hooken Landslip) on a low spring tide and then walk back over the top of the cliffs.  Visit on a falling tide for obvious reasons.

Finally, on the next page, for those looking for curiosities take a look at the adit running off the beach just to the east of Sidmouth.  It lies about 100 metres along the beach from the river mouth and may be obscured by cliff falls.  The tunnel was driven from somewhere inland reasons unknown.  The entrance to the adit was visited in February 98 and at that time there was an easily negotiable grille over it.  You will probably find notices telling you not to use the beach if you go there.  I haven't been down the adit - the fact that it is in red marl is just a teensy off putting but it is down for a 'nothing to do on a wet day' visit some time.


Sidmouth Adit


Looking out of Sidmouth Adit

Snippets

From a Belgian magazine given to J’rat detailing articles on Priddy Green Sink.

Het beste uit andere tijdschriften

Doorsteek Priddy Green – Swildons Hole.

Vincent Coessens vertaaide voor u dit artikel met de ‘officielle’ versie van deze doorsteekm vorsachen in de ”Belfry Bulletin”  Het is zowat het meest scabbreuze dat ooit ib Spelerpes vewrscheen.  Lees ouk het virige artikel en heb medelijen met de Belgische speleo’s die zich lieten meeslepan.

The best from other magazines

Through trip Priddy green – Swildons Hole

Vincent Coessens translated the official version of the explorations that led to the through trip from BEC’s  Belfry Bulletin.  One of the darkest tales Sperliepes ever published .  Have a look at the previous article and feel sorry for everyone who has ever been there!

Flash sur les autres revues

Traversee Priddy green – Swildons Hole.

Vincent Coessens a traduit pour vous cet article qui est la version officielle de cette traverse.  C’est vle texto le plus scabreux ayant jamias paru dans la Spelerpes.  Lisez aussi l’article precedent et ayez pitie de ces pauvres speleos beiges qui vse sont fait savoir.