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Hutton Discoveries

Nick Harding and Nick Richards

Gallery Pit Cave

NGR  36035816

During perhaps the hottest week on record the seaside representatives of the BEC made a breakthrough into a small cave, Gallery Pit Cave. Back in the early 70’s Chris Richards and his dig team opened a number of pits in the area on their quest for the lost Hutton Cavern. One of the pits they named but did not open was titled Gallery Pit as the assumption was made that it connected below ground with a gallery they had discovered. The aim was to re-open one of the most likely pits and begin where the previous digs had stopped. On checking this all out with Chris Richards Esq.’ it turned out that this cave was new to everyone.

As it was over the course of numerous sessions of digging we opened up what we thought was a previous dig location but it turned out to be nothing of the sort. We came down on a small bedding chamber with a dip of 55 degrees but round a corner we opened up a steep shaft blocked with boulders from which a strong cool draught was issuing. Realising this was not what we were after we left that location, blocked the entrance (we’re going back there to empty the shaft at some point in the future) and moved on.


Entrance to Gallery Pit Cave

In the passing of the long years memories had faded a bit and opening what we though was the original shaft into the most comprehensive of the systems that C. Richards esq. had discovered and re-directed us to proved once more not to be what we were after. But the cave gods smiled upon us. Several digging sessions later we found ourselves looking into a void. Slipping down a steep slope beneath a perilous slab of creaking rock we found ourselves in a cave complete with walls of deads. We had assumed that this was the ‘gallery’ that the previous diggers had named and that we had re-entered the system described by Richards senior. As it happened it proved to be a new hole with bedding dipping to the west.

On recently re-opening what we thought to be another one of Chris Richards’ digs from the early 70’s some ten yards from Gallery Pit Cave i.e. Blind Pit, we have discovered that the bedding is now dipping more to the south – some interesting geology. Blind Pit has been shut down and the actual location of May Tree Pit – the entrance we were actually looking for has been verified by the landowner who was orbiting the original digs back in the 70’s. We are now in the process of opening that one which will take a while as a large amount of building waste has been dumped in the pit mouth.  The aim being to get back into the system and push a choke.   On September the 24th we re-opened the May Tree Pit Cave – a report in the next BB.

Nick R looking a little possessed in the entrance to Gallery Pit.

Richards in the easy squeeze in the floor.

For safety the cave entrance has been closed up. We may very well return at a later date to examine this cave a little more as the draught issuing from somewhere was cool and fairly strong. Piles of deads and miner’s walls may block a passage or two.

Survey of Gallery Pit Cave. The entrance is upper left.

A plan of the general area – For Hutton Ochre Cave read   Hutton Wood Mine.

Above is a general plan of the pits themselves.