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This Report has been compiled with the assistance of the following Leaders for St. Cuthbert's Swallet:-

M. J. Baker D. G. Ford M. J. Petty
R. Bennett P. M. Giles B. E. Prewer
J. A. Eatough R. S. ;King R. J. Roberts
B. M. Ellis C. A. Marriott R. D. Stenner
C. P. Falshaw M. Palmer E. J. Waddon

Acknowledgement is made of the assistance given by everyone asked, in particular the following who contributed the sections following their names: - R. Bennett (Rocky Boulder mad Coral Series) D. Ford (Geology and Formation of the Cave) P.M. Giles (References to the B.B.) and R. King (Maypole Series).     The photographs of formations in the September Series are by B. J. Prewer, end those of the St. Cuthbert's depression by J. Eatough.

Another Caving Report is published with this one. "A Preliminary Survey Plan of St.  Cuthbert's Swallet" and contains most complete and most accurate survey of the cave yet.

CR7-1

 

EDITOR’S NOTE

This Report is NOT intended as a supplement to Caving Report No.2, "A Preliminary Report on St. Cuthbert's Swallet".  That Report proved to be very popular with the result that it went out of print and it was de­cided that it would be better to bring the manuscript up to date and issue it as a new Report, rather then re-issue the original.

This Report has been compiled from Caving Report No.2, articles app­earing in the "Belfry Bulletin" and notes provided by members of the Bristol exploration Club.  The manuscript was then shown to as many of the "auth­orised leaders" for the cave as possible and comments invited.  These comments were then incorporated in the Report.

An impression that will probably be gained by the reader of this Report is that every nook and cranny in the cave has a name.  At a meeting of the Leaders held during November 1961 it was agreed that in the past naming had been too prolific.  However, it was felt that the confusion would be oven worse if some of the names wore dropped in this Report.  Therefore all the old names have been kept and in two instances names have been standardised - Cascade Passage is incorrect and the correct name is the Railway Tunnel, and in the September Series it is Victory, and not Victoria, Passage.  It is hoped that the discoverers of future extensions will be more conservative with their naming.

A survey is not included in this Report but the frontispiece is a' diagrammatic ''route plan'' of the type drawn by S.J.  Collins for the "Belfry Bulletin" in 1959.  It does show the usual routes through the cave and should enable the reader to follow the text.

B. M.  Ellis. December 1961.

GENERAL INTRODUCTION.

1.       Situation and Access.

St. Cuthbert's Swallet is situated in Priddy, Somerset; the National Grid Reference of the entrance being 3T/543505.

The entrance is at the base of a low cliff at the southern end of the largo depression to the west of the ruins of St.  Cuthbert' s Leadworks.  From the "Belfry" take the well worn path, which leads to the mineries pool, for 100 yards.  Turning right a track crosses the Ladywell stream and descends into the largo depression already mentioned.

The cave entrance is locked and the regulations regarding access are strictly observed; details are given in Appendix I.

2.       Discovery.

The cave was discovered by the Bristol Exploration Club in September 1953.  A short history of the discovery and original exploration of the cave will be found in a later section.

3.     Principal Features of the Cave.

The cave entrance is 783 feet above sea level and the survey shows the depth of the cave to be 400 foot.  The total length of cave passage surveyed to December 1961 is approximately 5,000 feet and it is estimated that there are a further 4,000 foot to be surveyed.

Without any doubt this cave is the most complex yet discovered on Mendip; a glance at the frontispiece will show the large number of inter­connecting passages that exist.  A section of the cave shows three distinct parts.  To begin with, the cave descends at a steep gradient.  In the short section from the entrance to the bottom of Pulpit and Ledge Pitches there is a drop of 150 feet and the cave is mainly vertical.  The Maypole Series can be regarded as part of this section.  From the bottom of the two pitches the cave drops fairly steeply for two hundred feet until the Main Stream is reached.  These two sections contain most of the ladder pitches in the cave.  The remainder of the cave forms a third section and falls only fifty feet to the Duck.  This section consists of a gently graded stream passage occupying the lowest part of a complicated system of passages and chambers at various levels.  The largest chambers and most of the stalagmite formations occur in this section.   Several small trib­utary streams are met but most of the section is inactive.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE CAVE.

For convenience the cave has been divided into two sections; these are listed in the Table of Contents and the approximate area of each is shown by shading on the Frontispiece.  In places the division of the sections must be arbitrary but it has been made as logical as possible to enable the reader to obtain the best overall picture of the cave.  First the two routes through the upper series of the cave are described, foll­owed by the lower and middle series, it being easier to describe thorn in this slightly illogical order.  Then the "side" series such as the Rabbit Warren, Maypole and September Series, are described.

1.     The Old Route.

The OLD ENTRANCE SHAFT is a fifteen feat deep shaft through clay leading to a small horizontal passage into the rock face.  To the left, a tight squeeze leads to OCHRE RIFT which can be descended and traversed for about twenty five feet down dip to a small grotto.   As the name suggests, the walls, floor and roof in Ochre Rift are ochre coloured.  The start of the rift is awkward and a twenty foot hand line is useful.  The grotto contains some very white stalagmite stumps.  To the right at the bottom of the Entrance Shaft a narrow beading plane leads off, a ten foot vertical drop follows and a small chamber is entered.  A tight passage from the top of this chamber leads to the bottom of the NEW ENTRANCE SHAFT, a fifteen foot shaft through clay that is shored with concrete pipes.  The floor of the chamber falls away in a ladder pitch, the ENTRANCE PITCH.  This is a narrow rift that was only 6½ inches wide at one point when first descended but which has since been enlarged to ten inches.  Sometimes water is met a few feet down the pitch and under very wet conditions water also enters at the top; the pitch is then impassable to a tired or inexperienced party.

At the bottom of the pitch the passage descends a slope and through a large pile of boulders where chert may be seen projecting from the rock.  The character of the cave at this point resembles the Boulder Ruckle in Eastwater.  A notable feature is the presence of many ochre deposits; stalactites having ochre centres and calcite on the surface being found.  High or low level routes lead to the chamber at the top of ARETE. PITCH, the floor of which is composed of jammed boulders and these can be seen as one descends the ladder.  ARETE PITCH is twenty feet and. the landing is on the edge of a large rectangular block - the ARETE.  At the northern end of the chamber at the bottom of the pitch, ARETE CHAMBER, a passage leads to PULPIT PITCH and the NEW ROUTE; these are described in Section 2.

The OLD ROUTE is reached by dropping through the floor of ARETE CHAMBER.  A low passage is followed for a few feet, that ends at the UPPER LEDGE PITCH, a ten foot drop on to a ledge overlooking a high rift.

From this ledge the LOWER LEDGE PITCH gives access to the bottom of the rift via a fifteen foot drop.  At this point a stream enters fifteen feet up the right hand wall so that it is best to pass on quickly.  The stream way here is of generous proportions, about sixty feet high for some twenty foot, then two right angle bonds occur and the passage alters character.  Another rift is entered, the WIRE RIFT - between one and two feet wide and descend­ing steeply with the dip, the stream cutting deeply into the shale beds.  The roof rises and some stalactites can be seen high on the left-hand wall.  The passage continues for thirty foot, then dips steeply into WATERFALL PITCH.  A traverse above a metal ladder across the top of this pitch leads to a platform and from here the pitch can be descended.  Beyond the head of Waterfall Pitch the Wire Rift continues but becomes very narrow.   A squeeze over a chocked boulder leads to a dividing of the ways: to the left a very narrow bedding plane loads downwards but soon becomes too tight to follow, to the right a meandering stream passage continues.  After a further fifteen foot the passage opens out into a large chamber - UPPER MUD HALL.  The UPPER MUD HALL PITCH, a fifteen foot drop, gives access to the floor of this chamber.

If the twenty foot WATERFALL PITCH is descended, twenty foot of passage leads to the top of WET PITCH - a fifteen foot drop in the stream.  Leav­ing the stream, a short climb straight ahead leads to MUD HALL, whilst on the left a mud covered bedding plane loads to STREAM PASSAGE on the NEW ROUTE.

2.      The New Route.

At the northern end of ARETE CHAMBER, small drop loads to, PULPIT PASSAGE, water from a small passage in the roof being the start of the New Route stream.  It is interesting to note the distribution of water between the old and now route streams, the removal of one rock would lead to the diversion of the old route water into Pulpit Passage.  During the excessively wet summer of 1954 the new route stream was deepened by two foot in this passage.

The head of PULPIT PITCH is reached after less then a hundred feet.  Vertically above the pitch is a stalactite curtain with the corresponding conical stalagmite a few feet down.  The pitch is sixty feet deep and is laddered from a convenient ledge on the right, care being needed when placing the ladder.  The ladder lies against rock for a few feet then hangs between the wall and a rock flake; this is an awkward spot when ascending the pitch as the ladder has to be left and the flake negotiated from the outside.  The alternative is to hang the ladder straight down the pitch but it then hangs in the stream and one gets extremely wet!  Thirty five foot down the pitch a ledge is reached, then a traverse along this to the left and a drop of several foot gives access to the PULPIT.  A long stride round the wall, a scramble down and the bottom is reached.  The rift narrows to a few foot and the stream flows over one small drop after another to the top of GOUR PASSAGE PITCH, a drop of fifteen feet.

At the bottom of this pitch another drop of eight feet loads to GOUR PASSAGE.  Brown stalagmite gours bridge the stream and are up to two foot wide and five foot high, the pools being silted up with mud and gravel.  They are coated with a brown deposit containing a large amount of manganese, the deposits probably being pyrolusite.  Some eight to ten gours occur in the next hundred foot of passage.  Halfway down this section, two tributary passages enter opposite one another.  To the left a steeply ascending passage can be followed for about two hundred feet and cuts deeply into shale beds.  It is interesting to note that as soon as this passage roaches solid limestone it rises vertically in a well shaped pot hole which, with the aid of a maypole, has been ascended for fifty foot; it then becomes too tight.

On the other side of the main stream passage the tributary passage enters a narrow bedding plane that extends as far as the bottom of the WET PITCH.  The passage is a very tight crawl over eroded stalagmite flow.  A little further on down the main stream way another tributary enters via the loft hand wall, this is the DRINKING FOUNTAIN.  This tributary, like the one just mentioned, can be for followed for about two hundred feet.  Proceeding downstream an awkward eight foot drop has to be negotiated where severe folding of the rock has occurred; in one place the strata, being vertical.

On the right below the drop a short climb loads to a bedding plane and MUD HALL.  A short distance further downstream is the WATER SHUTE, a 45° slope following the strata and having only poor hand and foot holds but the climb is made easier by a fixed chain.  An alternative route to the right of the Water Shute is mud covered and is not recommended.  Looking upwards from below, the Water Shute presents an impressive picture with a second, higher arch contributing to the scene.  From this point the general gradient of the STREAM PASSAGE is nearly horizontal except in a few isolated places.  There are several passages entering the roof in this section of the cave and with the aid of a maypole these have been explored but none wore found to lead for any distance.

A few yards   downstream from the Water Shute the Old Route Stream cascades down the right hand wall, and a little further on a passage from MUD HALL enters on the same side.  By following the stream across several pools and a deep mud patch, TRAVERSE CHAMBER is reached.  This is almost circular, up to fifty foot high, with a small waterfall falling twenty five foot on to a gravel floor from a passage high up in the left hand wall.  This water is the continuation of the stream that flows through the MAYPOLE SERIES and is described in section 8.  In this chamber an altimeter gave a depth of three hundred foot below the entrance and this figure has been, confirmed by survey.  The passage roof drops rapidly beyond the chamber and in a few yards the FIRST CHOKE is reached, the roof then being at water level.

A small passage in the loft hand wall (facing downstream) of TRAVERSE CHAMBER leads to a short series of "oxbow-type" drainpipes which give access to a bedding piano and leads back upstream.  The passage rises to about forty foot above the stream and at this level it is possible to cross over the stream by a series of jammed boulders.  After crossing the stream a complex system of muddy passages can be entered, those to the south loading to the Traverse Chamber bedding piano and Bypass Passage.

3.      The Lower Series.

From TRAVERSE CHAMBER a false bedding plane on the right (facing downstream) can be entered via an awkward ledge - THE TRAVERSE.   Another way into this bedding piano is to climb out of the stream just before Traverse Chamber is reached.  Hear the top of the bedding plane, on the left, a passage can be entered which leads to the ROCKY BOULDER SERIES that are described in section 9.  About forty feet up the bedding plane, also on the left, a small hole loads to a squeeze through boulders and a short drop into BYPASS PASSAGE.  Just beyond a six foot drop the roof lifts and SENTRY PASSAGE can be seen fifteen foot up the wall to the left.  This loads to UPPER TRAVERSE CHAMBER and can be entered by a climb just above the six foot drop.   Continuing down Bypass Passage for a little way a short drop leads back to the MAIN STREAM.

Progress upstream is only possible for a short distance as the roof drops rapidly to meet the level mud floor and the meandering stream at the lower side of the FIRST CHOKE.  The very high rift continues down dip for several hundred foot, the floor being nearly horizontal and rising through the rock beds which lie at about 50°.  In one place chert projects into the passage and at several places stalagmite flow, generally covered in. mud, covers the walls.  At the end of this section a six foot climb up to a ledge on the right, by some white stalagmite flow,  gives access to EVER­EST PASSAGE and the MIDDLE SERIES described in section.4.

The whole character of the STREAM PASSAGE now alters abruptly.  The system shows well rounded passages containing the remnants of a fill mainly composed of sand, carboniferous limestone and red sandstone pebbles.  A dig that was attempted a few feet upstream of the Dining Room entrance showed that the bed rock was about eight feet below the general stream level.

For a short distance the stream is lost, the way lying past a six feet long slab of rock above a small pit where the stream is visible, then, down a drop back to the stream.  Various openings high on the left hand side, up dip, lead to the RABBIT WARREN.  At one point it is necessary to crawl under the remnants of a gravel fill.  This may be avoided by a six foot climb to the left into a well developed meander passage.  The STREAM PASS­AGE continues along a horizontal floor, round several bends with the stream meandering from side to side.  On the left a steep, muddy, upwards slope gives access to the RABBIT WARREN, and twenty feet further downstream a low opening on the right under a brown stalagmite flow leads to the DINING ROOM.  Another fifty foot downstream, the water drops down a narrow slot between the right hand wall and a flow of stalagmite.  The slot is impassable but con be bypassed by climbing over the top of the stalagmite bank on the left to the top of STALAGMITE PITCH.  Two fixed hand lines have boon placed on this pitch and a ladder is no longer required.  This pitch leads, into a well formed pot hole, now covered with stalagmite.  The stream continues over some silted gours and then a squeeze gives rise to a sharp left turn in the passage.  The STREAM PASSAGE now continues for one hundred and fifty foot in a straight line and consists of an enlarged bedding plane at 30°.  The whole of the passage is mud covered and is known as SEWER PASSAGE.  This bedding plane continues up dip for eighty foot before widening out and joining the lower end of the RABBIT WARREN.

At the end of SEWER PASSAGE a sharp right turn occurs and a tributary stream enters on the left.  This tributary, which carries more water than the Main Stream, was named PLANTATION STREAM because the only known swallet in the locality, of sufficient size, was Plantation Swallet.  However, it was not until July 1961 that the connection between Plantation Swallet and Plantation Stream was proved.  (Details will be found in the "Belfry Bulletin", No.  166.)  PLANTATION STREAM can be followed for about fifty foot at which point it can be seen to issue through a number of holes in a stalagmite bank.   The same stream is also met further upstream in the RABBIT WARREN and in the SEPTEMBER SERIES.

Returning to the MAIN STREAM, after PLANTATION JUNCTION the stream way assumes, a more rift-like nature and continues over a gravel bed for fifty foot.  The stream way then becomes blocked, by a stalagmite flow.  A climb over this by the side of a fine stalagmite flow and a small crystal pool, leads to a drop back to the stream.  The roof of the stream passage at this point is of gravel cemented with stalagmite.  A low crawl in the stream, or a climb to the right over a stalagmite bank, leads to BEEHIVE CHAMBER.  A largo orange coloured beehive formation gives the chamber its name.  High in the wall behind the BEEHIVE, an awkward climb lends to a narrow system of passages known as the PYROLUSITE SERIES which contains large amounts of this deposit.  A small stream runs through the system, entering high in the roof of a rift passage but it is impossible to follow it.  Down­stream it disappears, through a small hole and it is believed to be the stream that runs into the gours in GOUR HALL.

From BEEHIVE CHAMBER a steep climb, assisted by a fixed chain, over a stalagmite flow loads into GOUR HALL.  The most noticeable feature is the size since it is the largest chamber on the active stream route.  At the point of entry the roof is sixty foot high and the width of the chamber as about twenty foot.  On the right a stalactite flow descends over a ton foot vertical face into the GREAT GOUR.  This measures eighteen feet by twelve and is filled with water to a depth of six to nine inches, below which at is filled with mud.  Standing on the Great Gour and looking downstream the stream can be soon to emerge from under a series of subsidiary gours.  The stream can be followed from BEEHIVE CHAMBER along a low wet crawl to this point, the crawl containing a surprisingly large amount of stalactite.

Access to the stream is gained by climbing down the side of the Great Gour and again a fixed hand line makes the climb easier.  The stream passage remains high for the next one hundred foot but gradually becomes narrower, finally ending at what appears on first sight to be a formidable looking sump on the right of the passage.  It seems to a stagnant pool but closer examination shows that the stream runs off at an angle to the right.

The sump was first passed by D.A. Coase and J. Buxton on 9th June 1957, and work with a crowbar and shovel on the far side resulted in lowering the water level by three inches, sufficient to cause the sump to become a DUCK.  At the far side of the DUCK a small passage, which is half full of water goes off at 45° to the right.  After eight foot a tight squeeze over a stalagmite bank, or a second duck, must be passed but then' the passage becomes higher.  The passage swings to the left and a short crawl under a low arch follows with the stream spread out over gravel.  The roof rises again to comfortable standing height; the passage turns left again and be­comes reasonably straight with the stream disappearing at the far end in a SUMP.  The gravel floor will have to be dug out if divers are going to penetrate any further.  Several short high level tubes between the Duck and the Sump have been investigated but none wore found to lead far.

There is a short continuation of the MAIN STREAM PASSAGE for about ten feet at the DUCK but this soon becomes too tight for further penetration.  Avertical wall of shale can be soon six feet ahead of the furthest point reached.  The rift above this point can be climbed for some way to the BANK GRILL and a passage has been entered some thirty feet up and followed for sixty feet when it becomes too narrow.

4.       The Middle Series

UPPER MUD HALL is usually entered by descending UPPER MUD HALL PITCH from the WIRE RIFT.  The floor of the chamber consists of piled boulders.  Behind the ladder a drop leads to MUD HALL from which there are several passages.  A hole at the bottom of the left hand wall leads to the bottom of WET PITCH and d muddy bedding plane leading to the NEW ROUTE between the DRINKING FOUNTAIN   and the WATER SHUTE.  There are two holes amongst the boulders forming the floor of the chamber, one leads into the ROCKY BOULDER SERIES (see section 9) andthe other to the Old Route Stream.   A rocky passage from MUD HALL leads to a twenty foot pitch, the MUD HALL PITCH, which drops into the MAIN STREAM below the WATER SHUTE.  There is also a connection between MUD HALL and the passage loading from PILLAR CHAMBER to BOULDER CHAMBER,

PILLAR CHAMBER is entered by ascending the boulders in UPPER MUD HALL and is "L" shaped and about ten feet high.  There is evidence of consid­erable rock movement; broken formations lie everywhere and some have been cemented to the floor by a further deposit.  Fractured pillars that have since rejoined may also be seen.  As a result the area has been named the STALACTITE GRAVEYARD.  PILLAR CHAMBER is so-called because of the substantial column one foot in diameter that is to be seen on the right of the chamber.  The pillar has been fractured a few inches above its base and, unfortunately, is a dirty brown colour.  By squeezing past some finer pillars behind the large one, an extension may be reached.  This region is a boulder ruckle and gives the impression of being near the sur­face.  A molar of Elephas has been found here (see section later in this Report).

An awkward ten foot drop in the corner of PILLAR CHAMBER leads into another chamber containing some good floor deposits.  A steeply descend­ing boulder slope from this chamber leads to a right angle turn in the passage.  The passage now has a sandy floor and is about fifty feet in height.  A narrow squeeze between a suspended boulder and the rock face on the right leads to the top of BOULDER CHAMBER.  This chamber varies in height from eight to twenty feet, is irregular in outline and slopes down dip for over one hundred feet.  The floor is boulder covered and to the right of the entrance is a prominent cracked corner of rock.  This is known as QUARRY CORNER, is potentially dangerous and should be treated, with due respect.  There are a number of routes from BOULDER CHAMBER.

To the left of the BOULDER CHAMBER a traverse past a large boulder known as KANCHENJUNGA,  leads after a hundred feet to UPPER TRAVERSE CHAMBER.  This has a fine stalactite flow with a very good crystal pool on its lower slopes.  A further fifteen foot drop from this point loads to an active stream which, if followed downstream, leads to the top of the twenty five foot TRAVERSE CHAMBER PITCH into TRAVERSE CHAMBER on the NEW ROUTE.  The stream can also be followed upstream, this section of the cave being known as the MAYPOLE SERIES.

To the right of the drop to the stream way in UPPER TRAVERSE CHAMBER is a steep boulder slope.  If this is climbed HIGH CHAMBER is reached.  This is a very high rift chamber about twenty feet wide and even with the aid of "imported" rock climbers using climbing techniques the roof has not been reached.  It is estimated that they climbed to a height over one hundred feet to a small chamber.  One wall of the chamber is covered by a fine calcite flow rivalling even that in Cascade Chamber, while the roof could not be seen even with powerful electric torches.  There is a continuation passage on the right of HIGH CHAMBER that leads to a low but extensive bedding plane.  At the highest point of this bedding plane, behind some formations, is a squeeze leading to the SEPTEMBER and CATGUT SERIES.

It is possible to climb down the boulders of UPPER TRAVERSE CHAM­BER end in the floor is a hole leading to SENTRY PASSAGE.  A six foot drop below some orange curtains leads, to a fifteen foot climb down, through boulders.  The passage descends rapidly with squeezes and pot­holes.  A projecting flake of rock, the SENTRY, is reached and a fifteen foot drop then leads to BYPASS PASSAGE.  This is part of the LOWER SERIES.

On the left hand wall above the drop in UPPER TRAVERSE CHAMBER is a chimney which has been maypoled for approximately sixty feet.  The maypoling was not pushed to a satisfactory conclusion through lack of suffic­ient equipment.

At the lower end of the chamber an opening above a three foot high bank is the start of HAREM PASSAGE, a narrow passage leading to the RAILWAY TUNNEL.  Turning to the right along the RAILWAY TUNNEL brings one to CASCADE CHAMBER and the bottom of the CASCADE.  Turning to the left at the bottom of HAREM PASSAGE, the end of the RAILWAY TUNNEL is reached in a few feet but on the right, on either side of a curtain, are two passages.  The first leads down to the FINGERS and EVEREST PASSAGE and the second is one of the numerous entrances to the RABBIT WARREN.

To the left of HAREM PASSAGE, in UPPER TRAVERSE CHAMBER, is another passage that can be followed for approximately forty foot to a muddy patch.  Crawling through this pitch brings one to the bottom of a rift that can be climbed for ten feet to a very tight crawl.  To the right of HAREM PASSAGE, UPPER TRAVERSE CHAMBER continues into a boulder mass and by keeping to the right it is possible to roach the bottom of BOULDER CHAMBER, below the VANTAGE POINT.

Returning to the top of BOULDER CHAMBER, a route goes down dip to CASCADE CHAMBER.  The route is rather indefinite but keeping, to the left and descending, the roof becomes lower and some erratics may be seen.  The roof rises after a few feet and the floor forms a ledge before dropping away more steeply.  From this point, the VANTAGE POINT, the main feature of the chamber may be seen.  To the right a beautiful white stalagmite cascade, something like seventy feet in length, descends at an angle of 35O.  The CASCADE is split by a series of small drops each of which is decorated with stalactite organ pipes.  The floor of CASCADE CHAMBER is 25 feet below and although it would be possible to descend it would be most inadvisable to do so as this would undoubtedly spoil the Cascade.  An alternative route is via UPPER TRAVERSE CHAMBER and HAREM PASSAGE described at the top of this page.  Alittle below the VANTAGE POINT is a remarkable curtain hanging from the steeply sloping roof.  It is five feat long and eighteen inches deep, and the end of the curtain is perpendicular to the roof not vertical.  Alight behind this formation shows it up to its best advantage.

Returning once more to KANCHENJUNGA at the top of BOULDER CHAMBER, another route is by descending to the right under QUARRY CORNER.  Keeping to the right hand wall below Quarry Corner leads to LONG CHAMBER and CORAL SERIES (described in section 10) and to SUGAR BOWL CHAMBER that is prob­ably part of the ROCKY BOULDER SERIES.  Continuing down the main chamber below QUARRY CORNER, EVEREST CHAMBER is reached.  This is really part of BOULDER CHAMBER and should not be separately named.  It contains some fine stalactite formations.  At the bottom of the chamber there being a tusk-like stalactite seven feet long hanging from the roof.  On the right of this chamber a stalactite flow has formed on gravel which has since subsided and drip pockets can be seen projecting below the flow.  A small climb to the left of this flow leads to a high rift chamber beautifully decorated.  A guide tape has been laid here as some of the floor deposits are especially fine.  On the loft is a nest of cave pearls, behind which the floor is carved into a series of intricate mud pillars.   Following the tape under a low arch, CURTAIN CHAMBER is reached.  This is a very high rift, the left hand wall overhanging a little.  On the right is a boulder slope, well cemented with calcite.  To the left the rift rises and twenty feet up, a passage can be seen.  This has not yet been entered but it is thought that it may join up with thee lake in the CERBERUS SERIES (section 7).  By climbing the boulder pile, to the right the main feature of CURTAIN CHAMBER may be seen, a largo number of curtains, something like twenty in number descend from a flow on the right hand wall.  They are so close together and so intertwined that the exact number is impossible to determine.  They are all a foot or more in depth with a dark brown banding on the outer edge, throwing the creamy white stalactite into greater contrast.  Great care is required when entering this chamber to avoid damage to those curt­ains which reach to within a few foot of the floor.  As with CASCADE CHAMBER, no description can do them justice.  The upper part of CURTAIN CHAM­BER may be ascended and at the top a well decorated passage leads back into the formations in BOULDER CHAMBER.  Use of this unimportant passage will certainly destroy formations.  UPPER CURTAIN CHAMBER possesses more curt­ains hanging from the roof and a twenty foot wall completely covered in a beautiful stal flow.  The passage above this has boon entered by maypoling.  It leads after approximately fifty feet to a visual connection with the highest point of the CASCADE.

In the floor of CURTAIN CHAMBER a hole in the stalagmite leads to a small passage which descends steeply through a pebble infill to EVEREST PASSAGE.

A short drop in the floor of EVEREST CHAMBER also leads into EVEREST PASSAGE.  The passage descends steeply for fifty feet and at the upper end a largo, boulder - EVEREST - is found.  The way down is an easy slide but the return journey is a much more strenuous affair.  A scramble over a pit leads to a hands and knees crawl to the right a four foot drop gives access to one end of the RAT RUN and the CERBERUS SERIES.  The height of the passage increases and after a short drop the MAIN STREAM is reached.  The stream flows so quietly at this point that it is not noticed until one is standing beside it.

Shortly after descending EVEREST an opening on the left gives access to a bedding plane and if this ascended, a group of formations known as the FINGERS is reached end it is possible to look down into STREAM PASSAGE.  The FINGERS are a group of stalactites and stalagmites, some several inches away from joining, more only a fraction of an inch apart and others that have joined to form columns.  With suitable imagination the finger nails can be seen on three of the stalagmites!  Beyond the FINGERS an opening gives access to the RABBIT WARREN.  Traversing to the left at the top of the bedding plane a loose climb on the left leads to CASCADE CHAMBER while by turning right an easy route loads to the RAILWAY TUNNEL.

5.      The Rabbit Warren, Rabbit Warren, Extension and Catgut Series.

This part of the cave is a complex system of passages interspaced with steeply sloping bedding pianos and small chambers.  It is situated on the eastern side of the cave system and extends from HIGH CHAMBER to PLANTATION JUNCTION,  the western boundary being the MAIN STREAM.  It is a very difficult part of the cave to describe.

The most usual entrance to the RABBIT WARREN is by climbing the mud slope from the MAIN STREAM just upstream from the DINING ROOM.  The other entrances are from PLANTATION JUNCTION, several other places along, the MAIN STREAM between EVEREST PASSAGE and STALAGMITE PITCH, from the FINGERS, the RAILWAY TUNNEL and from HIGH CHAMBER via the CATGUT SERIES.

Entering the RABBIT WARREN from the RAILWAY TUINNEL(see section 4) and at the different junctions reached, taking the left, left again, then right and finally left hand passages will bring one to the top of the mud slope leading down to the MAIN STREAM near the DINING ROOM.  The most northern (i.e.  the nearest to the Railway Tunnel) of the passages to the west of this route leads to a point overlooking the FINGERS.  All the other passages on this side of the route lead to various places along the MAIN STREAM, downstream of EVEREST PASSAGE.

Climbing up the mud slope from the MAIN STREAM near the DINING.ROOM, the first passage on the left is a blind end and the second is the route to the RAILWAY 'TUNNEL, described in the proceeding paragraph.  To the right is a four feet high stalagmite barrier and to the right of this, there, is a visual connection with the top of STALAGMITE PITCH.  The passage continues above the barrier, a climb on the left leading to some fine formations.  Fifty feet further along the passage a passage on the right leads to the top of a large bedding plane.  SEWER.PASSAGE is at the lower extremity of this bedding plane and by traversing down and to the left, MAIN STREAM is reached at PLANTATION JUNCTION.  There is an alternative, high level, route known as STRUGGLE PASSAGE leading from the top of the bedding plane to PLANTATION JUNCTION.

Continuing along the passage past the entrance to the bedding plane and the route to Plantation Junction, there is a low passage to ERRATIC CHAMBER n the right, then the route turns left along a rift for fifty foot, getting lower until a very low crawl over wet stalagmite - marks the entrance to the RABBIT WARREN EXTENSION.

Beyond the squeeze the roof rises again and on the right hand side there are some nice, though small, gours.  A further low crawl leads to CHAIN CHAMBER, an interesting point being that this chamber has been form­ed by the intersection of two passages, one being at a higher level than the other.  Straight ahead is the TIN MINE, in which a stream is met, the same stream as that flowing in CONTINUATION CHAMBER.  Upstream the water enters from a stone choke and is joined by water from another small stream entering through a hole in the roof.  The stream can be followed to the right (downstream) for approximately fifty feet to where it sinks amongst gravel.  The higher level passage on the right (south) of CHAIN CHAMBER is known as HELICTITE PASSAGE and, as the name suggests, contains some fine thread like helictites.  Beyond those the passage descends steeply aid there are three dry gours spanning the passage, the first nearly six foot high.  Under the rim of one of these gours a hands and knees crawl leads to SOAPFLAKE POOL.  This was so named from its appearance, a film of calcite on the surface., giving the appearance of soapflakes.  It is possible to proceed a short distance down the rift, in the water, but there does not appear to be any continuation.

The upstream continuation of Helictite Passage from CHAIN CHAMBER leads to the further reaches of the RABBIT WARREN EXTENSION and into the CATGUT SERIES.  A short length of chain facilitates the climb up into the passage and on the left is a fine group of stalactites; the finest was two feet long and had erratics growing from it but this has unfortunately been broken.  Thirty foot along the passage, on the left, is a pure white stalagmite flow but again, this is quickly becoming covered with mud by the careless passages of cavers.  Low in the right hand wall of the main passage an opening leads to a fifteen feet high chimney with a foot wide rift leading off at the top, parallel to the main passage.  The rift has been climbed for forty to fifty foot until it becomes too narrow.  Continuing up the main passage, another passage on the left leads to OCTOPUS CHAMBER, while on the right a vertical squeeze, the VICE, is soon reached.  Beyond, there is a low crawl, on the left being a low passage - the SAUSAGE MACHINE - which is an oxbow tube leading back into the left hand fork of the T-JUNCTION.  The T-JUNCTION is reached soon after the Vice.

To the right at the T-JUNCTION a stream can be hoard and an awkward six foot drop loads into CONTINUATION CHAMBER, so called because it was thought that the stream here might be the upstream continuation of PLANTATION STREAM; this has since been proved to be so.  A small stream enters under the drop and joins the main stream in the chamber, the latter entering from a small rift and disappearing at the end of a low, wet pebble crawl in a choke.

Taking the loft hand passage at the T-JUNCTION leads to a large irr­egularly shaped chamber known as T-JUNCTION CHAMBER, the area of the chamb­er being broken by rock pillars and boulders.  Keeping to the right hand wall leads into a continuation of the chamber and at the top of this is a tight, very awkward squeeze leading into the CATGUT SERIES.  Most people: going through this squeeze find their legs tied up part way through, hence its name of CROSS LEG SQUEEZE.

The CATGUT SERIES start with a mud covered bedding plane that has to be traversed, an awkward operation because the mud and the slope combine to force one into the tightest part!  At the far side of the bedding plane a rift is reached and this is followed until it becomes too tight when it becomes necessary to climb up and continue along the rift at a higher level.

At the far and of the rift a boulder ruckle is reached and general direct­ions for getting through this are to "keep going upwards".  There is. a choice of routes, the lower taking one straight into the chamber above HIGH CHAMBER, the higher passing the entrance to SEPTEMBER SERIES before a low squeeze into the same chamber.  The higher route is to be preferred as the lower forces you to scramble past some very fine hair stalactites growing from the wall.

6.      The September Series.

At the upper end of the bedding plane above HIGH CHAMBER (see section 4) is a squeeze leading to a small chamber.  A squeeze downwards leads to the beginning of the CATGUT SERIES but straight ahead a low passage leads to a boulder ruckle.  The route through this ruckle is now fairly well marked and in a short distance entry is gained into a fairly largo chamber.  This is known as CONE CHAMBER from a large cone shaped stalagmite boss.  At the far side of this chamber the wall drops away to a stream passage which may be followed for about one hundred foot downstream to a sump.  It has been proved that this stream is the water flowing from PLANTATION SWALLET to PLANTATION JUNCTION, via CONTINUATION CHAMBER.  Upstream the water appears from under a stalagmite flow which is covered with a layer of black substance containing lead, manganese and iron.

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Two photographs of the formations in the September Series.

From CONE CHAMBER, following the upstream direction, a climb of about ten feet gives access to another chamber, ILLUSION CHAMBER, which is roughly one hundred by twenty five feet and twelve feet high.  This is the last place that the stream enters.  Another short climb under some curtain formations leads into a small chamber called PAPERWEIGHT CHAMBER and doub­ling back almost to the entrance of this chamber, a climb heavily coated with brown stalagmite flow leads up into a large chamber.  Above this chamber is a fifth that is known as SEPTEMBER CHAMBER and is comparable in size with BOULDERCHAMBER.  It has a boulder strewn floor and in the upper; corner are some very fine formations on what is known as the BALCONY; they are probably the best of their type in the cave.  The chamber slopes down, the roof drops and then rises again to form TRAFALGAR CHAMBER.  Here are found an extremely high aven and also a very fine pillar known as NELSON'S COLUMN.

At the lower end of SEPTEMBER CHAMBER a hole in the floor gives access to a low bedding plane at the end of which is a small chamber.   A squeeze in the floor leads to VICTORY PASSAGE - a large old stream passage fifteen foot high and ten to twenty feet wide.  After about one hundred foot a T-junction is reached.  To the left the passage closes down after a few feet but to the right the passage continues in a high rift known as THE STRAND and containing some fine helictites.  The passage ends in a low crawl and a high level passage has boon entered but was found not to lead anywhere.

7.       The Cerberus Series.

The CERBERUS SERIES is best entered from the DINING ROOM.  As mentioned earlier this is reached from the MAIN STREAM just before STALAGMITE PITCH.  The entrance is under a brown stalagmite flow and is easily missed but it is marked by a piece of red reflector tape to aid a stranded party.  Part of the DINING ROOM has a gravel and stalagmite false floor as a roof which shows incipient roof pendants.

The DINING ROOM is roughly twenty feet square and is used as a base for most of the longer trips in the cave.  At the far end of the chamber a climb over a muddy bank leads to CERBERUS HALL.  On the loft a small trickle of water, descends in wet weather and below a false floor a small hole leads to an inner chamber.  This chamber is six foot wide by twenty foot long.  It has been flooded at one time and the roof at one point bears some un­usual stalactites which have the appearance of rounded cylinders with the ends stuck together.  There is a way out of the chamber at the far end but it soon closes down.

Turning to the right at the back of the DINING ROOM, CERBERUS HALL is entered which is twenty foot high.  On the wall has been mounted a plague in memory of Don Coase who, until his death in 1958, was the driving force behind most of the work done in the cave.  CERBERUS HALL has a sandy floor, containing some deep pockets formed by strong drip action.  At the end of the chamber a fifteen foot drop leads by a solutional passage to MUD BALL CHAMBER.  At the far end of this chamber a high level passage fifteen feet from the floor continues over the top of Lake Chamber.  At the lowest point of MUD BALL CHAMBER a squeeze on the right loads to the RAT RUN.  This is a small tube and by keeping to the right throughout, EVEREST PASSAGE is reached.

By keeping to the left through the RAT RUN a descending passage leads into LAKE CHAMBER.  This is thirty foot wide and slopes downwards to the lake, the level of which fluctuates with rainfall, the variation in water level being at least fifteen foot.  Alittle way above the lake at the far end is a high level passage which is thought to join up with CURTAIN CHAMBER, but repeated efforts to prove this connection have not been successful because of the steep fifteen foot mud wall and the difficulty of manoeuvring maypole tubes through tight passages.

8.       The Maypole Series.

Entering UPPER TRAVERSE CHAMBER a stream can usually be heard and on the northern side of the chamber will be found a drop down to the water.

This is UPPER TRAVERSE CHAMBER PITCH and in the wall can be found a "Rawlbolt" for use as a ladder belay.  The ladder pitch can be avoided by a climb to the right but this is not recommended.  The water can be followed downstream for a short distance until it drops down TRAVERSE CHAMBER PITCH to TRAVERSE CHAMBER on the NEW ROUTE (section 2).

Upstream is known as the MAYPOLE SERIES.  The water descends a num­ber of pots, the first known as SHORT CHAIN PITCH from the chain fixed as a hand lino to assist its ascent and descent.  At the top of this pitch the bottom of MAYPOLE PITCH is reached.  There is a fixed steel ladder up this twenty five foot waterfall.

Three major pitches remain above the MAYPOLE PITCH.  The first is a twenty foot pothole which is called LONG CHAIN PITCH.  Next there is a tricky climb up CHOCKSTONE PITCH to another well formed pot called PULLEY PITCH.  A nylon line hangs through a steel ring in order that a rope may be pulled through the ring to pull a ladder to the top.  The nylon line MUST NOT be used to carry any load; obviously its strength cannot be guaranteed after several years in the cave.

The passage above this last pitch becomes nearer to being horizontal and formations may be seen.  The black edged stal drapery "Streaky Bacon" is particularly worthy of note, especially as the black is a loose deposit, probably of more recent origin and possibly is due to the lead workings on the surface above.  The stream passage finishes at TERMINUS CHAMBER in what appears to be a boulder filled pothole.  The cave at this point is about one hundred feet below the surface.  Alarge passage to the right, following the jointing, leads gradually upwards until it peters out in a low, very narrow rift at ESCALATOR PASSAGE.  This point is the nearest to the surface of any part of the swallet away from the Entrance Series.  The many small passages leading off mostly terminate in unstable boulders and are dangerous.  The most interesting passage is APPENDIX PASSAGE on the left and many fossils protrude from its walls.

By standing at the foot of the MAYPOLE PITCH waterfall and facing upstream, a hole can be seen about sixty feet up in the left hand wall.  This is known as HANGING CHAMBER and has been entered by very complicated maypoling techniques.  Arriving on the Lending Stage, which is equipped with a "Rawlbolt" and ring, reveals large stalagmite flows.  The cham­ber lacks much depth.  Looking out from HANGING CHAMBER provides one of the more sensational sights of St. Cuthbert’s; upwards is a very high aven which is likely to remain inviolate.

9.      The Rocky Boulder Series.

This series runs at a level below the Middle Series, towards and under BOULDER CHAMBER.  It may be entered from several points in the system.  Although no connection has yet been found, a dangerous chamber, SUGAR BOWL CHAMBER, situated below QUARRY CORNER, probably forms part of this series.

From PILLAR CHAMBER, a short climb behind the PILLAR leads to a chamber having some decorations on the far wall.  A passage loads off from the bottom for about 100 foot to ROCKY BOOLDER PITCH which is a twenty foot drop.  Below the pitch a small canyon leads via a low gravel floored sec­tion and a squeeze into a passage.  (There is a better route to this point by bearing right from the bottom of the drop.)  After a few feet the route divides.  To the right a passage, SURPRISE PASSAGE, runs over OUBLIETTE PITCH (a twenty foot rift that is choked at the bottom) and continues for about sixty foot.  On the left an inclined tube leads, via a narrow rift, to boulders.  An awkward climb in the roof at this point leads directly to BOULDER CHAMBER, near the entrance to the CORAL SERIES.

Immediately opposite the rift another, narrower, rift containing a chock stone gives access to a very irregular chamber, ROCKY BOULDER CHAMBER.  Holes in the floor of this lead via bedding plane passages to a final mud choked chamber, the lower extremities of which appear to be liable to occasional flooding.

The series may also be entered from MUD HALL via a largo rift, part­ly bridged by boulders, in the middle of the floor.  A passage on the right at the bottom leads to the OLD ROUTE STREAM while the main passage continues via an awkward step to a pile of upturned boulders.  A passage on the right is followed by a bedding plane traverse to a small passage running up dip, and a hole leading to further extensions of the bedding plane.   At the top of the passage a bedding plane with roof pendants opens on to the canyon below ROCKY BOULDAR PITCH.  A rift in the roof is thought to connect with BOULDER CHAMBER at QUARRY CORNER.

The bottom of the first bedding plane is blocked except where a small gravel encrusted chamber may be entered.   At the bottom of this, a short climb leads to the top of a large passage, and the descent of this, to the right, leads to BYPASS PASSAGE and TRAVERSE CHAMBER.

(In the "Preliminary Report" mention was made of a 'ROCKY BOULDER LOWER PITCH'.  This drop was only descended on the original exploration, an easier route by-passing it being found later.  For this reason pitch is no longer counted as one of those to be found in the cave.)

10.      The Coral Series.

This series is most easily entered from BOULDER CHAMBER, by keep­ing to the right hand wall below QUARRY CORNER.  A climb over stalagmited boulders loads to ANNEX CHAMBER, a small chamber with some formations and mud stalagmites.  On the far side a climb to the loft of a blind passage loads to a large rift.  A step across the right hand wall of this gives access to a passage ending in a twenty foot ladder pitch adjacent to ROCKY BOULDER PITCH.  This is called CORAL PITCH.

To the left the bottom of the rift may be followed until it is possible to drop to a lower section.  At the far end an interesting squeeze on the right loads to CORAL CHAMBER, a steeply inclined joint chamber.  An inter­mittent stream descends this, sinking at the bottom.  Beyond, a small hole that is easily missed on the return journey leads to ROCKY BOULDER CHAMBER.

CORAL CHAMBER extends upstream from the point of entry and some pass­ages may be entered.  Parts of this upper section are menaced by danger­ously poised boulders and are best avoided.

From the top of ANNEX CHAMBER, a climb over boulders to the left leads to LONG CHAMBER.  This is well decorated and extends down dip in the form of bedding planes.  These are quite remarkable and appear to have been formed by large sections of rock subsiding en-bloc.  The bedding planes may be descended, bearing to the right to avoid damage to formations.  At the bottom a short climb down leads to UPPER CURTAIN CHAMBER which contains some good formations.  The climb down into the lower part of CURTAIN CHAM­BER from here must NOT be made as it would involve descending over stalag­mite flows.  CURTAIN CHAMBER can easily be reached by descending BOULDER CHAMBER.

THE GEOLOGY AND FORMATION OF THE CAVE

St. Cuthbert's Swallet is developed in the lower beds of the Mendip limestones (i.e. the 1 Black Rock or Zaphrentis zone of the formal classifications).  Like the other major engulfment caves of Mendip top,  its ent­rance swallets lie very close to the junction of the Black Rock with the underlying Limestone Shales.   At Ledge Pitch, in the Maypole Series and along the Pulpit Route of the main stream, the cave makes a deeper pene­tration into these shaly rocks than is to be seen in any other Mendip cave.  In some places 60% of the exposed rock is shale: the occasional limestone interlaminae bring little tributaries along joint lines that are text book examples of passage formation between insoluble enclosing strata, e.g. the tributary that showers the bottom of Ledge Pitch comes from one.

There is some contortion of the shaly strata (best seen at the climb below Pulley Pitch and in the Middle of the New Route) but dip is generally uniform - true dip being about 28° in the upper parts of the cave, increasing to 36° below,  and trending a few points west of due south.

Although there is much local complexity, controlling structural features may be reduced to those shown in the diagram on the next page.     Follow­ing the water down from the surface, they are: -

    1. The "A" fractures - a series of small, near vertical faults bearing roughly northA similar series bearing 300/120° interlocks with them.  The water has opened the modern inlets along these, switching from one bearing to the other and back again, and develop­ing tall, narrow 'rift' passages.  The entrance series to the hire Rift and Pillar Chamber, the Maypole Series and High Chamber, are largely controlled by these fractures.
    2. Along a general level, Kanchenjunga Boulder - Upper traverse Chamber - High Chamber - September Boulder Choke, the descending waters are fed into one of the two predominant structural controls of the cave, the Rabbit Warren Bedding Plane, (B).  In reality not one but four bedding planes are exploited in different places - but all lie within a few feet of each other, creating a belt of rock some twenty feet thick that drops down the dip from 550 feet 0.D. to below 400Slicken-siding points to the slip of one bed against another, crushing the rock along the contact, thus creating favourable planes of weakness.  Prob­ably all four of these beds have slipped differentially.

The whole area of the cave from Boulder Chamber to Plantation Junc­tion, from Everest Passage to the Rabbit Warren Extension, developed initially in this narrow belt.  In many places near-circular tubes are seen, rather than the wide low passages typical of bedding control.  These reflect control by local joints within the twenty feet plane; the bedding always takes over at either end of such tubes.

The blank area on the survey between Harem Passage/Railway Tunnel in the west and the Rabbit Warren Extension in - the east, probably contains similar passages - more fully choked than elsewhere.  Many tubes of large dimensions feed into it, e.g. the Railway Tunnel, and others discharge from it below, but all are sealed.  The whole of the Rabbit Warren plane, as defined, was about 80% choked at one time and this unknown section has escaped subsequent re-excavation.

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The Rabbit Warren plane should be considered one great worm-tube anastomosis, modified by fill, vadose trenching and collapse.  It is the most remarkable example of the anastomosis to be seen on Mendip.

    1. After the early development of the Rabbit Warren plane, the "C" frac­tures, dipping about 35° E, were opened up to sluice great quantit­ies of water intoThe Cascade tumbles down one such fracture.  The westerly wall of the cave from Everest Chamber to quarry Corner consists of collapse filling a second, larger example.   Coral Series are undermined and collapsed by this substantial fall.
    2. The Rabbit Warren plane functioned as a feeder into the biggest frac­ture in the cave, "D".  This is vertical and bears approximately 300°.  The presence of crushed rock and vein fill in places points to its faultIt controls Lake Chamber, the main passage of Cerberus Series and Gour Rift, all of which are aligned on it.  It is most probable that the fault was opened as one great rift passage from Lake Chamber to the Duck; it was very heavily choked contempor­aneously with the Rabbit Warren and the known sections are those which have been subsequently re-excavated.  Judging from mean heights and depths of fill, there may be open cave in the unseen section between Cerberus Series and Gour Hall.

The revised Geological Survey maps of F.B.A. Welch and G. Green, (in litt.) place a major fault between Stock Hill and North Hill up the line of the Minery.  It is probable, from its position, that the Lake Chamber - Gour Rift fault is a part of this.  It will be seen from the diagram and the map, that the open fault is placed to cap­ture all descending lines of drainage in the cave, which therefore functioned to feed to it.

    1. "E"represents the plane of a thrust fault through the passage beds between the limestone andIt dips about 30° E. S.E. and can be traced down from Pillar Chamber, through Upper Mud Hall and Mud Hall to the New Route.  Upper Mud Hall is a large pothole cut by vadose waters falling twenty feet from the Wire Rift.  It was drained and eliminated when cutting reached the fault, diverting water to form Mud Hall.  The Now Route itself, from Gour Passage Pitch to Traverse Chamber is a vadose trench cut in the bottom of the open fault.  Much of the collapse that forms Upper Traverse Chamber is to be attributed to the Rabbit Warren plane being undermined down this lino, and Traverse Chamber is another pothole cut through it by some larger precursor of the modern Maypole Series stream.

If the structural frame of the cave is relatively simple, its morphol­ogy and the sequence of its development is hardly so.  Two summer's work in the cave suggests the following, very tentative, sequence: -

    1. Initial phreatic boring opening up the Rabbit barren tubes and the Lake - Gour RiftLittle of the feed into the top of the Rabbit Warren can have come from the modern inlets (Entrance area and maypole Series) because these show signs of later, more restric­ted development.  September Series is one possible source, the collapsed area that closes the northerly sides of the great chambers from.  Pillar to Upper Traverse is another.
    2. The Rabbit barren was greatly expanded and the bore tubes often mer­ged (as in Sewer Passage) by the action of .an increased volume of phreaticThe "C" lines were developed at this stage.
    3. The water table was drained down and vadose streams trenched parts of the Warren and the "'E" fault, collapsing many parts of the cave.
    4. Approximately 10% of the volume of the cave below: the elevation of Pillar Chamber was choked in three distinct phases:  (a) heavy fill of rounded stream pebbles, cobbles and(b) deposition of flowstone cover  to 24" thickness in some places.  (c)  a repeat of phase (a).  This final choking must have had the effect of returning much of the cave to phreatic conditions.
    5. In a series of sub-stages, and with many captives, the modern inlets were developed and much of the fill cleared from the known parts of the caveThis process continues today but not as efficiently as at times in the past for which there is copious evidence of greater volumes of flow

It is very difficult to determine the time spans of the above stages and hence the age of St. Cuthbert's.  Few of the usual measures of geolog­ical chronology are found in the Mendip caves until the, relatively, very recent past is reached, from which the end of the story may be dated.  If anyone should ever find pieces of bone, wood etc in the main choke of the cave (typified by the Section in the Railway Tunnel) the author (Derek Ford) would be delighted to hear of them.  They should be treated with the care normally lavished on certain motor bikes and stored in a dry tin.

It is unlikely that any part of the system is inherited from the Permo-Triassic period during which the Dolomitic Conglomerate was deposited.  For example, if the oldest parts of the cave had such an origin they should show fill cemented by hydro thermal solutions such as aragonite, deposited after migration from the Lake - Gour Rift fault.  But none is to be seen.  Hence the cave will probably post-date the removal of Mesozoic rocks which later buried Mendip.   External evidence suggests that the two phreatic stages may be as old as the close of the Tertiary.  The later choke and vadose cutting stages belong to the Pleistocene.

THE DISCOVERY AND ORIGINAL EXPLORATION OF THE CAVE.

The early history of the area is bound up with lead smelting and mining and may go back to Roman times (Gough - Mines of Mendip, pp 33-4).  The shape of the depression and the existence of a similar, though smaller, one above the nearby Eastwater Cavern suggest that it is, in the main, a natural feature modified by mining and smelting operations.  It has been suggested however, that it is mainly excavated, though no really large rock spoil heaps exist in the area (Balch - Mendip, its Swallet Caves and Rock Shelters, p   135).

The swallets in the area are known to feed Wookey Hole Rising; the contamination of the water by lead working being the subject of a famous law suit Hodgkinson v.  Ermor (Gough, p. 189).  Local opinion has it that the depression used to contain a large amount of water which in 1927 was observed to drain away in three days.  The sink responsible was blocked up but the water never rose to its former level.  The photograph on the next page taken in 1937 shows a recent subsidence, in the pond at the bottom of the
depression, which is taking water.

The St. Cuthbert's area was therefore of great speleological interest and digging was carried out in various places.  Plantation Swallet, a natural sink enlarged about 1900 by the Mining Company, was dug by the
University of Bristol Speleological Society and later by the Bristol Exploration Club, but only a small extension was discovered.  Bog Hole, a small cave discovered in the quarry just north of the "Belfry*, now filled in, was also dug without success.  In 1947 the B.E.C. dug in the position of what is now the New Entrance, and again in 1951.  On each occasion subsidence of the bank occurred and discouraged the further work that would have led to success.

Digging was commenced on the present shaft (the Old Entrance Shaft) in the spring of 1953 after flooding of the depression had left debris as ev­idence of water seepage at this point.  After much digging it was possible, at a depth of ten feet, to get in under a boulder to the small chamber above the Entrance Pitch.  The floor of the chamber had to be lowered four feet (to its present level) before access could be obtained to the pitch.  This measured only a few inches wide and work was commenced on widening it, en­couraged by the sight of water flowing away at the bottom.  Eventually, by September of the same year the pitch was just wide enough for two of the thinnest members of the Club to pass and make their way to the top of Arête Pitch.  The cave was virtually open and work was quickly renewed on widen­ing the narrow section to take "normal" cavers.

The first phase of exploration consisted of following the main stream passages.  The Old Route was explored via Waterfall and Wet Pitches and what is now known as the New Route Stream, as far as the First Choke.  This route was unattractive to well laden cavers and attention was switched to the Pulpit Pitch route which became the standard way for a considerable time.  The number of pitches discovered during, this period became embarrassingly large and it was necessary to borrow tackle from other clubs while stocks were built up.  The First Choke was thought to mark the end of the system for a time, but the early discovery of Bypass Passage enabled the exploration to be pushed downstream until the Sump was reached.

The next phase consisted of a rapid exploration of all the readily acc­essible parts of the cave in what is now called the Middle Series; using the Dining Room as a base.  The use of ordinary caving ladders meant that con­siderable time and effort were necessary to get into the system and trips of fourteen hours and longer wore common.  This, and the complexity of the cave, resulted in considerable mental fog and led on one occasion to the "explorers" finding their own footprints coming in the opposite direction along an attractive "new" passage.  Eventually things were sorted out and work was started on the survey of the cave.  The discovery of the Upper Mud Hall Pitch led, in 1955, to the abandonment of the Pulpit Pitch route and the installation of steel ladders on the present route into the system.

Exploration now gradually entered a third phase when less obvious pass­ages were pushed, maypoles used and digging resorted to.  The main discoveries during this period were:- 1955 Coral Series, 1956   Continuation Chamber, 1957 Maypole Series and the passing of the Sump,  and 1958  Catgut and Sep­tember Series.  The discovery of the September Series was the last major find to date and exploration has entered a period where discoveries are smaller and serious digging necessary.  Such a complicated system as this cannot yet be considered as worked out and there is still a chance of important finds being made.

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THE LEAD WORKS DEPRESSION PRIDDY

 Looking northwards from the position of the Entrance of St. Cuthbert’s Swallet

 

NOTES ON THE FAUNA OF THE CAVE.

The remains so far discovered in the cave floor have been very few and consist entirely of teeth.  About three teeth of Bos have been found in the sandy floor deposit of Everest Passage.  The ago of these is indeterminate but they are of fairly recent origin.

The most interesting relic is a tooth of Elophas which was found in January 1954 lying amongst pebbles of Old Red Sandstone in an abandoned stream way at the top of Rocky Boulder Passage.  The tooth was in such a fragmentary state that some expressed doubts on its genuiness but it is thought to be an upper molar, probably of Elephus Primigenius.  The identification of it being a tooth of Elephas has since bean confirmed by the British Museum, Natural History Department.  It is thought to be a derived fossil, having been washed out of a gravel deposit, probably on the surface, and later re-deposited where found, having been washed into the cave by a stream which formerly flowed down Rocky Boulder Passage.

R.J. Roberts has collected samples of fauna to be found in the cave.  These have been sent to the Cave Research Group for identification but the results are not yet available.

APPENDIX  I – REGULATIONS REGARDING ACCESS TO THE CAVE.

Access to St. Cuthbert's Swallet is controlled as the Bristol Explor­ation Club has signed an agreement with the landowners to the effect that entry into the system will be strictly supervised.  Aater entering the cave is used in the Paper Mills at Wookey Hole and also for domestic purposes and therefore there must be no risk of contamination.

ALL parties must be accompanied by one of the current authorised loaders.  The B.E.C. will provide, the necessary leader .for organised parties from other clubs and applications should be addressed to the club secretary:-   R.J. Bagshaw, 699 Wells Road, BRISTOL 4.-     As much notice of a proposed trip should be given as possible and parties should be limited to five people.

NO NOVICES will be allowed in the cave under any circumstances.

A TACKLE fee of 1/- per person is levied on all non-members of the B. E. C. visiting the cave.

Spent CARBIDE, and other rubbish, will not be dumped in the cave other than in specified places.  These will be pointed out to parties by the Leader.

A Primus stove, paraffin, spare carbide, candles and food are stored in the Dining Room.  They are intended primarily for use by a stranded party.

APPENDIX II - CURRENT LIST OF AUTHOROSED LEADERS (December 1961).

 

M. Baker

P. M. Giles

B. E. Prewer

R. Bennett

J. Hill

R. J. Roberts

F. G. Darbon

M. Holland

A. Sandal

J. A. Eatough

R. S. King

J. M. Stafford

B. M. Ellis

C. A. Marriott

R. D. Stenner

C. P. Falshaw

M. Palmer

S. Tuck

G. A. Fowler

N. J. Petty

M. Wheadon

 

APPENDIX III – REFERENCES TO ST. CUTHBERT'S SWALLET APPEARING IN THE "BELFRY BULLETIN" - the monthly Journal of the B.E.C.

This index, complete up to December 1961, together with this Caving Report integrates as far as possible all the published information on St Cuthbert's Swallet.  In compiling this index the author has taken into account only those details that refer to the historical and scientific background of the swallet.  For this reason such sources as the B.E.C. Caving Log, which is published periodically in the "B.B." has been ignored except where it refers to the above aspects.

Since, with the exception of Coase's sketch maps in the 'Preliminary Report', no survey of the system has yet been published, references to surveys in the "B.B." have been fully dealt with in this index.   (Editor's Note:   A preliminary survey of St. Cuthbert's Swallet has now been publish­ed as B. E. C. Caving Report No. 8.)

Not appearing in this list are references to the cave published in the "'Belfry Bulletin" prior to No. 91.  It is believed that only two prior references exist: the first mention of the cave is in No. 79 (March 1954) and this was followed by a brief description of the swallet in No. 81 (May 1954).  Mention has also been made of the cave in the Wessex Cave Club "Journal" and the "British Caver".  As far as is known the former contains only descriptive articles and the latter contains only reprints from the "Belfry Bulletin".

In order to simplify the index it his been arranged in sections agreeing with the layout of the Report, plus one covering miscellaneous aspects of the cave and another for references to subjects and places related to, but not situated in, the cave.  The index, as compiled, was found to contain references to places under different names.  This occurred in several instances and as far as possible these have fill been listed under the name used in the Report.  The other names are given in parenthesis.  It is to be hoped that now this Report has been published, future authors will be careful to use the correct nomenclature in future.

References are given in the following forms; -

Author's initials/"B. B." No. - Page No./Type of reference

The following abbreviations have been used:-


A - reference in an article               L – reference in a letter

C - reference in the caving log        S – reference in a survey

  1.  indicates that the feature is shown on the sketch of the cave shown in relation to the surface by B.M. Ellis,   "B.B."145.
  2. shown on the survey of the Maypole Series by R. S. King,  ''B.B. "126, pages 5 and 6.
  3. shown on the sketch of September Series by M. Wheadon and B.E. Prewer, "B.B." No. 135, page 4.
  4. shown on the sketch of the Rabbit warren and Extension by D.A. Coase, "B.B." No. 116, page 5.

 Author’s initials are: -

 

BE

B. M. Ellis

NP

N. J. Petty

BP

B. E. Prewer

PB

N. J. Petty and P. Burt

CF

C. P. Falshaw

PG

P. M. Giles

CM

C. A. Marriott

RAS

R. A. Setterington

DC

D. A. Coase

RK

R. S. King

FC

C. P. Falshaw and D. A. Coase

RR

R. J. Roberts

JE

J. A. Eatough and others

RS

R. D. Stenner

JT

J. H. Tucker

RW

R. Winch

MB

M. J Baker

SC

S. J. Collins

MH

M. J. Hannam

WP

M. Wheadon and B. E. Prewer

MW

M. Wheadon

 

 

 

 

(1)  The Old Route

(3)  Lower Series (continued)

 

 

 

 

Arête Chamber (b)

RK/136-3/A

Gour Hall (a)

RS/161-2/A

 

RS/142-17/A

Main Stream (a)

NP/118-4/S

Arête Pitch

CF/128-3/A

(Main Stream Passage)

DC/119-6/A

 

RS/142-17/A

 

RS/142-17/A

 

RK/158-5L

 

BE/146-4/A

Entrance Pitch

RK/109-6/A

 

BE/166-18, 21/A

(Entrance Rift)

CM/144-2, 3/A

Plantation Junction

FC/115-2/A

 

RK/158-5/L

(a)  (d)

DC/116-8, 9/A

Lower ledge Pitch

NP/118-3/A

 

NP/116-4/AS

New Entrance Shaft

--/166-4/A

 

DC/118-5/A

Ochre Rift

NP/127-4/S

 

DC/119-6/A

 

CF/128-3/A

 

PB/120-3, 4/A

Old Entrance Shaft

RS/142-17, 19/A

 

CF/125-3/C

(a)  (b)

BE/145-4A

 

RS/142-17/A

 

RK/158-5/L

 

SC/146-5/A

 

RS/161-2/A

 

BE/166-118/A

Old Route Stream

CF/125-3/C

Plantation Stream

DC/116-4, 6, 7/A

Showerbath

NP/118-3/A

 

PB/120-4/A

 

DC/118-5/A

 

MH/122-3/L

 

PB/120-3/A

 

BE/166-18, 21/A

Wire Rift (a)  (b)

--/112-1/A

Pyrolusite Series

CF/128-4/A

 

RS/142-17/A

Sewer Passage (a)

DC/116-8/A

 

BE/145-4A

(The Sewer)

BE/166-19A

 

--/147-8/C

Stalagmite Pitch

DC/116-3, 7, 8/A

 

RK/158-5/L

Sump, The

SC/114-1/A

 

BE/166-21A

(Second Sump)

DC/114-4, 5/A

 

 

 

DC/116-6/S

(2)  The New Route

 

 

 

 

(4)  Middle Series

Disappointment Passage

CF/128-3/A

 

 

Drinking Fountain

DC/118-5/A

Boulder Chamber (a)

JT/152-3/A

Gour Passage Pitch

CF/128-3/A

 

MB/159-6/C

Main Stream

NP/118-4/S

Cascade, The

CF/128-3/A

Pulpit Pitch

NP/118-3/A

 

JT/152-3/A

 

DC/118-5/A

Cascade Chamber

JT/152-3/A

 

PB/120-3/A

Everest Chamber

JT/152-3/A

 

RK/126-3/A

Everest Passage (a)

BE/145-4, 5/A

Travers Chamber (b)

CF/125-3/S

 

SC/146-5/A

(Lower Trav. Chamber)

RK/126-3, 6A

Fingers, The (a)

BE/145/-5/A

 

CF/128-3/A

 

JT/152-4/A

Water Shute

CF/125-3/C

Harem Passage (a)

BE/145/-5/A

 

 

High Chamber (a)

DC/114-3/A

(3)  Lower Series

 

RS/142-17, 23/A

 

 

 

BE/145/-5/A

Beehive Chamber

CF/116-10/a

 

RR/160-4/A

 

CF/128-3/A

Kanchenjunga

RS/142-17/A

 

RS/142-17/A

Maypole

CF/128-3/A

Duck, The (a)

DC/114-4, 5/A

Pillar Chamber

DC/113-2/A

(Sump, The)

DC/114-6/S

 

FC/115-2/A

(First Sump)

CF/128-4/A

 

JT/152-3/A

 

RS/142-19/A

Quarry Corner

RS/142-17/A

 

BE/145-4/A

 

RK/158-5/L

 

RS/161-2/A

 

MB/159-6/C

 

RS/161-2/A

Railway Tunnel

DC/116-6/A

 

BE/166-21/A

(Cascade Passage)

CF/128-4/A

Gour Hall (a)

CF/116-10/A

 

BE/145-5/A

 

RS/142-17/A

 

SC/146-5/A

 

(4)  Middle Series (continued)

(6)  September Series

 

 

 

 

 

--/166-4/A

Cone Chamber (c)

WP/135-2/A

Upper Mud Hall (b)

FC/115-2/A

Illusion Chamber (c)

WP/135-2/A

Upper Mud Hall Pitch

RS/142-17/A

Paperweight Chamber (c)

WP/135-2/A

Upper Traverse Chamber

DC/111-1/A

September Chamber (c)

WP/135-3/A

(a)

BE/145-4, 5/A

 

RR/160-5/A

 

 

September Series (c)

BP/122-6/C

(5)  Rabbit Warren, etc

 

RK/132-3/C

 

 

 

WP/135-2/A

Catgut Series (a)

CF/128-2, 4/A

 

RR/160-4/A

 

WP/135-2/A

 

BE/166-21/A

 

RS/142-17/A

Strand, The

WP/129-6/C

 

BE/145-5/A

 

MP/135-3/A

Chain Chamber (d)

CF/116-4/A

 

RR/160-5/A

 

DC/116-4, 6/A

Trafalgar Chamber

WP/129-6/C

 

CF/116-8/A

 

RK/132-3/C

Continuation Chamber

CF/116-3/A

 

RR/160-5/A

(a)  (d)

DC/116-6/A

Victory Passage

WP/129-6/C

 

CF/128-3, 4/A

(Victoria Passage)

WP/135-3/A

 

WP/135-2/A

 

RR/160-5/A

 

BE/166-19, 21/A

 

--/166-4/A

Cross Leg Squeeze

CF/128-2, 4/A

 

 

 

BE/145-5/A

(8)  Maypole Series

Digs I, II, III

CF/116-8/A

 

 

Erratic Chamber (d)

DC/116-3, 9/A

Appendix Passage (b)

RK/119-4/A

Helictite Passage (d)

DC/116-4/A

 

RK/126-6/A

Octopus Chamber (d)

DC/116-6/A

Bridge Chanber (b)

RK/126-5/A

 

CF/116-9, 10/A

Chockstone Pitch

RK/126-6/A

Rabbit Warren (d)

FC/116-2/A

Echo Chamber

--/154-9/C

 

CF/116-3/A

Escalator Passage (b)

RK/126-6/A

 

DC/116-4, 9, 10/A

Hanging Chamber (b)

RK/125-4/AS

 

NP/118-3/A

 

CF/128-3/A

 

PB/120-3, 4/A

Long Chain Pitch (b)

RK/124-4/A

 

CF/128-2, 4/A

 

RK/126-6/A

 

BE/145-5/A

Maypole

CF/128-3/A

 

JT/152-4/A

Maypole Series (a) (b)

DC/111-1/A

R. W. Extension (d)

FC/115-2/A

 

DC/113-2/A

 

DC/116-3, 4, 6, 7/A

 

DC/114-3/A

 

DC/116-8, 10/A

 

FC/115-1, 2/A

 

CF/116-8/A

 

DC/118-5/A

 

NP/116-4/A

 

RK/125-4/A

 

DC/118-5/A

 

RK/126-3, 6/A

 

PB/12-3/A

 

CF/126-3, 4/A

Sausage Machine (d)

CF/116-8, 10/A

 

BE/145-4/1A

Soapflake Pool

DC/116-4/A

 

--/154-9/C

 

CF/128-2/A

 

BE/166-21/A

T-Junction (d)

DC/116-6/A

Maypole Series Stream

PB/120-3/A

T-Junction Chamber (a)

BE/145-5/A

 

BE/166-21/A

T-Junction Passage (d)

CF/116-3/A

Muddy Boulder Ruckle

RK/126-6/A

Tin Mine

BP/125-2/C

Pulley Pitch (b)

RK/119-4/A

 

--/127-3, 4/C

 

RK/126-3, 6/A

 

CF/128-2, 3/A

Purgatory Passage

--/154-9/C

 

BE/166-21/A

Short Chain Pitch (b)

RK/126-6/A

Vice, The (d)

DC/116-6/A

Terminus Chamber (b)

 

 

CF/116-8/A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(7)  Cerberus Series

(11) Miscellaneous Aspects

 

 

 

 

Cerberus Hall

--/145-4/C

Air Pressure

RS/142-23/A

 

--/162-7/C

Air Temperature

PB/120-3, 4, 5/A

Cerberus Series

CF/128-4/A

Barometers in Caves

RS/161-2/A

Dining Room (a)

DC/116-7/A

Barometric Surveying

RS/161-2/A

 

NP/118-3/A

Cave Air Temperature

PS/120-4/A

 

DC/118-5/A

Caving Report No. 2

RS/137-4/L

 

PB/120-3, 4/A

Dangers

RK/158-5/L

 

RS/112-19/A

Formations

JT/152-2/A

 

RS/161-2/A

Hydrological System

NP/118-4/S

Lake Chamber

RS/159-5/C

Leader System

JT/116-8/L

 

 

 

RS/160-8/A

(9)  Rocky Boulder Series

 

RW/161-6/L

 

 

 

JS/162-2/L

Oubliette Pitch

PG/165-7/C

 

MW/163-3/L

Sugar Bowl Chamber

MB/159-6/S

Relative Humidity

RS/142-17/A

Surprise Passage

PG/165-7/C

Rescue

CW/144-2/A

 

 

 

BE/151-3/A

(10)  Coral Series

 

--/166-4/A

 

 

Route map

SC/133-3/S

Coral series

DC/114-3, 4/A

Survey

CF/128-4/A

 

CF/125-4/A

 

SC/133-3/AS

Hidden Chamber

DC/114-4/A

 

BE/145-4/AS

Long Chamber

DC/114-4/A

 

SC/146-5/A

 

 

Water Samples

PB/120-4/A

(12)  Related Places

Water Temperatures

NP/118-3/A

 

 

 

DC/118-4/A

Ladywell Stream

DC/119-6/A

 

DC/119-5/A

Obituary – D. Coase

--/121-2/A

 

PB/120-3/A

Plantation Swallet

NP/118-4/A

 

RAS/121-2/A

 

DC/118-5/A

 

DC/121-3/A

 

PB/120-3/A

Water Tracing

NH/117-4/A

 

CF/128-4/A

 

CF/128-1/A

 

BE/166-18/A

 

BE/166-18/A

St. Cuthbert’s Pool

PB/120-3/A

 

 

St. Cuthbert’s Stream

PB/120-4/A

 

 

 

BE/166-18/A

 

 

Wookey Hole

DC/119-6/A

 

 

 

PB/120-3, 5/A

 

 

 

The following space is provided for anyone wishing to keep the list of references up to date.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

APPENDIX IV – AN INDEX OF THE FEATURES OF THE CAVE MENTIONED IN THE DETAILED DESCRIPTION (Pages 4 – 14)

Where more than one reference is given for a feature, the principal one is underlined; the section of the cave under which the feature is described is given in parenthesis after the name.

 

Annex Chamber (10)

14, 15

Maypole Pitch (8)

13, 14

Appendix Passage (8)

14

Maypole Series (8)

6, 8, 13

Arête, The (1)

5

Middle Series (4)

6, 8

Arête Chamber (1)

5, 7

Mud Ball Chamber (7)

13

Arête Pitch (1)

5

Mud Hall (4)

5, 6, 8, 14

Balcony, The (6)

12

Mud Hall Pitch (4)

8

Bank Grill (3)

8

Nelson’s Column (6)

12

Beehive, The (3)

7

New Entrance Shaft (1)

4

Beehive Chamber (3)

7

New Route (2)

5, 8, 13

Boulder Chamber (4)

8, 12, 14, 15

New Route Stream (2)

5

Bypass Passage (3)

6, 9, 14

Ochre Rift (1)

4

Cascade, The (4)

9, 10

Octopus Chamber (5)

11

Cascade Chamber (4)

9, 10

Old Entrance Shaft (1)

4

Catgut Series (5)

8, 10, 11

Old Route (1)

5

Cerberus Hall (7)

13

Old Route Stream (1)

5, 8, 14

Cerberus Series (7)

8, 9, 10, 13

Oubliette Pitch (9)

14

Chain Chamber (5)

10, 11

Paperweight Chamber (6)

12

Chockstone Pitch (8)

13

Pillar, The (4)

8, 14

Cone Chamber (5)

1, 12

Pillar Chamber (4)

8, 14

Continuation Cham. (5)

10, 11

Plantation Junction (3)

7, 10, 11

Coral Chamber (10)

15

Plantation Stream (3)

7, 11

Coral Pitch (10)

15

Pulley Pitch (8)

13

Coral Series (10)

9, 14

Pulpit, The (2)

5

Cross Leg Squeeze (6)

11

Pulpit Passage (2)

5

Curtain Chamber (4)

9, 10, 13, 15

Pulpit Pitch (2)

5

Dining Room (7)

7, 10, 13

Pyrolusite Series (4)

7

Drinking Fountain (3)

6, 8

Quarry Corner (4)

8, 9, 14

Duck, The (3)

8

Rabbit Warren (5)

7, 9, 10

Entrance Pitch (1)

5

Rabbit Warren Extension (5)

10, 11

Erratic Chamber (5)

10

Railway Tunnel (4)

9, 10

Escalator passage (8)

14

Rat Run, The (7)

10, 13

Everest (4)

10

Rocky Boulder Chamber (9)

14, 15

Everest Chamber (4)

9, 10

Rocky B. Lower Pitch (9)

14

Everest Passage (4)

6, 9, 10, 13

Rocky Boulder Pitch (9)

14, 15

Fingers, The (4)

9, 10

Rocky Boulder Series (9)

6,  9, 11, 12

First Choke (2)

6

Sausage Machine (5)

11

Gour Hall (3)

7

Sentry, The (4)

9

Gour Passage (2)

5

Sentry Passage (4)

6, 8

Gour Passage Pitch (2)

5

September Chamber (6)

12, 13

Great Gour (3)

7

September Series (6)

7, 8, 10

Hanging Chamber (8)

14

Sewer Passage (3)

7, 10

Harem Passage (4)

9

Short Chain Pitch (8)

13

Helictite Passage (5)

11

Soapflake Pool (5)

11

High Chamber (4)

8, 10, 11

Stal. Graveyard (4)

8

Illusion Chamber (6)

12

Stalagmite Pitch (3)

7, 10, 13

Kanchenjunga (4)

8, 9

Strand, The (6)

13

Lake Chamber (7)

13

Stream Passage (3)

5, 6, 7, 10

Long Chain Pitch (8)

13

Struggle Passage (6)

10

Long Chamber (10)

9, 15

Sugar Bowl Chamber (4)

9, 14

Lower Ledge Pitch (1)

5

Sump, The (3)

8

Lower Series (3)

6, 13

Surprise Passage (9)

14

Main Stream (3)

6, 7, 8, 10, 13

Terminus Chamber (8)

14

Tin Mine, The (5)

11

Upper Mud Hall Pitch (4)

5, 8

T-Junction, The (5)

11

Upper Traverse Chamber (4)

6, 8, 9, 13

T-Junction Chamber (5)

11

Upper Trav. Cham. Pitch (4)

13

Trafalgar Chamber (6)

12

Vantage Point (4)

9

Traverse, The (2)

6

Vice, The (5)

11

Traverse Chamber (2)

6, 8, 13, 14

Victory Passage (6)

13

Trav. Chamber Pitch (4)

8, 13

Waterfall Pitch (1)

5

Upper Curtain Cham. (4)

9, 15

Water Shute (2)

6, 8

Upper Ledge Pitch (1)

5

Wet Pitch (1)

5, 6, 8

Upper Mud Hall (4)

5, 8

Wire Rift (1)

5, 8

 

APPENDIX V – EQUIPMENT REQUIRED IN THE CAVE

 

Name of Pitch

Depth

Ladder

Lifeline

Belays, etc. required

1.

Entrance Pitch

25

25

Nil

40’ rope for raising tackle

2.

Arête Pitch

26

PL

Nil

 

3.

The Ledge Pitches

30

PL

Nil

 

4.

Waterfall Pitch

25

20

40

2 karabiners

5.

West Pitch

15

15

20

8’ wire tether

6.

Pulpit Pitch

60

35

120

2 x 10’ tethers and pulley

7.

Gour Passage Pitch

20

20

60

5’ tether

8.

Mud Hall Pitch

20

20

40

 

9.

Stalagmite Pitch

20

FH

Nil

 

10.

Upper Traverse Chamber Pitch

15

15

40

Karabiner

11.

Traverse Chamber Pitch

25

25

60

40’ tether

12.

Rocky Boulder Pitch

15

15

40

20’ tether

13.

Oubliette Pitch

15

15

40

10’ tether

14.

Upper Mud Hall Pitch

15

PL

Nil

 

15.

Short Chain Pitch

15

FH

Nil

 

16.

Maypole Pitch

25

PL

Nil

 

17.

Long Chain Pitch

20

FH

Nil

 

18.

Pulley Pitch

20

20

60

40’ rope to raise ladder through pulley

 

Abbreviations: -           PL – permanents Steel ladder

                                    FH – Fixed Handline (or chain)

 

APPENDIX VI - BRIEF LOG OF THE INITIAL EXPLORATORY TRIPS IN THE CAVE.

The following was received from E.J. Waddon but unfortunately it was received too late for inclusion in the account of the discovery of the cave.

20 Sep 1953.    R. Bennett; D.A. Coase; E. J. Waddon.

Entrance Rift descended, followed by Arête Pitch and the two Ledge Pitches.  Wire Rift followed to Waterfall Pitch but this was not de­scended through lack of ladder.  Bennett and Waddon traversed across top of Waterfall Pitch to tight crawl but did not push it.  On return to surface, passage from Arête Chamber followed to head of Pulpit Pitch.

27  Sep 1953.    R. Bennett; V. Brown; D. A. Coase; A. Marriott; J. Paine; E.J, Waddon.    (9 hours).

Waterfall and Wet Pitches descended.  Entrance into Mud Hall found but attention concentrated on stream way.  Bedding plane descended to Main Stream.  Water Shute descended and Traverse Chamber reached.  Main Stream found to be choked.  Some passages above the Traverse partly explored.  Brown and Marriott remained at head of Waterfall Pitch during exploration as belay party.

11  Oct 1953.    R. Bennett; D.A. Coase; D. Kemp; R.A. Setterington.

Pulpit Pitch descended and stream way followed, via Gour Passage Pitch, to link with portion of cave, above Water Shute, found on previous trip.  Bennett remained at head of Pulpit Pitch to belay.

25 Oct 1953.    R. Bennett; D.A. Coase: C. Falshaw; E.J. Waddon.   (l0½ .hrs).

Via Pulpit Pitch along Main Stream to Traverse Chamber.  Bypass Passage found to far side of First Choke, Main Stream followed, Stal­agmite Pitch descended and along Sewer Passage and the stream way until Gour Hall could be looked into.  Dining Room noticed but not explored.

28  Nov 1953.    R. Bennett;  V. Brown; D.A. Coase; C. Falshaw; A. Sandall; E.J. Waddon.   (l4¾ hours).

Pulpit Route to Gour Hall which was descended to the Sump.  The Middle Series, including Everest, Cascade, Curtain and Pillar Chambers explored.

12  Dec 1953.    R.  Bennett; D.A.  Coase; K. Dobbs; C. Falshaw; N. Petty; E. J. Waddon.   (17 hours).

Further exploration, this time of the Rabbit Warren.  Upper Traverse Chamber entered.

16 Jan 1954.    R. Bennett; D.A. Coase; N. Petty;  E.J. Waddon.    (20 hours).

Three further pitches descended in area of Mud Hall.  Rocky Boulder Series explored and mammoth's tooth found.   Oubliette Pitch descended.  Cerberus Series explored.

During February and early March the depression was in flood and no further trips could take place.  In the Spring and summer various trips were made to show the cave to visiting clubs and several further discoveries were made.