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Redcliffe Caves

As yet no new has come through from Bristol Corporation but as soon as the OK is given you will be notified.  The survey of part of the system in the possession of Dr. Wallis has been copied, and upon examination is seen to be only a fragment of the whole system.  There are a number of entrances and passages that we already know about that are not on the map, although the area covered by it is considerable.


The party from Woking Service of Youth Council who visited us in July had a ‘wonderful’ weekend and are looking forward to their next visit as soon as they can fix one.

Somewhere in the region of 1,000 people (yes, a thousand), have spent nights at the Belfry so far this year.  This includes parties from all over and not only those organised 1ocally.  If our attendances keep on increasing at this rate, it seems as though yet another Belfry will have to be purchased, or insertions of sheet rubber put in the walls to cope with the ‘mudding crowds’.


The Stoke Lane Photos are again proving very popular.  Hurry up if you want a set.  A reminder to those who have these Photos and have not returned them or paid for them.  PLEASE return the unwanted ones with the money, for those purchased so that those who are ‘in the Queue’ can get a selection without delay.


AFRICA CALLS, to our members.  There are quite a few of BECites and club contacts in Africa now.  We have had suggestions that an ‘African Section’ be formed.  This would be mainly a ‘Correspondence’ section, but would doubtless help, to while away the exiles spare minutes.  Lists of Members in Africa will be circulated to anyone interested in such a section.

Programme August, Sept. & October 1949.

July 29th. - August 2nd. Bank Holiday meet at Belfry,
Caving in all directions with special emphasis on Stoke Lane.
August 13th. Sat, Longwood and August Hole,
August 20th. -.‘Aug. 28th. French Trip to Valence,
Aug. 28th, Swildons Hole,
Sept. 10th. Burrington.
Sept, 25th. Eastwater, both routes,
Oct,.15th, G,B,
Oct. 23rd. Muddy Mendip Mine Shafts,

We hope to hear of the handing ever of Redcliffe Caves to the Bristol Corporation soon in which case trips to Redcliffe will take place during the week.

Stoke Lane.  A Serious Warning

Members entering Stoke Lane are warned of loose boulders.  A short time ago a party had a very narrow escape from serious accident when a boulder weighing in the neighbourhood of' 24 cwt. fell from the pile on the slope from the stream to the Main Chamber.  It hit Sybil Bowden-Lyle in the back but luckily had no very serious consequences.  Hard luck Sybil it’s a good job that you're tough.

Change of address

We have received several complaints recently from members that their BB’s have not been arriving.  Invariably these complaints have come from members who have changed their address.  If members who move would notify the Hon. Sec. of this their BB’s would eventually arrive at the new address, and would do away with the myth that the committee are clairvoyant, or have a chart of each member whereby his or her movements are automatically traced by radar.

T.H. Stanbury

List of members 1949.  No.5

In response to requests Christian names or the name by which the member is usually known is now included in these lists.

Bill Mack,                       313, Watford Road, St. Albans, Herts.
Miss, Pat, Brazier,           14, Kendale Road, Bridgwater, Somt.
Mrs, Lynne Eno,              Brook Gardens, Compton Greenfield , Nr, Bristol.
Miss Violet Inseal,           315, Potherton Road, Knowle, Bristol. 4.
Tom Driver, 10,                St , Pauls Road, Clifton, Bristol.
G, (Tom) Ratcliffe,            12, Mayfield Road, Dagenham, Essex.
R.H. Morgan,                   4, Brook Road, Montpelier, Bristol. 6.
Bernard Smailes,             16, Armoury Square, Stapleton Road, Bristol.
Frank le R, Perroe,          University Settlement, Barton Hill, Bristol. 5.
Mrs. Freda Humpidge,      38, Devonshire Road, Westbury Park, Bristol. 6.
R.T. Humpidge,               26, Cavendish Road, Henleaze, Bristol.
Os Rendell,                     19, The Drive, Henleaze,  Bristol.
Miss Sybil-Bowden-Lyle,  31, Highworth Road, St. Annes Park, Bristol. 4.
Tom Pink,                       53, Burnthwaite Road, Fulham, London, S.W.6.


Volunteers are needed for ladder making.  The job is extremely simple and those who are interested are asked to contact either George Lucy or Hon. Sec. who will tell them what is wanted.

Meeting of Bristol Members

Although too late for inclusion in the last BB proper, a printed slip was inserted in each copy.  In case there were any that were missed here briefly is a resume of the leaflet.

From July 21st. until Sept, 21st, we shall be meeting in rooms at the rear of St. Matthew’s Parish Hall, Redfields.  This is a 1½d bus ride on routes 8 or 9 from Old Market, getting off at the stop past Lawrence Hill Station.  Almost opposite the bus stop and on that opposite side of the road, i.e. left hand side looking towards Bristol is St. Matthew’ Church.  Besides the church is a road.  At the top of this road is the Parish Hall.

I am given to understand that the Church Scouts meet in the main hall on Thursdays, so if you see swarms of them when you enter you will know that you are in the right place.  We hope to have notices up to direct you to our entrance at the rear.

At the last meeting at Redcatch it was put to those present that a small levy would have to be made to cover the cost of rooms and all agreed that this would be the best way of doing it.  Therefore a sum of 6d. a head would be charged to all persons, both members and non-members, using this room on Thursdays.  There must be no exceptions to this or we shall run heavily into arrears.  Member bringing along visitors are asked to explain to them that it will cost them 6d, and explain the reason for the charge.

T.H. Stanbury.

The Belfry

The fine weather has helped to defeat the target set by the Belfry Committee, and in fact very little work has been done in the last few weeks.  A calor gas stove or rather cooking unit, thanks to the good offices of John Ifold and Dan Hasell has been purchased very cheaply making a saving of several pounds on the estimated cost, and thus bringing nearer the day when we can advertise The Belfry modern country residence, all mod, con., h.&c. in all beds., Gas and Electricity modern sanitation etc.


The following article has been gleaned from various old guide books and as all the caves mentioned are between Perranporth and Tintagel is called:-

Cousin Jack's Caves.

by a Cousin Jack!

The caves mentioned below are only a few of the many caves of the district and this article is not intended as a ‘Caver’s Guide’ but merely a very brief description of the most well known.  The compiler can accept no responsibility if the seeker cannot find any of the caves mentioned as he has never visited them, (shades of Snogger Hawkins.  Ed.) but the locations are all authentic if Ye Olde Cornish Guide is anything to go by.

Chief among the attractions of Perranporth is Chapel Rock, and hard by is Western Cavern.  This is very difficult of access and often contains a great deal of water in its rocky pools.  Care should be taken that the tide is on the ebb as the unwary are easily trapped if it is flowing.

Moving north to East Pentire Head, a cave can be explores by climbing down the side of the cliff through a somewhat small opening.

Again on the move north, we reach Newquay.  Here are a number of caves that can be described in greater detail.  The Tea Caverns are situated below Towan Head, where a zig-zag path leads down to the caves.  The Tea Caverns take their name from the fact that in by-gone days they were used by smugglers and more specially for the storing of contraband tea.

At the bottom of the path already mentioned an archway will be encountered, after a number of boulders have been negotiated, leading to a small beach.  To the left of this is an opening that leads into a spacious cave with a narrow passage at the end, leading in turn to another cavern, with two fine arches opening on the sea.  By wading through a shallow pool of water, ingress can obtained into yet another cavern.

To find Tea Hole, the hiding place of the smugglers booty, it is necessary to pass through the right hand arch, beyond which a pathway cut in the rock leads up the face of the cliff to the headland.  At the beginning of this pathway is the Tea Hole, a tunnel only about 5 feet high, and not so wide as that.  This tunnel bears round to the left, and comes to an abrupt end, opening into the main cavern, and led many years ago by means of a plank to a continuation of the hole on the opposite side, now alas gone and only a memory.

The cunning situation of this smuggling hole will not fail to be noticed by the visitor.  The cliff top can be regained by ascending to the path that leads up from the entrance to the Tea Hole.

The Bishop's Cave lies at the base of Cligga Point.  At the upper end of this will be found the 'Creeping Hole' a short cut through the rocks which will be found useful as a means of getting through from Cligga Beach when the tide is going out.  Between Cligga Point and the next bluff is a disused mine shaft into which the sea has access.  Further on is a small cave, the roof of which is fern clad.  Porth Estuary lies just around Glendorgal Point and on the other side of Porth is Porth Island, the extreme end of which is known as Trevelgue Head.  In Trevelgue Head is a curious Chasm in the rock known as the Blow Hole, and terminating in a large cavern, the Mermaids Cave.  This cave was much used by Smugglers and can be explored at low tide.  It is the Blowing Hole that is the main attraction of the island.  At half tide the water sweeps into the cavern and expels the air therefrom through this narrow orifice with such power that the water comes but with a rush and a roar and a huge cloud of spray is cast out.  This can easily be seen from Newquay.  There is also a blowhole in the Profile Rock at Boscastle.

At very low tide it is possible to visit a cave called Piper's Hole, that derives its name from the whistling noises made by the are expelled from the crannies at the top of the cavern as the rising tide rushes in below.

At Porth also are the Banqueting Hall and the Cathedral Caverns.  The Banqueting Hall stands to the right of the entrance gully to Porth Beach.  There are two entrances to the cave which is about 200 feet long by 60 feet high and about as broad.  The main entrance fronts the sea; the other consists of a small hole at the base of the cliff that forms one side of the cave.  Concerts used to be held in this cave, the acoustic properties of which are magnificent.  In this cave there is also an emergency exit in the roof at the furthest end from the sea.

The Cathedral Cavern nearby, is a fine example of a ‘pillared’ cave.  In the winter of 1883/4 one of the great pillars collapsed and the appearance of the cave was somewhat altered.  As the cave is of considerable extent, and is pitted with waterholes, lights should be taken.  The two passages that will be found just inside the entrance become one again at the extremity of the cave.  White marble has been quarried away from the interior of the cavern which by the way has another opening called the pulpit, to the left of the main entrance and slightly up the face of the cliff.

Further east towards Watergate is the Boulder Cavern which takes its name from the huge masses of boulders that strew its floor, and just beyond is Fern Cavern, its roof a mass of Asplenium Marinum fern fed by the moisture that filters through from above.

At Bedruthan Steps is the Great Cavern with a wonderful arched opening, and a smaller cave quite close by, which is a veritable labyrinth of tunnels.

From the Hon. Sec’s Postbag.

From Tom Pink with the postmark Lauterbrunen.  A postcard of Jungfraugruppe and the following: -

Dear Hon. Sec.  Although I have spent days wandering these mountains and valleys the caving aspects are very poor.  It is certainly no hunting ground for Speleos, the rock is mainly basalt and limestone with few faults.  Best wishes to B.E.C.

We have received from Terry Reed an account of his wanderings in a cave in Curacao, which is too long to be included under the ‘Post Bag’ but will be printed later.  His two plans of caves at Coombe Martin are still awaited from the ‘Drawing Office’.

French Trip to Valence.

It is not known at the moment whether this BB will reach members before the departure date for or not.  But at the next meeting of the persons going the final details were settled and it was very gratifying to the Hon. Sec. to find the whole party accepted his itinerary for the trip without question.  Many hours of hard work has gone into the preparation and organisation of this trip (of course the details from arrival at Valence until departure again are nothing to do with the B.E.C. but are arranged by C.N.S.), direct dealings with French railways etc, cutting the cost considerably over the whole trip.  That we have been able to have these direct dealings with ‘Furrin parts’ is due entirely to Mrs. Stanbury's father, Mr, George Hale, who is very well known in the world of Rugby, and has a phenomenal mass of information about foreign travel and its snags.  Thanks a lot Mr. Hale.


In the June BB a list of articles wanted for the Belfry was given.  Since this we have received a considerable amount of odds and ends, amongst which are;- two mattresses, the gift of Mrs. Stanbury Sen. & Mrs. Rendell, a 40 gallon steel barrel and a number of smaller containers from Les Peters; a promise of a sink; two bells, stew-eaters for the calling of, one from John Ifold the other 's owner unknown, and last but far from least, a Beer Engine (for water pumping) from John Bindon.  Thanks a lot your co-operation is very much appreciated.  Come on the rest of you, turn out your attics!!!