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Once again, in typical B.E.C. fashion, we seem to have got out of the difficulties we were under last month; although this has happened at the last moment.  We have got sufficient articles now not only to be able to publish a big Christmas edition as usual, but to have a go at the record number of pages for a B.B. and to have one long article - of the sort we asked for last month - to start the collection for a large Spring Number next year.  Thanks very much, blokes!

During last year - the one that has nearly ended, that is - there was a suggestion to publish some sort of joint issue of the journals of various caving clubs.  Later on in the year, this got to' be a suggestion to publish a joint edition of the Wessex Journal, The Shepton Mallet Caving Club Journal, and the B.B. for Christmas.  This would have been sent to members of all these clubs and, in the case of the BE.C, would have come out instead of the Christmas edition.

There were many snags of a technical nature which became apparent and which finally led to the cancellation of the idea for this year.  One of these is the fact that enough good articles were not available in time.  If members want a similar venture next year to succeed, we must have articles for use as a 'pool' on which we can draw.

Normally, the Christmas B.B. concentrates on the lighter side of club activities, but you will find that this one has a large proportion of caving news and articles.  We hope you will approve, and take this opportunity to wish all members and all cavers everywhere…

A Very Merry Christmas



The committee wish to record a vote of thanks to John Ifold on his retirement from the position of Hon. Librarian.  John has been the club’s Librarian for many years and at one stage gave the library a home at his house.  The new Hon. Librarian is Sybil Bowden Lyle, as announced in last month's B.B.

A complete list of all books, publications &c held at present in the club library has now been compiled.  Owing to the size of this list (which contains a detailed breakdown of the contents of all books and periodicals) it will not be possible, to give each member a copy.  A limited number of copies are being made and, if you are engaged in some work which entails the use of such a list, please get in touch with the librarian, Miss Sybil Bowden-Lyle at 513 Coronation Road, Southville, Bristol.  A copy of this list will be kept permanently at the Belfry for reference.

The list of back numbers of the B.B. held in the library is incomplete.  Some member's have volunteered to supply back numbers of their own to the library if none can be found, but first we would like to ask whether anyone has any copies, which have been borrowed from the library in the past. Please hunt among your books and return any B.B.'s you may find to the librarian.

December Committee Meeting.

At the December meeting, Gordon Tilley and R.A. Philpot were elected as club members.  Other business dealt with included an agreement for Keith Gardner to form an Archaeological sub-committee; final arrangements for the new drainage scheme; distribution of B.B's and Caving Reports to other clubs and the ordering of a further batch of club ties.           .


Cuthbert's Leader's Meeting

The first Cuthbert's Leader's Meeting was held at the Belfry late in November.  The meeting was chaired by R.A. Setterington.  The following topics represented the main subjects of the meeting:-

Second Report on Cuthbert's.

Bryan Ellis stated that he intended to publish this in January of next year.  He said that he intended to print 75 -100 copies, as this seemed about the right amount, judging from past experience.  This was agreed by the meeting and A. Collins suggested the inclusion of some prints of September Series which he had received for the B.B. from Brian Prewer, but which would not be sufficient for the B.B. This was accepted, and the prints will be included in the report.  After some discussion on the history of the depression prior to the opening of Cuthbert’s, the Chairman suggested a long opening paragraph, giving a short account of this history.


After the present state of the art had been explained by B. Ellis, it was agreed by the meeting to publish what had been surveyed to date in the report, even if this meant that some parts of the survey would have to be of a low grading.  R. Roberts promised to provide a survey of September Series; R. Bennett promised to provide one of the Rocky Boulders and Coral Series and J. Eatough one  of the Cerberus Series.  All this data must be received by Bryan Ellis by the first of January.

A discussion on names of passages followed.  R. Bennett suggested fewer names and said that only important routes, junctions, etc, should be named.  He particularly objected to Surprise Passage.  He suggested that all names be revised, but it was pointed out by P.M. Giles and others that this would throw all past references into confusion.  The meeting agreed that, in general, naming in Cuthbert’s was good and in some cases - such as Oubliette Pitch - excellent and imaginative naming had occurred.

A further suggestion that all names should indicate the part of the cave system in which they were to be found was not considered practicable.

The meeting finally agreed to keep an eye on further naming and warned leaders that this must be done before such names reach the Caving Log and hence the B.B.  It was agreed that the part of the cave sometimes called Cascade Passage should official be known as the Railway Tunnel, and that the passage in September Series is Victory Passage, not Victoria Passage.


A. Collins said that, unless we acted quickly, all the work done in opening the new entrance would be wasted.  The meeting agreed to take urgent action.  M. Baker agreed to contact a source of suitable concrete pipe and B. Prewer agreed to contact Ben Dors as soon as some pipe had been found.  A. Collins said he would prepare the foundations and lay the pipes, but it was not worth starting until the pipes had been delivered.  He would need some assistance with the digging and the Chairman promised to round up some   suitable labour when the time came.  It was decided to fit a chequer plate cover which would be padlocked with the same lock as at present and to install a permanent steel ladder.  After some discussion, it was agreed that, when the new shaft has been satisfactory for some time, the present shaft will be destroyed.

Rescue Arrangements.

P.M. Giles outlined a scheme for a full scale rescue operation in the cave, which should simulate real conditions as far as possible.  The meeting thought this idea was good, but that a first attempt should concentrate in getting a fairly big man, in an unconscious condition, up the entrance pitch.  A. Collins was accordingly chosen and P.M. Giles agreed to make a suitable rescue harness for this operation.


The responsibilities of leaders were discussed at some length.  C.A Marriott announced that his first newsletter was nearly ready and it was agreed that these newsletters should keep all leaders abreast of developments and current problems.  After much discussion on the advisability of removing the names of inactive leaders from the list, it was agreed that the Caving Secretary prepare a rota of all leaders for call on tourist trips.  If a particular leader failed to respond or to give the Caving Secretary a sound reason, this would be brought up to the committee, who would then consider his removal from the list.


It was agreed to purchase plastic tape for taping routes.  M. Baker also agreed to organise a scrubbing party.


The meeting agreed that not enough was being done.  It was felt that the better distribution of information via the leader's News Letters and the publication of a survey in the near future should help here, by highlighting the areas where exploration would be most profitable.

Date of next meeting.

Unless special circumstances intervened, it was proposed to hold Cuthbert's Leader’s Meetings annually, on the Saturday nearest to the Twenty eighth day of November, for easy remembering.


Caving Reports

Caving Report No 6 has now been published, entitled "Some Smaller Mendip Caves." It's contents are Tankard Hole by R.D. Stenner.  Alfie's Hole by S.J. Collins.  Hunter's Hole by B.M. Ellis.  Fairman's Folly by R.D. Stenner.  Vee Swallet by C.A. Marriott and Vole Hole by R.D. Stenner.

Copies are available from B.M. Ellis, 41 Fore St, North Petherton, Bridgwater, Somerset at 2/6 per copy.

Copies are also available of Report No 4 "Shoring of Swallet Cave entrances" and Report No 5" A Survey of Helmets and Lighting Available for Caving." Both these are at 2/6 each.

When ordering by post please include 3d postage (l/- for 2).


The London Mountaineering Club have reserved 12 places for us on the weekend beginning 19th January at  "Fronwydyr" - their hut in Nant Peris.  Although one cannot tell what the weather will be like, we have had some excellent snow climbing in January this year.  Any member who fancies some winter climbing should contact Tony Dunn as soon as possible as 8 places have already been taken.  Transport will be provided and we aim to leave Bristol not later than 6.30 pm on the 19th.

LUD'S CHURCH or the Cavern of Ludchurch.

In the October 1961 issue of 'Country Life' was an article on Lud's Church situated 4½ miles on the eastern side of Axe Edge, Blackbrook Valley, North Staffordshire, two miles N.W. of Swythanley Park and running parallel to a stream 250 yards away.

The entrance is through a natural rock porch, down man made rough steps into the 'cave' - a narrow defile seldom wider than two feet, and sixty feet deep.  At either end are caves.  At the North end, the cave appears to descend almost vertically for "a considerable distance" but, as the article states; there is no record of it ever having been explored.  It recommends that only an experienced potholer equipped with tackle should attempt the venture.  There is a reference to the cave in Vol. 20 of the British Caver.



Pot Bottomer's Delight

by Chris Falshaw.

Having spent two years in Nottingham learning that Bass can be either mild or bitter and that the river Trent contains some of the smallest fish in England, I decided that it was high time I did some caving, Derbyshire being on our doorstep as it were.

Accordingly I have made contact with the Four Days Club here in Nottingham and have been on a couple of trips with them.  Last week we “did” Giant’s Hole together with five B.S.A. chaps from Sheffield.  We entered the cave at 7 pm on Saturday and after a short trudge along the Stream Passage we were forced onto hands and knees, then stomach, into nine inches of water. Two hundred feet from the entrance we came to the first sump, but a short climb up the left hand wall led to the most obnoxious crawl I have met for a long time.  Pillar Crawl is not very tight and not too wet, but there is a series of gours containing the blackest and foulest water imaginable, similar to coal dust soup with a dash of sump oil.  A descending passage then leads to a short crawl - with water - to the infamous "Bypass Passage Sump".  This sump was then transferred by a complex baling operation to a series of three dams leading back up the passage we had just descended and in the process creating a sump in our rear (don’t you mean at our rear? Ed). The baling apparatus consisted in hurling water about in junior oil drums and wetting as many people as possible. After an hour's baling, we were able to pass through a crawl into a fair sized chamber, which contained some fine stal flow of a whiter then whiteness colour.  From the lower edge of the chamber we descended a fifty foot permanent steel ladder - Garland's Pot - singing the praises of Messrs Dunlop and Frankenstein as the main stream was with us once more.  The base of the pitch led into a small chamber where the party stopped for fags.

And this is where the fun really starts.  The Giant's Crab Walk.  'The crabs down here jump six feet high mainly because they can't jump sideways, I suppose.  This passage consists of three thousand feet of “Random Hole Distribution" and this is the main trouble - the constant change of direction.  It is something like an insane eel crossed with a whale’s intestine.  The passage itself is not uncomfortably tight, but it is narrow enough to have to go sideways for the main part.  The walls through the passage show fine scallop marks about two to three inches across and occasionally on the vertical descents there are some fine groovings.

At the end of the Crab Walk we came to a tight bit, the Vice - which, of course, we passed with consummate ease – and which was shortly followed by the second sump, which we bypassed via a series of Rabbit Warren type passages (hence this part becomes a little hazy).  Eventually we reached a sixty foot drop - Geology Pot - which, in contrast to the rest of the cave so far, was dry.  This pot was followed by a twenty five foot drop with the   stream.  The ladder hung in the stream and a right bashing by the water was unavoidable.  So were unable to proceed much further than this, as the rest of the system was flooded.  This meant that there was about eighty feet of flood water in the cave.

He  retraced our  steps to the Bypass Passage  Sump and then climbed up into the roof to have  a look at  some formations and a  high level  sump that  the B.S.A. are working on.  We eventually reached open air at 3 am to a high wind and the sound of snapping guy lines from out tents.


Bottlehead Slocker

by Jill Rollason

Another cave was recently added to the Mendip total when Mite Thompson, Dave Causer and party broke into a new system at Dowhhead, two miles from Stoke Lane.  The cave entrance is novel - a shed is built against a rift in a small cliff, and visitors walk into the front entrance of the shed, and straight out again through the back, where an old oil drum can be seen lying on its side with much other rubbish. This oil drum is the entrance.

The rift lies at one side of a shallow valley which takes a good stream, now diminished by a waterworks reservoir at the head of the valley.  The stream sinks about ten feet, from the rift and is only encountered again at the lowest point of the system known so far.

The cave has been named Bottlehead from the locality and not from the quantity of bottles and tins blocking the entrance - apt though this might be.  It was open (but not explored) until about sixty years ago, but was gradually blocked by rubbish tipped into it.  The local farmer is very keen to have it opened and is very obliging since he is sure that he has a lucrative show cave of the future on his property and cannot be convinced otherwise!

The system consists chiefly of a wide bedding plane at an angle, of approximately forty degrees, and after sliding through the oil drum, progress is made downward through miscellaneous boulders and china for about twenty feet until the bottom, of the rubbish scree is reached.  After this, the bed carries on down in a series of small steps, the height of the roof varying from about ten feet to eighteen inches, and the width of the bedding plane being perhaps thirty feet across, but half blocked by boulders. After gradually working over to the left of the bedding plane, a drop of about six feet leads into a solutional rift chamber with a fine false floor now at waist level and some stalagmitic flow. About twenty feet further along this chamber is a deep pot in the floor, at the bottom of which is a rift where the stream is met approximately forty feet below the chamber.

When the cave was first entered, the top of the pot was blocked by a boulder the size of a piano, which was removed by Mike's special brand of magic.  When the debris had been disposed of, an attack was made on the boulder pile beneath, until a rift was entered.  This was nearly closed at the bottom by a mixture of rocks and a particularly glutinous mud, but there was air¬space to the stream beneath, which could be heard very clearly.  Digging over the following three weekends enabled the diggers to reach the water, where they were disappointed to find that the stream welled up into the passage through a six inch hole in the floor and disappeared after about ten feet into a slot only a few inches high.  Work has stopped temporarily until the next move is decided.

Bottlehead Slocker is approximately 250' long, 100' deep and is well worth a visit, especially by those who fancy a gentle cave the day after an enjoyable evening at the Hunters.


My Search For Bushman Paintings

by Sybil Bowden-Lyle.

When touring this summer in the Kruger National Park, South. Africa, with Afrikaner friends I saw my first Bushman painting.  To Grits and Kowie +Wium, my companions, it was disappointing: a wee reddish daub in a gloomy rock shelter behind an iron grating, put there to prevent tourists from, touching it: but I was very thrilled and pleased. Poking my camera through the grating as far as I could, I aimed at the 'daub' and hoped for the best.  It was fairly successful.

Later we stayed with Kowie's brother in Uniondale, a small township in Cape Province in the Little Karroo, where, from maps I knew the Bushmen had lived in large numbers.  Nobody in the district seemed interested in the possibility of paintings but, with typical South African hospitality, Sonny Wium made enquiries.  As the local doctor, his duties took him over a very extensive area and he knew all the farmers.  One of them twenty miles away, believed that one of his native boys had seen one somewhere on the farm.  We set out, five adults, four children and one native boy.  Fortunately, the rock shelter was easily accessible, although off the beaten track, just up the steep slope of a cactus covered kopie.  This time everybody was pleased for there were twenty five human figures all in the reddish paint, each one different, some; carrying bows, others shields and all nude, about five to six inches high and showing the two noted characteristics of a Bushman - enlarged pear shaped buttocks and a semi-erect penis.  In some places, superimposed at times, were various dots showing the finger prints of the Bushman artist of many years ago.  I tried to puzzle out their design but in the hour that I stayed there alone, making drawings and counting the figures and the 167 dots, I failed to find a reason for the dots being where they were, they did not follow the contours of the rock, and neither did they form any picture, just a maze of large and small finger and thumb prints, mostly black but some in red.  I took several photographs but in the car on the return Journey, the camera slipped to the floor, unnoticed, and lay above the exhaust pipe.  The whole film was completely ruined.

Before I left I returned to the farm, to thank the farmer for his help and for the loan of the native guide.  It was then that he told me that several years ago, an 'archaeologist' had asked to see these paintings.  Permission was given and the man visited the rock shelter.  Hours later he returned carrying a large chunk of rock upon which were the best paintings.  Naturally the farmer had been furious at the theft and the vandalism.  These paintings are now in the homestead and since then no-one has been granted permission to search his land.   I was extremely lucky, for Sonny is one of the most well loved and respected people in the whole area, and, without his introduction, I should never have been allowed to see these works of art.

The next painting was much more difficult to find, but, by this time, though Kowie and Grita had returned to working Cape Town, I was back in my beloved karroo with a now highly interested doctor and his just as interested family, plus another intrigued farmer.  We set out in a truck into the bush, startling wild zebra and springbok on the way.  After five miles of bumping and jolting over soil eroded stream beds and an axle-destroying track, we left the truck and entered the kloof, a kind of ravine.  Pushing our way between thorn bushes, prickly pear, various cacti, over boulders and in and out of the stream, we searched every rock shelter up on the side of the cliffs.  Neither the farmer or his friend, who carried the rifle as a protection against the many leopards which live in the region, knew where to find the painting - they had only heard rumours in their boyhood days.

Gradually the party became separated. Sonn', Juna and-the kids decided to return to the truck as the way became too difficult for the children, and Sonny intended to come again. While we had a brief consultation, the two farmers, thinking that we were all following, disappeared round a bend in the kloof.  For the next half hour I was alone in country where the two leopards had been shot the previous week.  As they attack on sight and not only when hungry, I moved on as quickly as possible to reach the protection of the men and the gun, but my feet refused to go past any rock shelter until my eyes had scanned the walls for tiny bushman paintings. Leopards or no leopards, I was determined to search the cliffs but every time I rounded a bend I expected to see a prowling beast.  I didn't know whether to make as much din as possible with my feet and scare off any would be diner or to move as silently as possible.  That scared me most, as then my ears strained to hear possible animal movements; the whereabouts of distant farmers; the sudden far off bark of the dogs or the echo of a gun shot.  All I did hear was the pounding of my own heart.  At last I caught up with the men and their dogs and we continued down waterfalls and up cliffs.

After a mile and a half we forsook the dogs as we found the shelter.  There were fewer figures but some animal paintings deer of some type. While recovering our breath, as the shelter was about fifty feet up a steep climber's type climb with a traverse of thirty feet over a drop, I started to scratch around in the floor roughly where a possible fire would have been lit by the bushman inhabitants. There, about eighteen inches down, was a charred stone; a largish piece of charred tortoiseshell and a bone. These I brought hack with me.  We just managed to return to the truck before the sun sank in the most unusual sunset I have ever seen.  That has proved successful as a colour print.

The fourth painting was the most difficult to reach, although the rock shelter was plainly visible from the track.  Sonny was by now even more eager to see paintings than I was.  While Juna and the children had a picnic by the car, we tried to cross the river channels of black water of unknown depth, hidden by twelve foot high pampas grass and tangled plants.  Half a mile downstream, I saw willow trees by an outcrop of rock and these I reached fairly easily.  After ten minutes of pushing, shoving and muttering, I managed to make a pathway through the excessive growth near the river.  Eventually I crossed the channels with the aid of the willows and remained dry. Sonny, who was determined to see the paintings before I did, got soaked, but the paintings were worth the effort.

Above several deer were figures forming an ellipse.  They were evidently dancing and were joined together by bows and bow-like instruments similar to those of present day Zulus whom I saw.  Well pleased, we returned via cactus and thorn bushes to the willow trees and home.  Sonny, his interest really roused, has contacted more farmers; heard tell of several more paintings and his telegram delivered at the airport of departure in Jo'burg told me   "Have found more paintings.  Come again."

Unfortunately I had promised to return to school in just over 24 hours - but next time I go to South Africa.......!


Balch's Hole

by Jill Rollason.

A cave was discovered on Mendip on the 3rd of November 1961, by a workman inspecting the rock face of a quarry, and the hole was first entered by members of the Cerberus Club who made arrangements for some-members of the B.E.C. to see and photograph this very beautiful system the following week.

The party made one abortive visit to the cave entrance on the 12th November, working for four hours to get the entrance sufficiently stable without success.  'Gardening', in this case meant touching rocks of many hundredweight with a twelve foot crowbar which then fell out of the roof and crashed terrifyingly to the floor about fifty feet below.  The quarry owners kindly blasted away some of the worst rock for us during the week, and a further three hours gardening on the 19th of November enabled us to face the roof hopefully if not optimistically.  Morale was not improved by the comments of the quarry foreman who said very definitely that we were crazy to risk it; that fifty tons of rock at least had fallen in the day before, and finally went off muttering "Tha's bad rock, mister' - tha's baaaaaaaad rock".

The party, consisting of Gordon Selby, Brian Prewer, Jim Giles, Mike Thompson, Alfie Collins and myself, decided to risk it.  Entry is made by an awkward rope climb up to the entrance, which opens immediately to the Main Chamber which is of almost G.B. proportions except for length and can hardly be more than ten feet below ground level in places.  A fifty foot ladder climb down a steep slope, exposed all the way to any falling rocks, leads to the bottom which is piled up with large newly detached boulders.  A traverse round a pitch in the floor and a scramble over boulders leads into stable cave beginning with a wide, level passage; wonderfully decorated with pure white and transparent stalactites.  Straws, fantastic helictites and fine pillars are abundant and the floor is crystalline with some rimstone pools.  At this point Messrs Giles and Collins decided simultaneously that this was it, and began to set up photographic gear.

The passage ends abruptly in a twenty-foot ladder climb into a small chamber with two exits, one disappearing in a pool of water after about twenty five feet, and the other leading into the further reaches of the cave.  A short scramble up a stalagmite bank brings you to a T-junction and an old stream passage which contains dead water at most times.  The water was motionless and knee deep on this occasion, but must have risen over eighteen inches over the last fortnight, as Brian Prewer said that the Cerberus party he had been on had originally found the passage dry at this point.

The stream passage to the left leads through a series of decorated rifts, mainly of sparkling flowstone, but there is a fine grotto fillet with pure white stalactites and pillars and a magnificent set of organ pipes - also white - about ten feet wide and fifteen feet high.  The main rift in this passage may lead up into another passage but it was not possible to explore without spoiling the formations.  Voice connection was made between the next rift and the photographer's paradise above the twenty foot pitch.  There is at least one bypass and the route ends where the roof meets a stalagmite floor, where a good set of gours can be seen.  A particular feature of the whole cave is the crystal on walls, roof and floor which sparkles in every beam of light.

The stream passage to the right is often only eighteen inches high, but is again a series of rifts richly decorated with, curtains and flowstone, very white.  After a while a large, chamber is entered, about four times as large as the Old Grotto in Swildons - very attractive - with two passages leading off.  One is nearly filled with water and the other is the route down via a mud slide to the true stream passage and the sump.

Mike Thompson made the trip especially to dive the sump and passed it successfully.  Unfortunately, he then encountered a second sump about ten feet beyond which has temporarily halted progress, but this second sump does not appear to be a difficult one and may well be dived in the near future.

Anyone wishing to visit the cave should get in touch with our Cerberus representative, Brian Prewer. Unauthorised visitors to the cave - which is named in honour of "Herby" Balch - will antagonise the quarry owners, who have been more than obliging, and also expose themselves to some danger from loose rocks.

Editor’s Note:    It has been pointed out to me that Balch's Hole is very similar to Stoke Lane Slocker in some respects.  If the entrance to Stoke was at the other end of the cave, and one went through the large chambers to the stream passage and thence to the sump, you would have a state of affairs very much like that in Balch's Hole.


Plantation Stream

(Is it a misnomer?)

by Bryan Ellis.

Throughout this article the following names are used for streams.  Main Stream - the stream flowing through St. Cuthbert's Swallet from the choke to the duck via Sewer Passage.  Plantation Stream - the tributary joining the Main Stream at Plantation Junction in the cave.  St. Cuthbert's Stream - the surface stream sinking in the large depression by the cave entrance.  Plantation Swallet Stream - the surface stream sinking in Plantation Swallet.

During the original exploration of St. Cuthbert's Swallet, a large tributary was found to join the Main Stream at the Eastern end of Sewer Passage; a tributary producing more water than the Main Stream in fact.  The only swallet known in the area of sufficient size was Plantation Swallet and therefore the tributary in the cave was called plantation Stream, but not without a certain amount of misgiving.  Because of the possibility of pollution, and the later agreement between the club and the owners of the cave, the water could not be contaminated by chemicals in sufficient quantity to prove the connection.  Don Coase was against any attempted proof for this reason and considered the point to be in any case only of academic interest.

In October 1957, Norman petty took a series of water temperature readings at various places in the cave and reported the results in the “Belfry Bulletin" No 118.  Those of interest to this article are as follows:-

Plantation Swallet Stream

Plantation Stream

Main Stream Dining Room

Pool of Still water in R. Warren





In recording these readings, Norman boldly assumes that Plantation Swallet Stream and Plantation Stream are the same, flowing via Continuation Chamber, but Coase - in commenting on these readings - thought that as the temperature drop was so small, the water could not be the same.

In the following B.B. (No 119 for December 1957) Don again comments on the water temperature readings and mentions that in November 1955, a few readings taken by Roy Bennett again showed the temperature of Plantation Stream to be different from that of the Main Stream.  On this occasion, Plantation Stream was 2.2o colder, presumably because of the air temperature on the surface being lower than the assumed ambient cave temperature of 8.5oF.  His conclusion was still the same, that Plantation Swallet Stream and Plantation Stream were not connected.

At Coase's suggestion, Norman petty and Paul Burt took a further and more comprehensive series of. readings of water temperatures  in December 1957 and the readings were given in the B.B. for January  1958 No 120.  On this occasion, the relevant temperatures were:-

Plantation Swallet Stream

Plantation Stream

St. Cuthbert's Stream

Main Stream in Sewer Passage





A theory was put forward by Petty and Burt as follows.  The surface air temperature was known to have risen considerably shortly before the surface stream temperatures were taken and therefore they proposed that the slower moving St. Cuthbert's Stream had approached nearer to the new air temperature than had the swiftly flowing water of plantation Swallet Stream.  The Main Stream in the cave had risen still further to reach the ambient cave temperature but Plantation Stream - although it had risen - had not reached the cave temperature.  Now, if the source of Plantation Stream was not Plantation Swallet Stream, then it must be  seepage water because there is nothing else on the surface and any seepage water would be at least at the temperature of the St, Cuthbert's Stream, because  it would be even slower moving.  As St. Cuthbert's Stream had reached cave temperature by the time it had become Main Stream at Plantation Junction, seepage water would also have done so.  But Plantation Stream is colder.  Therefore Plantation Stream must be the continuation of the stream entering plantation Swallet. Q.E.D.!

This theory seemed plausible, even reasonable, but there was still no proof of the connection.  Norman and Paul also took samples of the water from Plantation Swallet Stream and from St. Cuthbert’s Stream and chemical analysis showed the former to contain a considerably concentration of chloride ions than the latter.  Their intention was to analyse samples of the water from Main Stream and Plantation Stream in the hope  that a similar difference would be found, thus adding further weight  to their theory.   Unfortunately, it is not known whether these further samples were ever collected and tested because no further reference to them is found in the B.B.

The possible use of accumulative detectors was then realised.  These would 'add together' the  results of  several very small introductions of chemicals, and each of these introductions on their own could thus be  kept well below the minimum level which could cause contamination of the water.  The next episode in the story - as far as is known - was when in May 1958, the present author assisted Chris Falshaw in an attempt to prove the connection that had been hypothesized by Paul Burt and Norman Petty.  In the Caving Log for May 1958 (published in B.B. No 125) will be found a brief account of the setting up of 'instruments' in Plantation Stream and a negative result is implied.  In a later B.B. (No. 128, September 1958) Chris writes a little more about the experiment and explains that it consisted of adding paper maker's Alum to the water at Plantation Swallet and attempting to collect it on an ion exchange column placed in Plantation Stream.  He states that for a variety of (un-named) reasons, the results are suspect.  He mentions also that further water temperature readings had been taken, but gives no figures.

That, then, was the story as obtained from the "Belfry Bulletin" when the author carried out a further experiment during July 1961.  In Volume 3, Number 3 of the "Bulletin of the Bradford Pothole Club” Terry Marston describes a new method of water tracing that has been developed by members of the B.P.C.  Its application to the Plantation Stream problem was immediately seen.  Very briefly, the method consists of adding a very small quantity of dye to the water and collecting it at the other end of the test on specially treated hanks of cotton placed in the water.  The advantages of this method of water tracing over the more usual methods of using fluorescein are numerous.  The dye used is non-injurious to all known fresh water organisms (even the C.R.G. bug, hunters have approved its use) the small quantities required decrease cost and the danger of contamination at the resurgence; the effect is accumulative; and, most important of all, all the possible places for the re-appearance of the dye do not have to be watched continuously for an unknown length of time - one just collects the hanks of cotton at a later date!

The survey showed that Plantation Swallet lay to the East of most of the known cave and therefore the intention was to place cotton detectors in the following streams: Maypole Series; September Series; Continuation Chamber; Tin Mine and Plantation Stream.  However, when the detectors were being placed in position on the 15th July, the party was not capable of this round trip and as a preliminary experiment it was necessary to make do with these sites: Wire Rift; Maypole Stream; Main Stream at the bottom of Everest Passage and also in Sewer Passage; Plantation Stream and the Duck. After leaving the cave, twenty five grams (less than one, ounce) of the dye was added to Plantation Swallet Stream.

The following weekend, the six cotton hanks were removed from the cave and treated to remove the impurities that also stain them, and sometimes mask the dye coloration.  The results were as follows: Maypole Stream; Wire Rift; Main Stream near Everest Passage and Sewer Passage - all negative. Plantation Stream and Duck - both positive.  Therefore it is now possible to state definitely that Plantation Stream does flow from Plantation Swallet and does not have to be classed with the so-called ‘Priddy Green Stream' in Swildons Hole - as a misnomer.  One must be extremely careful in interpreting negative results in water tracing, but as the result was positive at the Duck as well as Plantation Stream (but nowhere else) it seems safe to say that none of the water from Plantation Swallet reaches the Main Stream before Plantation Junction.


Annual List of Club Member’s’ Names and Addresses

This list, which is published every year, is that which is possessed by the B.B. Postal Department and is the list of members to whom the B.B.’s are currently sent.  If your name is not on this lists or your address is wrong, please get in touch at once with the Postal Department.  C.A. Marriot, 718 Muller Road, Eastville, Bristol.


S.F. Alway

102 Whiteladies Road, Clifton, Bristol 8


T Andrews

135 Danson Road, Bexley, Kent


T. Attwood

4 Bridge Road, Shortwood, Nr. Mangotsfield, Bristol


P.J. Badcock

Sarnia House, Coronation Street, Barnstaple, Devon


R.J. Bagshaw

699 Wells Road, Knowle, Bristol 4


M.J. Baker

Morello, Ash Lane, Wells, Somerset


D.J. Balcombe

58 Lebanon Road, Croydon, Surrey


R. Bater

108 Memorial Road, Hanam, Bristol


R. Bennett

3 Russets Cottages, Backwell Common, Somerset.


J. Bennett

3 Russets Cottages, Backwell Common, Somerset


D. Berry

1 York Place, St. Augustine’s , Brandon Hill, Bristol


W.L. Beynon

Bulimba Hostel, Brisbane Street, Bulimba, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia


P. Bird

City Museum, Queens Road, Bristol


P.M. Blogg

1 Ridgeway Park, Ridgeway, Bristol


P.J. Borchard

35 Hallstead Road, Harrogate, Yorkshire


Miss S. Bowden-Lyle

51 Coronation Road, Bristol 3


N Brooks

Pine Lodge, Park Avenue, Camberley, Surrey.


P. Burt

3 Manor House, Rothamsted, Harpendon, Herts


Mrs P. Burt

3 Manor House, Rothamsted, Harpendon, Herts


M. Calvert

2 Eden Villas, Larkhill, Bath, Somerset


R Casling

51 Oakdale Road, Downend, Bristol


B.R. Chamberlain

102 Egerton Road, Bishopston, Bristol 7


D. Causer

19 Kenmore crescent, Filton Park, Bristol 7


Mrs C. Coase

Address to follow


S.J. Collins

33 Richmond Terrace, Clifton, Bristol 8


D. Cooke-Yarborough.

The Beeches, St. Briavels, Lydney, Glos


J. Cornwell

26 Russell Road, Fishponds, Bristol


A.J. Crawford

3 Hillside, Harefield, Uxbridge, Middelsex


F.G. Darbon

43 Arthur Henderson House, Fulham Road, Fulham, London, S.W.6


J. Davey

25 Hanson Lane, Halifax, Yorks


Mrs A. Davies

10 Bramley Road, Street, Somerset


R. Davies

Earley Road, Reading, Berkshire


I Dear

B.T.V. Staedy, c/o C.D. Office, Portsmouth Dockyard


G. Dell

5 Millground Road, Withywood, Bristol 3


K.C. Dobbs

85 Fox Road, Pinhoe, Exeter, Devon


J. Downie

Dimlands, Llantwit Major, Glamorgan


A.J. Dunn

63 Oakdale Road, Downend, Bristol


J.A. Etough

116 Newbridge Road, Brislington, Bristol


B.M. Ellis

41 Fore Street, North Petherton, Somerset


D. England

7 Frome Way, Winterbourne, Bristol


C. Falshaw

2 Home Croft, Bramcote, Nottingham


Mrs C. Falshaw

2 Home Croft, Bramcote, Nottingham


P.G. Faulkner

251 Rowah Crescent, Langley, Middleton, Manchester


A. Fincham

Leeds University Union, Leeds 2


T. Fletcher

The Old Mill House, Parnack, Nr. Stamford, Lincs


D.C. Ford

Department  of Geography, Hamilton College, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada



77 Kingshill Road, Knowle, Bristol 4


G.A. Fowler

18 Clayton Street, Avonmouth, Bristol


K. Franklin

18 Clayton Street, Avonmouth, Bristol


P. Franklin

22 Hervey Road, Wells, Somerset


A. Francis

Keedwell Cottage, Providence Lane, Long Ashton, Somerset


K.S. Gardner

Keedwell Cottage, Providence Lane, Long Ashton, Somerset


Mrs K. Gardner

92 The Grampains, Shepherd’s Bush Road, London


M.C. Garton

P.O.’s Mess, R.N.A.S. Yeovilton, Yeovil, Somerset


P.M. Giles

34 Oaklands Avenue, Northrowane, Halifax, Yorks


D. Greenwood

164 St. John’s Lane, Bristol 3


G.H. Griffiths

34 Dodworth Drive, Mettlethorpe, Wakefield, Yorkshire


S.H. Grime

The Spinney, Rickman Hill, Coulsdon, Surrey


M.H. Grimes

34 Gatehouse Close, Withywood, Bristol 3


D. Gwinnel

23673215, H.Q. Eastern Command, AMM. INSP., Mill Hill, London NW7


N.P. Hallett

Myndeep, Westwood Drive, Pill, Somerset


M. Hannam

14 Market Place, Wells, Somerset


C.W. Harris

‘Hill House’, Moorlynch, Bridgwater, Somerset


D. Hassell

147 Evington Lane, Leicester


C.J. Hawkes

55 Ravenswood Road, Redland, Bristol


R.C. Hawkins

174 Wick Road, Brislington, Bristol 4


M.J. Healey

29 Highbury Road, Horfield, Bristol


J.W. Hill

135 Doncaster Road, Southmead, Bristol


S.M. Hobbs

Field View, Shepton Mallet, Somerset


M. Holland

The Hive, c/o Mr. Giddings, Boat House, Hemingford Grey, Huntingdon


G. Honey

Leigh House, Nempnett, Chew Stoke, Somerset.


J. Ifold

Sunnyside, Rectory Lane, Compton Martin, Somerset


P. Ifold

40 Richmond Street, Totterdown, Bristol


B.J. Isles

89 Broadwalk, Knowle, Bristol 4


M. Isles

50 Acacia Road, Bournville, Birmingham 30


Miss P. Irwin

38 Southdown Road, Emmer Green, Reading, Berkshire


R. Jones

3 Durham Street, Eslwich Road, Newcastle-on- Tyne.


U. Jones

1a East Avenue, Cheadle, Cheshire


W.F. Jones

35 Stothard Avenue, Lockleaze, Bristol 7


G.M. Joyner

1 Lynmouth Road, Bristol 2


R.S. King

East Anglia Brigade Depot, Burt Street, St. Edmonds, Suffolk


R. Kitchen

15 St. Martins Road, Knowle, Bristol 4


Miss L. Knight

61 Worton Way, Isleworth, Middlesex


T. Knight

365 Filton Avenue, Horfield, Bristol 7


J. Lamb

12 St. Aubins Avenue, Broomhill, Brislington, Bristol 4


B.T. Lane

14 Willow View, Bairstow Lane, Sowerby Bridge, Yorks


J.M. Lane

7 Staff Cottages, Farleigh Hospital, Flax Bourton, Nr. Bristol


A.G. Lee

52 Clifton Down Road, Clifton, Bristol 8


M. Luckwill

8 Park Road, Lower Weston, Bath, Somerset


B. Lynn



P. Mack

22 Kingshold Road, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol


C.A. Marriott

718 Muller Road, Eastville, Bristol 5


T.K. Marston

23 Lockyear Road, Mutley, Plymouth, Devon


E.J. Mason

11 Kendon Drive Wellington Hill West, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol


P.J. Miller

130 Longmead Avenue, Bishopston, Bristol 7


D.W. Mitchell

2 Selwood Road, Frome, Somerset


G. Mossman

5 Arlington Gardens, Arlington Villas, Clifton, Bristol 8


K. Murray

17 Harrington Gardens, South Kensington, London, S.W.7


A. Nash

23714348 Pte A.G. (Int) Kahawa Camp, B.F.P.O. 10


T.W. Neil

Bradley Cross, Cheddar, Somerset


Mrs T.W. Neil

Bradley Cross, Cheddar, Somerset



Oldfield Park Lodge, Wells Road, Bath, Somerset


M.A. Palmer

Cathedral Coffee Tavern, 3 St. Thomas Street, Wells, Somerset


Miss S.E. Paul

14 Upper Brighton Road, Surbiton, Surrey


L. Peters

21 Melbury Road, Knowle, Bristol 4


N. Petty

12 Bankside Road, Brislington, Bristol


A. Philpot

3 Kings Drive, Bishopston, Bristol


T. Pink

53 Burnthwaite Road, Fulham, London SW6


G. Platten

‘Rutherfield’, Fernhill Lane, New Milton, Hants.


B. Prewer

Greenfields Farm, Upper Coxley, Wells, Somerset


R.J. Price

2 Weeks Road, Bishop Sutton, Somerset


L. Pritchard

58 Belper Road, Derby


J.M. Pullman

Badgers Wood, Brockley, Bristol


D. Radmore

2 Dunkeld Road, Filton, Bristol


J. Ransom

15 South View, Lenthay, Sherborne, Dorset


C.H.G. Rees

10 Clarence Road, Bristol 2


Mrs Rees

10 Clarence Road, Bristol 2


A.L.C. Rice

13 Wades Road, Filton, Bristol


A. Rich

c/o Pox 126, Basham, Alberta, Canada


P.A. Richards

119 Welbeck Road, West Harrow, Middlesex


Mrs P.A. Richards

119 Welbeck Road, West Harrow, Middlesex


R.J. Roberts

5 Bennett Street, Bath, Somerset


Mrs Robinson

10 Linden Road, Redland, Bristol 6


G. Robinson

10 Linden Road, Redland, Bristol 6


Miss J.P. Rollason

157 Pen Park Road, Redland, Bristol 6


A. Sandall

35 Beauchamp Road, Bishopston, Bristol 7.


Mrs. A. Sandall

35 Beauchamp Road, Bishopston, Bristol 7.


B.M. Scott

23 Gunter Grove, Chelsea, London SW16


G. Selby

38 Hawkers Lane, Wells, Somerset


R. Setterington

4 Galmington Lane, Taunton, Somerset


R. Setterington

5 Moycullen Court. 96 Maida Vale, London W.9


J. Simonds

31 Springfield Lane, Teddington, Middlesex


C. Smith

48 Windsor Road Leyton, London E10


D. Smith

3 Providence Place, Reading, Berks.


J. Stafford

Wern Isaf, Pethel, Cearns


Mrs. I. Stanbury

74, Redcatch Road, Knowle, Bristol. 4.


T.H. Stanbury

6 Aubrey Road, Bristol 3


R. Stenner

38 Paultow Road, Victoria Park, Bristol 3


Mrs. Stenner

38 Paultow Road, Victoria Park, Bristol 3


P.A.E. Stewart

397 Walton Road, West Molesley, Surrey


D.M. Thomas

12 Clarence Road, Bristol 2


M. Thompson

Ashen Hill Cottage, Priddy, Somerset


J. Tierney

Flat 3, 37 Hawley Sq., Margate, Kent


G.E. Todd

Sundayshill Cottage, Falfield, Glos


J. Tompsett

Mallins, Lodge Avenue, Great Baddow, Chelmsford, Essex


Mrs. D. Tompsett

Mallins, Lodge Avenue, Great Baddow, Chelmsford, Essex


E. Towler

11 St. Phillips Road, London E8


S. Tuck

38 Westbury Hill, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol


R.M. Wallis

Swildons, 343 Upton Lane, Widnes, Lancs


G.O. Weston

126 Woodside Road, Beaumont Park, Huddersfield


Mrs. G. Weston

126 Woodside Road, Beaumont Park, Huddersfield


J. Waddon

7 Haydon Road, Taunton, Somerset


C.F.W. Wheadon

237600799 Infantry Workshop R.E.M.E. Rhine Camp, Dhekelia, B.F.P.O. 53


R. Winch

1 Stanley Villa, Crewkerne, Chard, Somerset


R.A. Woodford

80 Torrington Road, Ruislip, Middlesex


E.A. Woodwell

50 Glanfield Road, Beckenham, Kent


R.F. Wyncoll

9 St. Christians Croft, Cheylesmore, Coventry




































































































































































































































































































1 Across:  Trail pew to track down your quarry (8)
5  Across:  More appropriate across than down (8)
9  Across:  The Shepton……(5)
10 Across: 373560 (6)
11 Across: Seen in French caves & until recently near the Belfry (3,3)
12 Across: I do it, being stupid (5)
13 Across: Water may in ground or you in water (4)
16 Across: There is a singular version of 41 across having this 30 across in G.B. (4)
17 Across: Found in static layer (4)
18 Across: Not normally found in 5 down (4)
23 Across: A contribution to a pillar eventually (11,6)
24 Across: Let tool shed back'er (describes it’s situation nicely!) (10,7)
29 Across: Dear’s is curtailed here.  (4)
30 Across: 1 and 10 across are examples of this   (4)
32 Across: Common to Chamber, Wood or Hole on Mendip.   (4)
33 Across: Do this and you may make a 25 down (or find trouble)   (4)
35 Across: a 34 down in Cuthbert’s.  (5)
37 Across: ‘Tis sex – and with us now. (6)
38 Across: A 29 across.  (6)
39 Across: Runs on twacks.  (5)
40 Across: Morton's Pot has them and Swildons has the middle Part.  (8)
41 Across: See 14 down (8)

1   Down:  Three cubed from Bristol (5,3)
2   Down:  Poisons (6)
3   Down:  36 down may not have it, but 18 across does (4)
4   Down:  Wine drips on dry bar - One over the eight, presumably!  (6,4,7)
5   Down:  18 across is not-normally encountered here(3,2,8,4)
6   Down:  This hole has recently been reported. (4)
7   Down:  Not possessed by 12 across. (6)
8   Down:  Dig in. (8)
14 Down:  You could wear this caving or 17 across could this a 41 across   (4)      
15 Down:  Only mugs are this, presumably (4)
19 Down:  Bend to put nothing in 34 or 36 down. (5)
20 Down:  You might have beer on this, but don't put beer on it.  (5)
21 Down:  A form of 26 down. (5)
22 Down:  Inclined.   (5)
24 Down:  They are painted in many colours in song.  (8)
25 Down:  Water movement in Red Dye.   (4)
26 Down:  The 21 down type of this may use a part of this beheaded   (4)
27 Down:  Concerning photographs (or second hand articles)  (8)
28 Down:  Describes the start of no caving trip   (2,4)
31 Down:  4 or 6 are heard in the Hunter's   (6)
34 Down:  35 across means this   (4)
36 Down:  See 3 down or 19 down. (4)


by the Editor

That's all for this issue - a new record number pf pages for the B-B.  We must apologise to those who sent in articles which did not get printed. Especially to Jim Giles, who has sent in an excellent review of the year's digging activities which will be printed very shortly.  Observant readers will also note that, in addition to all the usual typing errors, two new forms of typewriter pox have struck.  One is sticking of letters due to the damp and is being remedied by taking all the keys out and washing them in "omo" and "the other is carriage sticking - causing printing like the 'and' being squashed.  If any member knows the cure for this, we shall be mosy obliged.


The Belfry Bulletin. Secretary. R.J. Bagshaw, 699, Wells Rd, Knowle , Bristol 4.
Editor, S.J. Collins, 33, Richmond Terrace, Clifton, Bristol 8.
Postal Dept. C.A. Marriott, 718, Muller Rd, Eastville, Bristol.