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Monthly Notes.  No.11

by “WIG”


On 2nd February 1968 ‘Fred’ Atwell, Dave Light and Sam Powell ‘found’ a very tight squeeze leading to a decorated chamber.  Only ‘Fred’ could get through and he writes, “….. a very tight squeeze which I had tried six months ago.  I wriggled my way through the squeeze into a large chamber….The formations are white and quite untouched…. I found a passage on the right hand side which went up a little way but came back because the others could not get through the squeeze” (readers will understand why when they realise that ‘Fred’ is about 5’ nothing and proportionally as small the other way round!  Ed.). A sketch plan of what he entered is sown below – does any reader know of this passage?  If you do please send a note to the B.B.


On Saturday 17th February 1968 the 19th Chamber was found by Dave savage (C.D.G.).  The chamber lies about 250ft. further on from the 18th and is very near the resurgence level.  To get to this point involves not only a very long dive but that the diver has to swim to a depth of 70ft. and then rise steeply to the 18th chamber and then on to the 19th at a depth of -10ft. below the show cave water level. It is certainly to be hoped that open passage is not very far away.  When this happens does it increase the length of Swildons or St. Cuthberts’ or Wookey? – It’ll give the club politicians a heyday sorting the problem out.


The Wessex are actively digging two recent collapses in the Hillgrove and Green Ore area.  The first is behind Green Ore Garage and the second in a shake behind the W.C.C. H.Q. at Hillgrove.  From all accounts a short spell of digging at the Hillgrove site showed sizable gaps between the boulders.  After all the hard work put in by the Wessex in this area they certainly deserve some success there. One of the main diggers is John Cornwell who, it would seem is after his ‘triple’.


On 26th November (now it can be told! Ed.) Mr. Glass, the owner of Rookham Wood, came to the Belfry and asked whether anyone was interested in old mineshafts.  A mass visit of festering (because of Foot and Mouth Restrictions) B.E.C. members was the result as soon as the Sunday closing hours permitted!  Members crowded around the top of the hole and soon had the shaft laddered.  It was about 25ft. deep.  Watched by the Glass family Jock Orr and Bob Cross descended the shaft with ‘Wig’ and Kangy taking turns to lifeline where necessary.  At the bottom it sloped away but a mixture of animal skulls, bones, assorted tin cans and other rotting matter prevented Bob from getting far although he became suitably ‘muddied’ in the process.

Later, after some more probing, Alan Thomas persuaded a boulder to disintegrate enabling the cavers to get by.  By courtesy of the W****x C.C. sheer legs were erected above the shaft in February and the following weekend saw several members ‘assisted’ by the climbing section of the B.E.C., Messrs Sell, Sutton and Rees, digging at the bottom of the slope, entered another, but larger, shaft.  On breaking through the others on the surface heard their voices coming up through the ground some little distance from the open shaft.  The three below climbed towards the surface and found that the shaft was capped; this was soon removed and the shaft opened up once more to the light of day.  The depth of the new shaft is 80ft.; 40ft. down to the entry from the shorter shaft. Digging is continuing at the bottom.

On the bitterly cold afternoon of the initial inspection Phil Kingston and ‘Wig’ found a small, choked, hole that was emitting warm air.  This site is further down the valley and could possibly connect with the shaft that is now being dug.  Has anyone details of the shafts in this wood?  As far as I know there are several noted by older members of the B.E.C. just after the 1939-45 war.


To help raise money for the ne Belfry ‘Alfie’ has very kindly given the club copyright of all his Speleodes.  It is intended to publish these in booklet form.  They are being illustrated by Jock Orr.  Further details will appear in the B.B. when available.  Those interested in purchasing a copy should get in touch with Alan Thomas so that he can get some ideas of the likely demand from Club Members. Just think – you can have the ‘Caving Machine’ and ‘Percy Pound’ in your own home.


 - the editor’s deliberate mistake!  To those who did he would like to offer his sincere apologies for putting the time back a month – to those who didn’t well……….!  A reasonable excuse going to be offered by the Editor was that he was experimenting with a fortnightly B.B.! Oh! by the way in case you did not spot the error just glance at the front page of B.B. No. 239 and you will see that it reads ‘January’ instead of ‘February’.