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Cave Gates

The gating of caves has been a subject of argument for quite some time.  Below a member states his views on the topic –

Lets have your opinion for the next B.B. –

“The ‘Anti Gaters’ are not going to like the latest news.  OFD I is being gated.  (The reason why is given on page 52 Ed).

When one hears their arguments it appears they have little to say when considered against the argument for cave preservation alone.  Of all the Mendip caves St. Cuthbert’s is the best preserved – even this is slowly being spoiled.  Can we not instil in cavers that a cave is a place of beauty; a place that ought to be treated as a piece of rare art.  Once formations are damaged there is little we can do to replace them – except perhaps to install a plastic replica.  The caves that are open are usually so filthy that a couple of sacks would not clear the places out.  If gating helps preservation; to end ‘Kilroy was here’ scrawled on the walls; broken formations and general litter then this is the only solution.  It takes time to educate the cavers during which the caves are open and being spoiled for future generations.  It’s our moral responsibility to safeguard our caves today – LOCK THEM TO SAVE THEM.


Many thanks to John Churchward for his generous gift of books and publications to the club library.

All the publications mentioned in ‘From other clubs’ are additions to the library.

Hon. Sec: - A.R. Thomas, Westhaven School, Uphill, Weston-super-Mare, Somerset
Editor: - D.J. Irwin, 23 Campden Road, Bristol. 3.

Easter Caving in S. Wales

by Roy Bennett

The meet started in the Ystradfellte area where it was intended to visit Little Neath River Cave. The day was fine and sunny and subvasive suggestions made that the caving be done in the evening.  This arrangement was quite successful, and after some hill walking and looking at the local possibilities, the cave was descended.

A very enjoyable 2½ hour trip was had as there are both good formations and sporty bits.  The small entrance at river level and the low crawl which followed emphasised that this cave is for settled weather only.

The crawl led into a pleasing stream passage (Tributary Passage) which led eventually to a large chamber (Sand Chamber) where the main river was met.  After a quick look at the upstream sump into Bridge Cave we back-tracked along Tributary Passage to find the bypass to the Canal, a 400ft. long duck on the river.  This was were a small stream entered over a brown stalagmite flow, and led, via a rough crawl over some rather nice gours, back to the river at Junction Chamber.  Downstream the passage was mainly large and impressive with interesting collection of boulders in places, and soon sump 2 was reached, the end for non-divers.  The joys of the Canal were sampled on the return journey and further observations made of white fish that inhabit the river. One of these was seen in a small pool in Tributary Passage.  It was about 15 inches long with a trace of skin pigmentation, and showed little reaction to light or movement.  These fish were presumably washed in from the river outside and live on food from the same source.

The Saturday was spent on the surface, and the day after in Ffynnon Ddu II.  The top entrance was explored using a very rough line survey, and with the aid of this the party proceeded to go round in circles in various directions and visit interesting places.  It failed in its objective of finding the Main stream way however and the trip ended after 4 hours when the party returned to the surface rather hot and bothered.  (Wet suits not recommended!!!)  There are some good formations in this part of the cave including many stalagmites. Much of this unfortunately is rather vulnerable and it is hoped that the S.W.C.C. will be able to avoid damage with their present fairly easy access arrangements.

On the last day parties looked at Porth-yr-Ogof, the Taff Fechan and the Sychryd Gorge near Pontyneddfechan.  This last place is well worth a visit in spite of spoliation by mining and quarrying. The actual gorge is most spectacular, and there are several caves, mainly small.  The river appears to have once sunk before diverting by the industrial activities and there should be more caves to find here.