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Monthly Notes No.21

By ‘Wig’


News from this popular caving area only seems to get into the columns of the B.B. on rare occasions although members of the Dining Room Digging team are arranging monthly trips to Yorkshire in the immediate future so something should be heard of their exploits up in the far north.  Until news is sent in from Martin Webster and Co., here are a few notes gathered from recent publications in the B.E.C. Library:-

FAWCETT MOOR: - W.R.P.C. have entered a wet bedding plane 4,000ft. long.

IREBY FELL CAVERN: N.C.C. have dug the boulder choke beyond the 1st sump and entered half a mile of winding passage.

PASTURE GILL POT: New pot explored.  340ft. deep including 130ft. pitch.  Above Yockenthwaite Farm, Wharfedale.

BIRKS FELL CAVE: Above Bucken; C.P.C. have entered 4,000ft. of stream passage.

RIGG POT - Langcliffe: Extended by 300ft.  Mainly low crawls.

SUNSET HOLE: High level series extended by 100ft.

SLAPE GILL – Coverdale: Y.U.R.T. have made two discoveries; one of 300ft. and another of 1,100ft.

EASEGILL: Small extensions made by Brook brothers near Nagasaki.

P2 (Newby Moss Pot): now 280ft. deep by 900ft. long.

Sheet’s Gill Cave: (Wharfedale) cave extended ¼ mile.

Growling Hole (Kingsdale) : New discovery including 250ft. pitch.

Langcliffe Pot: Now three miles long.

Hazel BUSH CAVE: (nr Arkengarthdale): 260ft. long.

Bradford Pothole Club Journal gives full description of Whitsun Series (including survey) found by them last year in the GG system.

On Mendip the M.C.G. have been working in the Longwood/August System and have made a small discovery in their dig in Sand Passage.  The length was just over 15ft. but ended in another boulder choke.  The January and February issue of the A.C.G. Newsletter contain an interesting article on the possibility of connecting Banwell Bone Cave and Banwell Stalactite Cave.

The sculptured head of William Beard on his gravestone at Banwell is in grave danger of disintegrating. Officials of the Weston Museum have offered to restore the work providing it is kept indoors. The argument that has arisen that if the head is removed then a replica will be required by the villagers – but who pays?  Perhaps the Mendip Preservation Society could help here.

PEMBROKESHIRE: new cave discovered at Saddle Head.  Over 400 feet long with many magnificent formations.  Called Ogof Govan.

SOUTH WALES: Dan-yr-Ogof – Divers have been exploring the Mazeways and have followed the submerged passage for over 950ft. from base.

MENDIP: Sludge Pit – Tony Jarrett of the Axbridge is planning a prolonged attack on the terminal sump.

MENDIP: St. Cuthbert’s – Dave Irwin and Martin Webster have found an interesting extension in the Rabbit Warren.  Though only 70-80ft. long there are many fine crystal groups and a group of ‘lipped’ gours covering the floor of an unexplored passage that heads into the blank area of the Rabbit Warren.  The entrance to this passage and the crystal formations are being taped off in the very near future.

The survey of the Rabbit Warren is now complete and the total passage length is about 2,800ft.

SWILDONS: Tim Reynolds (WCC) and Pete Standing have found an entrance to what appears to be a large passage above the streamway in Ten, but as time was short and they wanted to get on to Twelve they left it for another occasion – so further developments may prove very interesting.

Two collapses have occurred near Cuckoo Cleeves, one of which is going to be the WCC summer dig.

To ensure that the club records are kept in safe keeping Bob Bagshaw is arranging a box to be kept at the bank.  This will house club log books, title deeds and other important papers that have been given to the club including Jack Waddons manuscripts which contain useful information on the caves of Derbyshire and Devon. Anyone holding material of this kind are asked to give it to Bob as soon as possible.  The Committee are chasing the known ‘holders’ of this material. Once the material has been collected then a list will be available from Dave Serle and appointment may be made through Bob Bagshaw enabling members and other interested people to inspect the contents.  The material will not be taken from the bank.  Members wanting copies can make arrangements with Bob to have what they require Photostatted at their own cost.

Hillgrove Water Tracing Results

I recently received a note from Tim Atkinson (WCC & UBSS) giving the water tracing results. He says “The swallets traced were, from west to east, Hillgrove, Easter Hole, Whitsun Hole, Doubleback Swallet (Zoo Swallet), Rock Swallet.  Lycopodium spores were employed in all cases, 2kg. per sink.  An artificial stream had to be created at Hillgrove Swallet, using a fire pump to pump water from the pond into the sink.  The water was directed down Balch’s Shaft, which is known to connect with the shaft dug by Frank Frost and others.  Spores from all of the swallets were recovered, though in very small quantities from some.  The results, including the minimum time of arrival of the spores, are given in the table below. In a few cases, single spores were recovered from springs other than those mentioned, these are put down to chance contamination.

Because of the complexity of the flow pattern and the small numbers of spores recovered on this occasion (January 1969) it is by no means certain that the results would appear precisely the same if the tests were repeated.  Unfortunately, to repeat them using lycopodium spores would be too expensive, but it is hoped to repeat at least some of these tracings using dyes, and also to trace some of the other swallets in the area.

As seems to be usual in water tracing with lycopodium, the results raise several problems to do with the hydrology of limestone terrain, and it is proposed to discuss these at more length in the full report of the operation.



TIME hours


Wookey Hole

Biddlecombe West


2 – 3

Easter Hole

Wookey Hole

8 – 11

Whitsun hole

Wookey Hole

Biddelcome West

Biddlecombe East


2 – 3

8 – 10

Doubleback (Zoo)

Wookey Hole

72 –77


Wookey Hole

92 – 98

April issue contains articles of interest to all – Walking in the snow covered mountains in Wales; plans of the Cuthbert’s Sump Operation later this year; Caving log; Dining Room Dig report with survey and cartoon by Jock Orr.