Hopefully, by the time this B.B. comes out, nominations for the 1974-5 committee election will be in, and will provide enough candidates for an election to be held. It goes without saying that all members should vote and as many as possible turn up to the A.G.M. itself. It is only by doing so that we can be sure that the B.E.C. reflects the wishes of its members.

Caving For Beginners

Some readers may by now have seen the booklet which represents the Southern Council's official policy on the subject of novice training - or at any rate have heard of its existence.  Since the B.E.C. is one of the clubs endorsing this booklet, it may be of interest to quote one or two of the items affecting the general philosophy behind the scheme.  For example, 'It is certainly very dangerous, and probably incorrect, to present caving as a sport or game; times taken, points reached, numbers of obstacles overcome and, above all, any aspects of competition either imagined or contrived are wholly irrelevant.  The level of personal satisfaction obtained by the successful exploration of part of a cave system must be the only criterion.  There are no summits to be conquered or records to beat in a cave. Thus, the sole raison d'etre of caving is the exploration of an alien and unknown environment.  It may better be described as a hobby.'  In this connection, schemes for the severity grading of caves, an example of which formed the subject of a recent article in the B.B. ,are acceptable provided that they are used for information rather then for any competitive reason.

Prize Crossword

To mark the 50th appearance of the B.B. crossword, this month's crossword carries a prize of a bottle of wine which, if bought at the dinner, will be paid for in the case of the first person to present the editor with a correct solution.  If, by any chance, this B.B. arrives too late for the dinner, the prize will be paid out retrospectively to the winner. Naturally, the clues are a trifle harder than normal.



Letter To The Editor

Warren Cottage,
Station  Road,
Flax Bourton.
1st August 1974.

I was interested to see in the June B.B. that a tackle refurbishing programme was in progress. As the person who, I think, produced the first ‘C’ links for the club (from an organisation with a not dissimilar abbreviated name) perhaps some comments might be of interest.  I know that much water has flowed down holes since the early days and probably the links have been the subject of considerable study, but if some of the originals are still in use, as I believe they may be the original criteria that some of us decided upon for the originals cannot have been too wide of the mark.

First and foremost, remember that not all chain links can provide suitable raw material for ‘C’ links, although chain links are probably the best part-finished starting point. The links that we used were from high strength steel chain hoist links.  High strength, that is, in relation to the average link and not to steels in general.  Many chains are too malleable and 'C' links from them are liable to open up progressively in use.  Also, do not go from really high strength steels.  The weight saving does not outweigh the handling problems or other nastinesses during prolonged life.

Second, subject each link to a proof load test.  I cannot remember the figure we used, but I know it was related to the range of cable strengths we envisaged.  It was also rather less than the heaviest failing load of cables, as we argued that links would not see the same stress concentrations and abrasion as the cables.  If any are still in service, their markings will give you the figure we used.

Third, mark the safe working load (which was half our proof load) by light stamping on the side of the curved end of each link.  It could be argued that this should be done before proof testing, but I recall that we found that we did not affect either the proof or failing loads of the links we made by stamping afterwards.

Fourth, protect each link by some form of surface protective treatment such as zinc or cadmium plating.  It will wear in time, but will prolong life and can be replaced as necessary.

Finally, as a check, take a sample of the links and load them, in pairs, to failure. This failing load should be at least 50% above the proof load.  It normally will be.  I am sure that the B.E.C. still has access to such normal facilities as test machines and plating baths.  If not, I may be able to help.

Yours Sincerely,
Tony Johnson.

Editor's Note:     Tony may be surprised to learn that all the links at present in use, as far as I know, are from the original batch - although I am not sure if they were all stamped.  Present day members may be surprised to learn something of the care which people like Tony put into making things for club tackle.  I am sure that this information will be of great use in tackle making.


Club Officer’s Reports 1974 - Hon. Secretary's Report

The past year has been a turbulent one in the B.E.C. not, unfortunately, characterised by the amount of caving that has been done or successful action on the part of the committee.  The doubling of the membership subscription to £2.50 resulted in a net fall in membership. A further year’s inflation indicates that £2.50 is very cheap for B.E.C. membership now, and perhaps some of the people who have let their membership lapse, may renew it at the time of the dinner.

Early in the year, I attended the Grampian Dinner held in the Blue School at Wells.  The catering was so excellent that we immediately negotiated with the caterer (Pat Palmer's brother) to do the B.E.C. dinner.  The Hunters agreed to do the bar and wine service.  I am sure that you will find the arrangements more than satisfactory this year.  The price of £2 is chicken feed nowadays.

The committee has had no difficulty in maintaining a quorum.  N. Jago and D. Stuckey resigned and were replaced by G. Oaten and A. Nichols respectively.

Early in its term of office, the committee had several difficult problems to deal with. Their task was not made easier by the stubborn refusal on the part of some members to answer letters. Disloyalty to the democratically elected committee by certain members who were not prepared to do the job themselves has unfortunately also occurred.  Essential business with Mr. Foxwell has not been aided by individual members carrying on their own feuds with him.  However, after four years I am glad to say that the deed of variation has now been signed by all parties and there is no longer fear that we might have to payout large sums in this respect.

Some of the difficulties of the committee were of their own making.  I would list irregular attendance; reluctance to continue when there is a danger of missing the Hunters; personality clashes between members; reluctance to discuss important but boring matters; not carrying out actions previously agreed; a tendency to make rash statements in ignorance and even to tell lies to the committee and, finally, refusal of small minorities to stand by the decision of large majorities as the more serious short-comings of the present committee.

I am not trying to slate the committee of which I have been a member, but hope these criticisms may serve as advice for the future.  I am sure the other officers of the club could list the shortcomings of the Secretary and it would be a good idea if they did so for the guidance of my successor.

Our positions in the Cambrian and Southern Councils and the National Caving Association have been strong and relations with M.R.O. have been excellent.  We have been forced by needs of access to affiliate to the Northern Council.  We supported the rejection of an application from B.A.C.I. for membership of the Cambrian Council.  The Council of Southern Caving Clubs has set up its company.  The trustees are 'Alfie', Oliver Lloyd, Frank Murphy (of Spelaeo Rhal) and myself.  Mention should be made here of the excellent work done by Nigel Taylor in extending the M.R.O. store.

Nigel Taylor is not offering himself for re-election.  He has worked extremely hard at the running of the Belfry, always difficult and this year particularly so.  He richly deserves the thanks of the club.  My own reasons for not standing this year are complicated.  Suffice to say that I wish my successor well and will afford him any assistance I can.

There are four new candidates this year, a healthy sign, and I will just remind the electorate that one copy of the ballot paper is sent to each member who has paid his subscription by the date on which they are sent out.  It may be returned to me by post or handed to the chairman at the A.G.M. Persons paying their subscription later are not entitled to vote, and no may be given a second paper according to the rules.

A. Thomas.
Hon. Sec.


B.E.C. at P.S.M.

Andrew Nichols sends us this account of the recent trip to the Pyrenees.  He also sent a covering letter which promises more accounts from some of the others who went on this expedition.

For the last three years, Andy Nichols has trundled his way South to the Basses Pyrenees, there to fester not ten miles from some really difficult caves, as a recovery from ever sillier exams.  This year he was joined by Malcolm Jarrett, Sue Holmes, John Dukes, Graham Wilton-Jones and a canvas mansion full of Palmers; nominally as guests of the Cambridge University Caving Club - though the last of them left a couple of days after we arrived, deciding the superb weather was far too good to spend anywhere but at the seaside.

We arrived on the 15th August and stayed until the end of the month at our usual riverside campsite at Licq-Atherey.  By the 17th, even Andy had recovered from the trauma of arrival and he showed Malcolm, Sue and John around Betzulako Harpia, a cave high above the Col d'Erroimendi - pushed over the years by C.U.C.C. to the respectable length of 4 kilometres and notable for some excellent formations; the perfectly preserved claw marks of cave bears who climb fifty foot pitches, and lots of loose rocks.

The following day Andy, John and Malcolm struggled up a nearby mountain, with C.U.C.C's Mike Perryman, to descend Betchenkako Lezia.  Further up the mountain is the Gouffre d'Aphanices, discovered in 1972 and with three big pitches followed by a monstrous one of 328 metres (1,076 ft.) – wet!  Betchenka is much milder, with 180ft entrance followed by a series of vast chambers - an enjoyable trip which gripped John's imagination so much that he will deal with it in a separate report.

On Monday 19th, we festered.  A hotel in nearby Tardets burnt down, which whiled away the afternoon until Mike and Pat arrived with their children and Graham.  Tuesday saw us at the Col d’Erroimendi again to complete the exploration of Baratchegagnako Harpia, a task left for Andy by C.U.C.C.  He, John, Graham Malcolm and Sue were joined by Steve Dickenson (Dickie, staying on after a joint E.P.C. - U.L.S.A. push in the Pierre.  Baratchegagna is a dreadful cave, only 400 feet deep but formed entirely in one strongly shaled bed of rock which may look like limestone but which has the strength of wet cardboard.  Great sheets of it peeled off wherever we went.   Fortunately, the three points to investigate all linked up again with the series discovered the year before, and only one was of any length, a few hundred feet of shattered rift found by Dickie.  It led to a substantial chamber with two pitches of 35 feet leading off, which he and Andy descended to confirm the link with the lower series.  The length of new passage amounted to some 400 feet, leaving no possibilities for extension, so we fought our way out through the rain of boulders and went back to Lucq.

The 21st provided us with genuine rain.  We went for a walk up the Ehujarre gorge from Ste Engrace, a very silly business where Andy proved to be the only person without a cagoule and kept moaning like a demented Yeti about how wet he was.  Thursday was overcast but drier, so the whole party assembled at the Relais de la P.S.M. for a walk which took in the Lepineux and Tete Sauvage entrances to the Pierre, plus the Pic d'Atlas, which at 2,064 m (6,772ft) gave us some incredible views of the miles of barren lapiaz through the holes in the cloud below us.  During the walk the party came across two crates of unopened bottles of wine left ('abandoned' was the legal opinion) in a grassy patch in the clints.  Six B.E.C. members collapsed in a faint on the spot but, with admirable self-control, limited themselves to 'borrowing' only a litre which ended up empty after a couple of hundred yards.

Sad to say, a few miles later, three of the six sneaked off into the mist again in the direction of the bottles "just to see if they're still there, you understand. We wouldn't want anything to happen to them, would we?"  Nothing had. John, Malcolm and Andy went into a huddle and decided that nobody would mind if we went back with a bottle each in our pockets, but we were the B.E.C.

Local shepherds must have been surprised to see John ambling down the track to the relais, whistling nonchalantly, then hear him galloping away every time the mist swirled back and pretending to be a Pyrenean sheep in a hurry.  Behind him, Andy and Malcolm lurched about in the fog, carrying something that rattled and bumped.

"Hey, Stop!  What's that noise?  Not another bloody shepherd?"

"What noise?"

"Shhh….There it goes again!  Shall we run?"

 "Oh, that!  My guts again! - better carry on!"

…….lurch, rattle, totter………..

“Christ, this crate's heavy!  I must have a rest!"

“Well, we've got fifteen bottles in it.  'Course it's heavy!"

“Let’s drink another one now.  Make it a bit lighter."

A grinding of gears comes out of the mist, and Andy and Malc drop the crate in a panic and leap off the roadside to hide in a hole in the clints, listening for "We are the Exploration Club" played on a sheep bell which would indicate the return of John in the getaway car.  But this is only another shepherd's car.  Andy and Malc manage to find the crate again and pick it up, cursing. Eventually they reach the relais and creep forward to see what has gone wrong.

In true B.E.C. tradition, the getaway car has broken down.  A flat battery between us and the biggest wine haul in history.  In the end, we just load the crate in and it rattles so much as we bump-start John's car down 4,000ft of hill that every gendarme between the relais and Pau must have heard us.  Cunningly, we avoid them by going straight to the nearest hostelry.

On the 23rd, the weather changed, and in the whole party walked off up the extremely impressive Kakouetta Gorge from Ste Engrace to a point where the path ran out and the heat, the dust and the flies became too much.

"Of course, you can't get up the 100 ft cliffs at the end without pegs and etriers", the little man at the cafe assured us.

"Nonsense!  We'll find a way up if it takes all day!" said Mike, Graham, Steve and Malc. They did, and it was desperate - and it took all day.

"So what? "said Pat, Andy, John and Sue. "We're going back."  And that didn't take any time at all!

The weather was equally good the next day, so we went for a short walk up the Holzarte Gorge, the neighbour to the Kakouetta.  The highpoint was the suspension bridge across it which might have been designed by Brunel after the pub, and looked as if it hadn't been maintained since.  A good four hundred feet up, it was - and vibrated to the lightest step of the smallest Palmer.  Some walked slowly across; some shuffled uneasily, wishing they hadn't eaten sardines and raw onions for lunch; Malcolm pounded across it like a rampaging elephant, bellowing, "Don't panic!" at every bounce.

On Sunday, 25th everyone went up to the E.D.F. Hut, as Andy had negotiated a trip in the P.S.M. via Ruben Gomez and Doninique Prebende.  Entry was by the E.D.F. tunnel to the Salle Verna, the second largest chamber in the world.  The non-cavers (Pat, the two children and Steve) followed us a short distance up the streamway before being conducted back to the entrance.  Is Miss K. Palmer, at 5 years old, the youngest person ever to have been in the deepest cave in the world?  The remaining six then set off back upstream towards the foot of the Lapineux shaft and the memorial to Loubens - but we'd left it too late starting and were able to get no further than the traverse above the Salle Chevalier before time turned us back.

That evening was also marked by a birthday party, or rather by its beginning, since the nearby town of Tardets was 'en fete' all week and allowed several of us to stagger round with the level of blood in our alcohol systems reduced to normal Mendip level for days on end.

Monday was occupied again by Betchenkako Lezia where John, Malcolm, Sue, Andy and Graham had an enjoyable trip which took in all the known cave, estimated as some three kilometres with a maximum depth of 130 metres (426ft).

Tuesday was a fester day for all of us, combined with a trip to Oloron Ste Marie to borrow pitons for Wednesday's epic climb.

The climb, led by Mike and John, supported by Malcolm Sue and Graham, was to recover a maypole in the Grotte de la Stalactite Deviee, a short dry and well-decorated cave next to the great cascade resurgence in the Kakouetta Gorge. The resurgence is a major one, possibly for Anialarra, and the maypole had been used in an unsuccessful attempt to by-pass the fifth sump behind the cascade itself.  To recover it, an 18m (60ft) overhanging pitch had to be pegged all the way.  Bolts, which might have eased the problem, were unobtainable and after five hours our heroes were just over a third of the way up.

The following day, the same team minus Mike and Sue climbed another five metres (16ft), but had to abandon the job through lack of time and bolts.  Two pitons shattered in use, which didn't help.  So the maypole is still there and the passage it was used to reach is still un-entered.

Thursday was the last day.  Mike, Steve and Andy crawl up a small but ludicrously steep mountain which overhung Licq and had to be climbed if only for the name - Le Chapeau du Gendarme. Later, Mike, Pat and Andy took advantage of the cloudless sky to revisit the relais and photograph the lapiaz, followed by John, Malcolm and Graham after they had removed all the tackle from La Stalactite Deviee.  Then everyone went to the hotel at Lanne for a meal and an evening on the alcohol.  Or perhaps that was the evening before?  Or did we stay in Licq that evening?  The trouble with these week-long birthdays is that they make everything damnably confusing.  Anyway, wherever we went, the white crème de Menthe fairly flowed!  And on Friday 30th August, we left for England.


Club Officer’s Reports 1974 Climbing Report

Once again, the climbing section seems to stagnate, but, like a volcano, ready to erupt into life.  SNOW - that’s what we were waiting for last winter to erupt us to life!  We had hoped to get a little snow and ice climbing done in North Wales, but the weather was against us, with little or no snow, so nothing was done.

There were no organised meets arranged mainly because of the three day week, and the increase in the cost of fuel.

The start of May saw interest taking place on Thursday evenings at the Avon Gorge. Then members started doing some of the H.V.S. routes in the gorge on Sundays.  On a couple of occasions we really excelled ourselves and went to Wintour's Leap, Monmouthshire, where we nearly frightened ourselves to death.

The climbing holiday this year was at Pembrokeshire and North Wales.  Let's hope the climbing done was worthwhile and that we will read about it in the B.B.

I think the main reason for lack of interest in the section is the areas we climb in.  We are lucky to have such a large chunk of rock as the Avon Gorge on our door step, but if you do not climb constantly at H.V.S. or above, the routes left open to you are limited.  Therefore going the same climbs week after week gets somewhat tedious.  The Cheddar Gorge, lovely beauty spot, which is exactly what it is.  In the summer you can't climb there because of tourists. In the winter it's either too wet, too cold or the days are too short.

Let’s hope that, with the coming of new blood into the section, the fire to climb will once more be rekindled and give the climbing section the new lease of life it so sadly needs.

Climbing Sec.


Don’t forget the A.G.M & DINNER. SATURDAY 5th OCTOBER 1974

A.G.M. starts at the Belfry at 10.30 a.m. Dinner is the same evening.  BOOK WITH BARRY FOR THE DINNER BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE! (See last month’s B.B. for full details).


Round and About

A Monthly Miscellany

By 'Wig'

111.     Priddy Green Sink.  Fred Davies and Ray Mansfield have almost reached their goal.  Cowsh Aven is now within twenty feet of the surface. A radio transmission located the spot in mid august and found it to be at the rear of the cowsheds (shibbins, if you are of West Country farming stock!)  As part of the agreement with the Maines, Fred has agreed to block off Priddy Green Sink. He’s laid a concrete block over the entrance and covered it with soil - so it's not lost for ever.

112.    East Twin Valley - Top Sink.  Wig is commencing a dig at this site.  Anyone interested in digging it will be very welcome. During the first week of September, Jim Durston and Wig visited the site one Thursday afternoon and found the water very high.  Digging was out, but inside the hole came a fine low rumbling noise of falling water. Maybe the Burrington master cave!

113.     Belfry fire repositioned.  Our grateful thanks to Bucket Tilbury for the magnificent job of removing the Belfry fire from its old position against the rear wall and replacing it in its new position just off centre of the room.  Apart from the chimney - now free of the double bend which was necessary to get it out through the rear wall, it allows people to sit round it and will throw more heat into the room.

114.    M.R.O. goes 999.  As from September 1st 1974, the callout procedure has been changed.  In future, all that is necessary is to dial 999 and ask the operator for: -


After the police have been contacted, STAY AT THE PHONE UNTIL CONTACTED BY AN M.R.O. WARDEN.  The M.R.O. signs outside caves have all been changed.  They were changed by Prew, Wig and Fred Davies together with helpers on August 31st, and the old signs were auctioned at the C.R.O. conference in September.

115.    New Caving Reports at the A.G.M.  Two new Caving Reports will be available.  Number 14, the long awaited PYRENEAN REPORT by Roy Bennett and the first of the journal type of CAVE NOTES 1974.  Both reports will cost 30p each.  Only 100 copies are available of each report. Also, a reprint of Caving Report number 1 Redcliffe Caves, Bristol, available at 25p - only 50 copies of this printing.  The whole range of other Caving Reports will be offered for sale as well.

116.    Combwich (Cannington) Quarry Cave.  Is threatened with possible quarrying.  The quarry owners have applied for an extension to their site - and the cave lies on this extension.  Prof. E.K. Tratman has submitted a report to the Ministry of the Environment.

117.     Roy Bennett at Chepstow Roy's latest site is the best to date.  After many years of walking the area and digging at several possible sites, he has at last located a small but extremely interesting cave.  Details and a survey of the cave will appear in Caving Report number 19 (due to appear later this year).  Anyone interested in digging with Roy on Wednesday evenings should first phone Roy at his home after 6 p.m. ( BRISTOL 627813 )

118.   Terry Baker's Dig.  Near the Mells Ironworks is proving very interesting according to Nig Taylor."  It lies on the edge of the river, in a similar position to Little Neath River Cave and if it goes it should prove very wet and interesting!  Talking of Nig Taylor, I wonder if he has given up the game of cops and robbers?  Anyway, N.R.A.S.A. are back together again digging somewhere (won't say where) but it appears to be an interesting dig.

119.   Rock Drills.  Several clubs have developed various types of rock drill to aid in persuading caves to move chemically.  Tim Large has spent quite a sum of money and time producing an improved rock drill based on an U.L.S.A. design.  It should prove interesting.  What about a paper for the journal type of Caving Report, Tim?

120.   Tights for Cavers!  Those who still depend on woollies for their caving exploits will breathe a sigh of relief that there are nylon tights on the market of interest to cavers.  Long Johns used to be the main stand by for the woolly wearers, but their price - about £2 to £3 nowadays - made one think twice about buying them.  Now nylon tights have been produced for football and athletic training - complete with zip if you require one - and are obtainable at Lewis's and Jones's at Bristol.  They are comfortable and warm.  (Editor's Note: Any truth in the rumour that ex W.D. carrying bags are to be replaced with a smart line in caver’s handbags?)

121.   Material for the B. B.  and for Caving Reports should be forthcoming from the various individuals who went on continental holidays this year - and who were lucky enough to avoid the collapsing travel agents.

122.   Swildons Hole.  The Wessex Cave Club have done it again.  An 80 odd page booklet of photographic record of Swildons Hole, including 60 pages of photographs going as far as Swildons 12 (although the photograph does give the impression of being taken in any stream cave!)  The price is £12 leather bound and £9 rexine bound and the edition is limited to 300 copies.  Apparently Wessex members are 'falling over themselves' to buy a copy on the basis that the book will become rare and will be a worth while investment.  This is rather akin to the stamp collector’s first day covers, which are generally ignored by keen collectors as they are manufactured specifically for this purpose. One wonders whether W.C.C. members will adopt the same approach to this speculative issue of a publication which deserves wider circulation.  The book is dedicated to Albert Maine, who deserves the grateful thanks of all cavers.

123.   Well at Bathford.  The first of the new multi-subject Caving Reports contains a description of a well at Bathford which was examined by Alan Thomas, Dave Irwin and Tony Tucker on the 18th August at the invitation of the owner who was put in touch with Alan by Martin Cavender of Harris and Harris, the club solicitors.

124.   Caves of Derbyshire.  A copy of the new edition of this book has been donated to the club library by Tony Oldham.  As many will know, Tony deals in caving publications and is prepared to send any member his current list of available books free.  Write to A.D. Oldham, 17 Freemantle Rd, Eastville, Bristol.  Incidentally, Tony informs me that Northern Caves, Volume I is out of print though some shops may have stocks left.

125.   Social and Scandal.  Congratulations to Maggie and Tim Large on the birth of a son - it appears to live up to its father's name by being 8lb 12oz.  Doing it to excess again, Large!  Our congratulation too to Alfie and Sally who have another daughter, born a day after Tim and Maggie's son.  In the next bed to Sally at Paulton Hospital she was surprised to find Lyn, Mike Baker's wife who has also had a son. Phil and Yo Kingston will be on their way to New Zealand in October.

126.   Cuthbert’s Celebrations.  On the 4th September, a distinguished gathering met at the Belfry and, under the leadership of the venerable Bennett and with Kangy following some way behind carefully carrying two bottles of champers together with the glasses (actually plastic cream cartons).  It was gratifying to see many of the early leaders present even though two of them didn't actually make it to the cave entrance but sat it out in the solitude of the Hunters.  The main party descended via the Waterfall and Wet pitches to the Water Chute and on through the By-Pass to congregate in the Dining Room.  An argument developed as to the location of the concrete dining table.  However, this was located and the drinks set up in an orderly fashion.

Kangy, having poured the drinks out and passed round the remainder of the booze in the bottle, called on the venerable Bennett to propose the toast to St. Cuthbert.  Having duly taken our fill of the sparkling wine, the discussion moved on to talk of having a similar event to mark the 25th anniversary.

Those present included the two most important - they descended the rift first to the head of Arête Pitch - Viv Brown and Roy Bennett, followed by Kangy; Martin Mills; (straight from his three months tour of the U.S.A.); John Eatough; Colin Clarke; Mike Palmer; Mike Wheadon; another venerable - Chris Falshaw; Phil Kingston; Tony Meadon; the Golden Oldie of Cowsh fame - Fred Davies; Wig; Tim Large; Barry (Goldilocks) Lane; Steve Tuck; John Attwood; Martin Webster (again, straight from a U.S.A. trip) and last but not least, Dave (Twittering) Turner.

Following the leaders get together, all surfaced and joined Albert Francis; Norman Petty and Roger Stenner in the pub.

127.   Polypropylene rope.  Several lengths of No 4 rope have been purchased by Graham Wilton-Jones for use as lifelines.  These will be added to the club tackle in the next few weeks.  Nylon rope is also being obtained - details later.  An article by John Hunt on S.R.T. will be of interest to members and will be published in the second Cave Notes to be published later on this year.

This edition (Caving Report No 19) will also include extensions to O.F.D. with surveys by Bucket Tilbury and Graham Wilton-Jones; a surveying feature 'Leg Length as a function of station to station accuracy in Centreline Surveying' by Alfie; Rod's Pot - a new survey by Wig, and details of the Withyhill survey - also Fairy Cave Quarry complete with a simplified survey.


Some further information on Deneholes

Since the recent article on Deneholes, we have received a letter from Roy Musgrove, of the Chelsea S.S. who writes as follows: -

Yes, people actually read exchange copies of the B.B.  I was interested to see the article in the July issue on the Hangman's Wood Deneholes.  They have been threatened by a road construction scheme.

However, I was disappointed to see no reference in the bibliography to records of the Chelsea Speleological Society, Volume 4, entitled simply 'Deneholes'.  This was written by Harry Pearman, founder member of C.S.S. who is a specialist in the subterranean South East of England.  It describes 73 Denehole sites, discusses their origin, and has a bibliography of 77 items.  It agrees that most were probably dug for chalk.

I enclose some advertising 'blurb' covering all our current publications on S.E. England, which you may like to make available to B.E.C. members, especially the D authors of the article.  How about getting 'Wig' to buy copies for the library?

We'll do better than that, Roy, and publish details of the publications you sent in this B.B. for all B.E.C. members.


Volume IV.


Volume V.



Volume VI.







by Harry Pearman.  Published 1965, reprinted 1970.  72pages 26 illustrations.

by John Henderson, Brian Hillman and Harry Pearman.  Published 1968.  84 pages with 33 illustrations.

by Harry Pearman.  106 pages.


All three volumes are duplicated, quarto.  Volumes IV and V 50p each, while Volume VI is 75p.  Volumes IV and V describe sites of speleological interest South East England. Some sites are natural, being formed by sea or river action.  There are also many disused mines in the area, some many miles in length.

Deneholes are curious excavations which abound in Kent and parts of Essex and comprise a network of chalk-cut chambers entered by vertical shafts.  Some sites are follies, dug as single passages or labyrinths at the whim of a landowner.  Some places are legendary secret passages although their true functions were often less romantic.  There are also a number of cavities which are complete mysteries.

Each volume gives plans and locations of each underground place, relates what is known of its history and explains the position about obtaining access at the time of going to print.  They are unique documents of interest to the geographer, explorer, antiquarian and archaeologist.  Since many of these sites will disappear or be deliberately closed or obliterated, they will also perform a useful function by recording what exists for future researchers or land developers.

Among the places described in Volume VI are the remains of a trial bore for the channel tunnel, which lies hidden in the sea cliffs near Folkestone; the massive underground folly at Eastry, the lengthy subterranean conduit system for Greenwich Palace; the chalk mine which collapsed and destroyed part of Plumstead; the underground forts at Dover the natural caves 100 feet beneath Blackheath and the alleged smugglers' caves at Pegwell Bay.

Enquiries and orders to: Chelsea Speleological Society, c/o 385, Kings Road, London SW10 OLR.


Monthly Crossword – Number 50.  Prize Crossword



















































































1. Cave feature found in claps I’ll argue about. (6)
5. One of a triple in Swildons? (3)
6. Features of a master cave? (6)
7. Flowerpot, presumably, has no need for this feature. (3)
9. See 13 across for example. (1,1)
11. Backward cry for Mendip swallet. (3)
12. Thus we have it. (2)
13. 9 across Cerberus? (3)
15. 7,037 lbs approximately for climbing aids. (6)
16. 2 down was interested in this. (3)
17. Changes of this nature have occurred in G.B. (6)


1. Forced a passage – pr perhaps shed – up. (6)
2. A lead this was associated with Mendip once. (4)
3. Tore again this deposited material. (9)
4. Mythical underground region forming inclinations of fault planes? (5)
8. Strode otherwise for a caving club’s region. (6).
10. Mixed oversize rug found in some caves. (5)
14. Exclamation and French for caves! (4)

Solution to Last Month’s Crossword



















































































Club Committee

The Belfry, Wells Rd, Priddy, Wells, Somerset. Telephone WELLS 72126

Chairman          S.J. Collins

Minutes Sec      G. Wilton-Jones

Members           M. Bishop, D.J. Irwin, B. Wilton, G. Oaten, N. Taylor, A.R. Thomas, A. Nicholls.

Officers of the Club

Honorary Secretary        A.R THOMAS, Allen’s House, Nine Barrows Lane, Priddy, Wells Somerset. Tel: PRIDDY 269

Honorary Treasurer         B. WILTON, 27 Venus Lane, Clutton, Nr. Bristol.

Caving Secretary            A. NICHOLLS, Address to follow.

Climbing Secretary         G. OATEN, Address to follow.

Hut Warden                   N. TAYLOR, Whiddons, Chilcote, Somerset.  Tele : WELLS 72338

Belfry Engineer              M. BISHOP, Bishop’s Cottage, The Batch, Priddy, Wells, Som.  Tele : PRIDDY 370

Tacklemaster                 G. WILTON-JONES, 17 Monkham’s Drive, Watton, Thetford, Norfolk

B.B. Editor                    S.J. COLLINS, Lavender Cottage, Bishops Sutton, Nr. Bristol. Tel : CHEW MAGNA 2915

Honorary Librarian          D.J IRWIN, Townsend Cottage, Townsend, Priddy, Wells Som.  Tel : PRIDDY 369

Publications Editor         D.J IRWIN  As above

B.B. Postal                   Brenda. WILTON  Address as for Barry