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The Belfry

The Club has at last fulfilled its promise to members to provide an HQ worthy of the Club. A large hut has been purchased, at very considerable expense. This hut was situated at Rame Head in Cornwall and a gang of stalwarts recently defied the vile weather and spent a weekend there and dismantled it. The weekend was noted for several things; the rain, the wind, the meals cooked and eaten under conditions that would have made the most hardened tramp shudder, the hardness of the floors at night and the lack of water.

We ask all members that are able to make every effort to got to Mendip and lend a hand with the erection and decoration of their new HQ.

The Hut is 30ft long by 15ft wide and is being erected adjacent to the existing hut. The present 'Married Quarters' is to be used as a kitchen and added to one end of the new hut, whilst the old Main hut is to be used as & generator house, tackle store and changing room. This will, give us ample space for everything, we hope, and will thus do away with the need for keeping mountains of semi-useless gear under the bunks etc..

It has been suggested that those who are not able to get to Mendip regularly may like to help by giving a small donation to the hut fund. The Club would be very grateful for all such donations, as the cost of the hut, £100, is very considerable.

DONT FORGET to visit the Caving Exhibition at the Bristol Museum 25th  November to 11th December.

Bristol Exploration Club.(London Section).

A suggestion was made on August Bank Holiday, that the members in and around London should form a London Section for the purposes of Local Meetings and field meets. The following has been received from John Shorthose:-

The suggestion made during the August Bank Holiday weekend, that the London-based members of the club should arrange to get together from time to time, has now been put into effect, and a London Section formed.  The usual meeting place is 7, Marius Mansions, Rowfant Road, Balham, S.W.17., where two meetings have so far been held. The next is fixed for Sunday October 24th at 3.30 p.m. (This has already been held, the letter arriving too late for the Sept. BB. Ed.). Any members of the club visiting London will be very welcome, but are asked to drop the acting Hon. Sec. a line or telephone Balham 7545.

The Section has not confined itself to "armchair" caving, and has made three field trips, two to inspect some swallets in Herts., and one to look at a hearthstone mine near Reigate.

The swallets at Water End, near Hertford look most interesting and it is intended to seek permission to dig them late next spring, when there is less chance of sudden flooding refilling any hole that may be found.

The hearthstone mine proved to be still working, and was locked so the party adjourned to Godstone. The first cave inspected was found to have the entrance blocked by a subsidence, and is on the programme for digging. A second cave was however entered and photographs taken.

It is hoped to visit the Chislehurst caves on Saturday 23 October, if the necessary permission can be obtained.

Annual General Meeting 1948.

MEMBERS ARE INFORMED THAT THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING WILL BE HELD ON SATURDAY, 4TH. DECEMBER AT THE RED LION HOTEL, WELLS ROAD, KNOWLE BRISTOL. 4. The meeting will commence at 7.0p.m., and members are asked that all items for the agenda be sent to the Hon Sec. by the morning of Dec.4th.

All Lumbers are asked to make a special effort to attend.

Have YOU filled out and returned YOUR voting paper?

List of Members 1948, No.3,

A. Riddell            13 Randal Road, Clifton, Bristol 8.
A. McCoy           14. Clifton Down Road, Clifton; Bristol 8.
H.D. Schoner      21. Richmond Terrace, Clifton, Bristol 8,
J.W. Adams        27. Granby Hill, Clifton, Bristol 8.
R. Wade             101. Princess Victoria Street, Clifton, Bristol.
M. Farr               1. Sion Lane, Clifton, Bristol 8
R. Beer               9. Westfield Place, Clifton, Bristol 8.
J. Beer                9. Westfield Place, Clifton, Bristol 8
D. Williams         Arch House, Victoria Square, Clifton, Bristol 8
G.P. Donald        c/o Hills Hotel, 37.Princes Square, London, W2.

Notes on a recent Caving Trip to

by T.H. Stanbury.

I have several outstanding memories to remind me of a fortnight's stay in the midst of some of the finest scenery it has ever been my lot to see.

First I must thank the Wessex Cave Club for their invitation to join their party, and for the splendid time than they gave me during our tour.

Our trip to Valence via Folkestone and Paris was uneventful, athough tiring in the extreme, and we were all glad when the journey ended. We were met at Valence by M. Ageron of the Club Alpln Francais who was our host during our stay. We slept all the morning and in the afternoon walked to some hills and a ruined castle to the West of the Town.

On the second morning we were called at 5.0a.m.. We boarded a coach which took us via Romans and Pont en Royans, to Choronche. Chorenche is a small hamlet situated in a gorge which makes Cheddar seem insignificant. This was our HQ for the time, and after breakfast we started our touring in earnest.

Our first introduction to this area, the Vercours, was Les Grands Goulets. This is a tremendous gorge, hundreds of feet deep, with vertical walls, the road being cut out of the cliff face about 300 feet above the river that flows at the bottom. The gorge is very narrow and ends in a high cascade. Passing through a tunnel the road emerges into an alp, and for some miles we followed this valley climbing all the time. Here was a centre for the Maquis during the war, and we passed many villages that had been destroyed by the Germans as reprisals.

After a while we stopped at a farm and the coach and our escort of French Army, and the cars of the C.A.F. turned into a meadow.

Here we changed into caving kit and walked about half a mile to the base of some cliffs and La Grotte de la Luire. This cave has a very impressive entrance and we were told that there is a drop of 600 feet in it, but we were not able to investigate.

In this cave the French Military hospital from Grenoble was moved when the Germans captured their temporary site in the Valley. Here too, they were captured and shot, some of the nurses being among the victims. Memorials in the cave recount the story and are erected to the memory of those who lost their lives.

Leaving this site we continued by coach up the valley, and plunging through a long tunnel emerged at the head of a deep valley. Below us we could see the continuation of our road winding its way endlessly down the mountain side. Our coach stopped at the highest point and after visiting a friendly hostelry we retraced our steps following the contour of the hills, eventually stepping at La Col de la Machine. This is the start of a gorge, La Combe Laval.

The Combe starts as a vertical precipice 1300 feet high, at the base of which rises a river comparable in size to the River Avon. The cave system is probably similar to Wookey Hole as there are several entrances at different levels. No one has yet penetrated this system, but the C.A.F. are contemplating an attack on it in the near future by lowering themselves to the highest level from the top of the cliff.

Next day we visited La Grotte de Bruillion.  Here again a large river sees the light of day.  A huge arch 250 ft. high and the same wide, gives access to a cave system running about 10 miles into the mountain to La Luire visited yesterday.

The water level was high so we were able to venture no further than the main river inside the cave. Together with Low, Dolphin and Devenish I had fun and games amongst the foaming waters where the river pours down from the 'Cave' level to that of the exit.  The speed of the water was very high and we had great difficulty in keeping our feet in even three inches of water, let alone the five or six feet depth of the river between the many boulders in the centre of the flow.

In the afternoon we went to La Grotte Favour. This is 1000 ft. above the road, and the climb seemed like miles in the blazing sun. The main entrance is similar to that of Aveline's Hole in Burrington, but infinitely larger.  A tunnel 20-25 feet square and about 90 yards long dives down into the mountain at the Aveline angle.  Below this are vast chambers in one of which is a stalagmite boss 60 feet high and 15 feet in diameter.  Other passages led to other smaller chambers and cross passages reminiscent of Mendip, but mostly dusty and dead. In one of these were found cave bear bones. .

On the Wednesday we returned to Valence where a reception was held for us by the Mayor and his entourage.

Thursday saw us up early and we left by coach for the south. Passing through Montelimar, the home of French Nougat, we crossed the Rhone at Pont St. Esprit, and passed up through olive groves into the Cevennes.  These hills are more rounded than the Vercors and are bare and lifeless.  These hills are of limestone and abound in dry watercourses which are transformed during heavy rain into raging torrents.  Our route followed one of these watercourses and eventually we reached the village of Orgnac.  About 1½ miles beyond the village is L'Aven D'Orgnac, here we met M. de Joly, President of S.S.F. and were escorted around the show cave.  Descending at the end of the show cave into a section not open to the public we saw several huge columns of stalactite far larger than anything I have ever seen before.

Orgnac is very wonderful, with magnificent formations.  These mostly are stalagmites of immense size and are shaped like flowers, the successive layers of deposit overlapping the previous ones.

We returned to the surface for lunch and afterwards I was privileged to be one of a party of 10 taken by M. de Joly to "les plus dangerous" parts of the cave. Our route lay through the main chamber and then we branched off to the left of the tourist route over banks of stalagmite.  Arriving at a chimney a dural ladder was fixed and we climbed to the top, this giving access to a gallery running at high level along the wall of the main chamber almost at its top.  Here the formation was more reminiscent of Mendip as regards size, but there were masses of eratics which looked like masses of well browned chips thrown against the walls. From certain vantage points it was possible to overlook the tourist part of the cave, and the visitors being conducted around looked more like diminutive ants than human beings,

Following a platform around the chamber we found ourselves on a ledge that grew progressively narrower as we travelled along it, rapidly degenerating into a ledge where we used the stalagmites growing from the vertical wall as handhold.  The ledge ended abruptly, and when my turn came I approached the end and found that at right angles to our present direction and about four feet away was a hole similar to the end of the Drain-Pipe in Goatchurch.  This was our route and I saw those who were in front on a continuation of the ledge beyond the hole.

There was a vertical drop of about 300 feet between the end of the hole, the only intermediate support being a loose leaf of rock about half way between the end of the ledge and the hole.  A light alpine line had been run loosely between the ledge and the hole but was purely psychological as one slip would have meant curtains for the person concerned.

Surprisingly enough the gap was negotiated with ease and we continued our perambulation along the other ledge. This soon opened into a small chamber with very beautiful formations.  Entering a parallel chamber we were each presented with a 'Gour' from the floor as a memento of the occasion, and we returned to the main chamber via the gap and narrow ledge which seemed even worse on the return journey.

We returned to the surface at 6.30 after M. de Joly had left a metal strip inscribed with the date and details of the visit, to be sealed in place by the drip on to one of the Stalagmites.

The next morning we resumed our travels at 6.0.a.m., and passing through Ales, we eventually reached La Grotte des Demoseilles.  This cave is situated on a hill side and was the furthest point south reached by us.  The Grotto is magnificent, some of the huge formations showing signs of being shattered by an earthquake and having formation subsequently growing on the shattered pieces.

In this cave the walls are completely covered with formation and the whole place is one mass of columns and pillars.

The cave is reached from the hillside by a funicular railway and some time before our visit the cable had broken and the top car had torn down the slope colliding with very spectacular results with the one at the bottom.

After lunch we left for Bramabiau, the road taking us over the hill tops on the longest zig-zag yet, the coach taking 1½ hours to climb to the top.

At Briambiau the limestone is in association with granite and is very hard.  The swallet is huge and takes a big stream.  The entrance is square section and at a distance from the entrance there is a spot where the roof has collapsed and is open to the sky.  The stream, or rather, small river, here vanishes down a hole reminiscent of Swildons Hole, but we were not allowed to penetrate any further.

At the resurgence about half a mile away, there is a huge cleft in the hillside from which the river pours in a waterfall. Entering this cleft we followed the river upstream for about 100 yards.

The next morning we visited L’Aven Armand, which is situated on the Causse, which is a bare and stony expanse many miles in extent.

Armand appealed to me more than all the other caves except the special trip at Orgnac.  Here the formations are superb, and the whole cave is so arranged that the maximum amount is seen from each vantage point.  The cave is one huge chamber, about double the volume of Lamb Leer, and of similar shape, with the original entrance as a chimney in the roof.  The modern entrance is down a long tunnel hewn out of the rock.  At Armand also a strip of metal was laid to commemorate the visit.

From L'Aven Armand the coach took us back direct to Valence, the journey taking from 12:45 until 9:30, the coach travelling at high speed all the way.  The main party by caught the night train back to Paris and , whilst Low, Dolphin and I moved to an hotel for the night.

On the Sunday morning the three of us went to Grenoble by train, where we spent the night.  In Grenoble there were festivities commemorating the release of Grenoble from bondage 100 years ago. All around the city are mountains, some of which are snow capped.

On Monday we travelled by bus to Lac Laffrey where we bivouacked for the night.  On the Tuesday we walked over the hill top and eventually descended into the Romanche Valley via a very hair-raising mountain path. At Gavet we caught a bus to Le Bourg d'Oisans where we installed ourselves in a small hotel.

On Wednesday we walked to L'Alpe d'Huez and on to Lac Besson, returning in the evening to d'Oisans.

Thursday was the highlight of the week. We travelled on the luggage grid on top a bus to the Col de Lauteret and then climbed to the Col de Galibier from where we saw Mont Blanc.  Here too, i trod Alpine snows for the first time. The route from d'Oisans took us through immense valleys and along through La Grave, the centre for the La Meije Massif which was on our right with its hanging glaciers and snowfields.  There were many hydro- electric schemes in operation each with its attending reservoir.  Some of these artificial lakes were very large and were very beautiful.  Thursday was our last day in the mountains and we spent the morning in a walk to the mountain hamlet of Villard Notre Dame.  We had a picnic lunch there and returned to d'Oisans in time to catch the bus back to Grenoble. Here we caught the night train back to Paris and from there eventually arrived back in Bristol dead tired on the Sunday morning early,

This was my first visit to the southern half of and my enthusiasm has been fired for further visits as soon as I am able to arrange it. BUT, in my personal estimation, the caves of Mendip arc second to none; no where did I see such close packed beauty as on Mendip.

List of Members 1948 No.9,

T. Kendrick,                    Cherry Street, Bingham, Notts
W. Mack                         313 Watford Road, St. Albans, Herts
Miss P.M. Brazier,           14. Kendale Road, Bridgwater, Somerset
W.J. Shorthose,              Hon. Sec. London Section B.E.C.,
                                      7 Marius Mansions, Rowfant Road, Balham, London S.W.18
Mrs. L. Eno                     6 Saville Place, Clifton, Bristol.8
Miss. V,N. Inseal             35 Petherton Road, Knowle, Bristol 4
T. Driver                          10 St. Pauls Road, Clifton, Bristol
G. Ratcllffe (138)              2 Mayfield Road, Dagenham, Essex
R.H. Morgan                    4. Brook Road, Montpelier, Bristol 6
B. Smailes                      16 Armoury Square, Stapleton Road, Bristol
F. leR. Perree                  University Settlement, Barton Hill, Bristol 5
Miss. F. Chapman           38 Devonshire Road, Westbury Park, Bristol 6
R.T. Humpidge                26. Cavendish Road, Henleaze, Bristol.

Found!! Found!! Found!!

We seem to be making a habit of finding watches.  A watch has been found in Swildons Hole. Found in the wet way this watch is of the type hopefully designated as "Waterproof".  Will all claimants write the Hon. Sec. who has the watch in his possession. A claim was laid to it by the Marine Commandos who visit Swildons occasional, but the watch lost by them was of a totally different type to that found.

Caving Exhibition

The Exhibition at Bristol Museum attracted great attention in the district and has been acclaimed a great success.  From the Club point of view the exhibition marked the first publication of the provisional plan of Stoke Lane, and the showing, for the first time, of a number of Photographs taken there.  Except for the Plan which is copyright, the idea of strict suppression of the Club name was kept to, although several blatant exceptions were noticed from others.

Report on the Annual General Meeting

1.  It was prop by R.A. Setterington Sec by D.A. Coase that D.H. Hasell be elected Chairman of the meeting, this was carried unam.

2  Hon Sees Report.

This report was compiled on Nov 28th.

Our membership at the present moment stands at 94. That being the number whose subs have been paid and whose membership is current. Besides those there are a small number whose Subs, are due and will probably send them in during the next few days.

The proposal at the last AGM that the subs for new members run to the anniversary of their date of joining has been carried out with the result that a. the club is assured of a steady income through the year instead of having all the subs coming in on Jan.1st. b. The Hon Sec. has far less work to do, it being far easier to type one or two remainder forms per month than 100 in Jan.

A considerable increase in the tempo of caving has been noticed in the last few months. But we should be glad if members could a. send in a report of their trips so that the club can have some record of the activities of its members & b. let us know in advance as far as is practical where members are going each week.  If this had been done there would not have been the uproar in the papers and the police inquiries about the clothing at GB.  The survey of Stoke Lane has at last been published; it is only provisional and will I hope be superseded by a another issue latter on. The difficulties on S/L seem to keep people away from the place when there is work to be done. Certain Surveying instruments have been bought and it is hoped that members will use them in caves as well as finding their way over hilltops.

Tackle. A. quantity of rope has been bought and put into our reserve stock. One ladder has been condemned but has not been rebuilt owing to the fact that there is so little interest in the tackle shown by members that the last two ladders were made almost in their entirety by three or four people who have rebelled against further forced labour.

Belfry. A separate report will be coming from the Hut warden, and I will not trespass on his ground except to say that our new Hut still awaits the willing hands of members to help in its  . erection.

Exhibition. The exhibition being held at the city Museum has a great success and I have been asked to read the following letter:-

Dear Mr. Stanbury,

My committee have asked me to extend to you their sincere thanks for the splendid effort which the Bristol Exploration Club and the Cave Diving Group have made in connection with the Mendip Caving Exhibition. They are indeed gratified with the response, and are pleased that such cooperation has been proved possible and has led to such happy results.

The exhibition is proving of great interest to the public, and my Committee are delighted that such a representative collection has been made possible by the goodwill and collaboration of all concerned. Will you please thank your Societies on our behalf,  I feel that our especial thanks are due to those members who undertook not only to attend the Committee meetings in connection with this exhibition, but also did such a great deal of the actual arrangement. Will you please express my thanks to those concerned.

Yours sincerely, (signed) F.S. Wallis, Director.

As mentioned in the Belfry Bulletin earlier in the year, we have absorbed the Clifton Caving Club, These lads have been doing some fine work recently and are now experimenting with photography,

A London Section of B.E.C, has been formed and this will be discussed later in the evening.

Belfry Bulletin. A change in format during the year has been claimed as a great Improvement. The Bulletin has been produced more regularly this year than last, but there are very few sending in articles etc. for publication. Please make every endeavour to make our Bulletin a real news sheet. This is another reason why we want reports of trips.

The Hon. Sec. has obtained a blasting license and will be only too pleased to bang any and every hole that the ”digging” members want enlarging.

Library. During the year a number of new books have been purchased, and every opportunity has been taken to increase the amount of caving literature available to members. A number of obsolete travel books have been withdrawn and sold, the proceeds going towards new books. There are still a number of books missing, and I ask you once again to hunt them out and return them.

I should like to hand a special bouquet to Jim Weekes for the way that he took over the secretarial work of the club during my illness at the beginning of the year.

A social sub-committee has been formed to handle and arrange such things as dances etc..

In conclusion, this year has been the most successful in the history of the Club,  I say this every year, and I expect that it gets quite monotonous to hear me say it year after year. From the Club point of view however, it speaks well for the future of the B.E.C, when for a large number of years running, we can say that each year saw a step forward on the year previous. The coming year depends upon each member, and the amount of work and effort that he or she puts into club affairs. Our percentage of active members is I believe, as high, if not higher than any other club in the area, and we must try to make it oven higher next year.

Arising from the above. R. Wallace asked what instruments had been purchased. A list was read by D.A. Coase and included the following:- 2 compasses; 1 clinometer; 2 tripods; and a simple theodolite.

3. London Section,

D.A. Coase explained the idea behind the formation of the London Section. As a fair number of members are resident in the London area, the Section was formed both for Armchair caving and fieldwork. The section would be self supporting for all work in that area.

J.M. Tompsett proposed that a London Section be formed officially, this was seconded by R.A. Setterington and carried.

4.  Financial Reports,

The year’s financial sheet is separate and every member will find it attached to this BB.

Arising from 4. R. Wallace proposed that the A.G.M. be held after the end of the financial year and that a financial statement be sent to members with the A.G.M. Agenda. This was sec. by R. Woodbridge and carried.

R.M. Wallis proposed by letter that the "Graded Subs" for the Belfry Sleepers be dropped. This was seconded by D.A. Coase and carried*

D.A, Coase proposed that the Hut Subs be increased from 1/- to 1/6 and 1/- for Junior members, per head until such time as the debt on the hut be paid off.  This was sec by J.C. Weekes. When put to the vote the motion was defeated only 8 members being in favour.

R.A. Setterington proposed that the £2 'Season Ticket' for the Belfry be pressed in the BB. This was seconded by Mrs. Tompsett and carried.

The subs for Life Members was discussed and J.A. Dwyer proposed that the matter be left to the committee. This was sec. by Mrs. Tompsett and carried.

At this stage Mr. Setterington announced that P. Daymond had joined the regular R.A.F. and that F. Shorland was in Africa. The Hon Sec. explained that all members of the regular Forces paid a subs, whilst in , but when they were posted overseas the club continued their membership until their return.

5,  Results of Committee Election.

The Hon. Sec. announced the results of the Election:-

T.H, Stanbury               44
D.H. Hasell                   37
R.A. Setterington          30
J.C.Weekes                  22
A.M.Innes                     21
Miss P. Richards          20
G.T. Lucy                     15
S.C.W. Herman            13
R. Woodbridge              12
J.M. Tompsett               11
S.A.J.Bosworth             4

The committee for 1949 therefore being:- Stanbury, Hasell, Setterington, Weekes, and Innes.

T.H. Stanbury proposed that D.A. Coase be co-opted to represent the London Section. This was sec. by G.T. Lucy and carried.

T.H. Stanbury told the meeting that an Assistant Sec. was very necessary owing to the very limited time at his disposal.  Mrs. Tompsett proposed that Miss. P. Richards be appointed. This was sec by G. Ridyard and carried.

It was proposed by R.A. Setterington and sec. by G.T. Lucy that T.H. Stanbury be appointed Hon. Sec and Treasurer. This was carried.

It was proposed by D.A. Coase and sec. by G.T. Lucy that R.A. Setterington be appointed Hut Warden and Tackle Officer.

It was proposed by J.A. Dwyer and sec. by Mrs. Tompsett that G.T. Lucy be appointed Hut Warden and Tackle Officer.

A vote was taken and R.A. Setterington was appointed to the post the voting being:- Setterington 13; Lucy 7.

6, Hut Wardens Report,

D.A. Coase reported very briefly that the foundations for the new hut were well under way, but that there was a considerable amount of work still to be done. The state of the existing Belfry is bad, and the new hut will have to be kept far cleaner that the old one.

A ladder is being re-roped and a lot of new equipment has been added to the club assets. This consists mainly of digging and, surveying gear.

Nothing further has been heard of the tent etc, that was missing and 2 caving helmets are also missing.

The Hon, Sec. asked why in view of the missing articles, why the lock on the main door had not been repaired. It was agreed that the new hut must be made burglar proof.

R. Wallace proposed that a sub-committee be appointed to push forward the erection of the new hut. This was sec. by Mrs. Tompsett and carried.

A. Johnson proposed that the whole question of internal arrangements be left to the General and Belfry Committees. This was seconded by R. Brain and carried.

7, The state of the Library Books

…was commented on by the Hon. Sec. and also the fact that few reports of trips were being sent in.

8  Plans for 1949,

The activities of the Club in broad outline were discussed and the following., tabulated for Committee discussion,

a          A complete survey of Stoke Lane,
b.         Photography of Stoke Lane,
c,         Trips other than Caving. (Climbing etc.).
d.         Cross Swallet,
e          Paes Dig.
f.          A Foreign Trip,

9,  Any other business

It was stated that for those wishing to work on the Belfry transport to and from the Belfry to Hillgrove would be guaranteed.

It was proposed that the Library fine system be overhauled. This was proposed by R. Wallace and sec. by D.A. Coase. The matter was referred to the Committee.

A vote of thanks was given to Mrs. Weekes for her kindness in loaning a room for the meeting.

The meeting closed at 9.30, there being 30 present at the meeting.

Members will be sorry to hear the our good 'clubite' R.A. Setterington met with an accident at Priddy recently. He was taken to Wells Hospital with facial injuries. However I have just had a message from him that he has returned home and he wished to thank everyone who either visited him or enquired for him. Good show Set!! Glad you’re in circulation again. .

To bring our list of Members for 1948 up to date, we are pleased to welcome the following new members:-

O.F. Rendell,                19. The Drive, Henleaze, Bristol.
Miss. S. Bowden-Lyle,   31 Highworth Road, St. Annes Park, Bristol;

From the Hon. See's Postbag:-

From our old friend and member Andre C. Anastasiou of Salt Lake City, now in Belfast:- ------ I saw in the Daily Mirror of a woman who left her clothes outside a cave on Mendip.-------Sounds as though the old B.E.C, must have been in on the hunt.-----------.

The only hole around here is a small hole with a total depth of about 10 ft (Members who don’t know Andre will be interested to know that he is the bod responsible for the books of cartoons signed Andre, that are so popular in club circles, and caused such hilarity at the recent Exhibition.)

From Fred Shorland who has been exported to Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia as a Human being and not by HM Forces.;- .

This country is honeycombed with caves in various piaces, but the distances are so great that one doesn’t get much chance of looking at any of them—----.

Black's Bulletin for Christmas 1948 has arrived and has the usual interesting features.

Song of a Speleo-Biologist

We print the following without comment:-

I like to see a centipede and to hear its martial tread.
And the sight of spiders fighting, it makes me reel in dread.
Bugs and beetles, lice full fittle,
Big worms, small fleas, if they're kittle.
Snails and leeches they bite my breeches
It's these that make me go!
With a clanking of collecting case, and chewing bubble gum!
With the nightly catch stowed safely in medicated rum!
A helmet's on my head and rotgut's in my tum!!!
As I speleo-biologising go.

Terry Reed

I beg to submit the above atrocity for publication on the BB., Terry    Off the Amazon, 2/13/48.

Apologies to all for the almost month's delay in this issue. Pressure of Work, Xmas and the general aftermath of the A.G.M. have all contrived to make it impossible to turn it out sooner.

BY THE WAY, Do YOU realize that you can get a Belfry Season ticket enabling you to stay (if you wish)permanently at the Belfry for as little as £2!!!! A Season Ticket is a great asset to the "Regular Belfry User" enabling him to save pounds during the year. Applications will be dealt with is strict rotation.

Financial Report for 1948

For the purchase of a Now Belfry we have been loaned by club Members the sum of £97/15/--

This sum will be repaid as soon as we are able to do so, it being born in mind that a certain cash balance is essential for the running of the club, and that the figures given below represent that balance.





By Equipment fees!
By Sales to members and friends:--
By Annual Subscriptions
By Belfry Income:
By Library Fines



To Membership CRG:
To Tools & Equip
To Goods. for Resale
To Belfry Expenditure
Books BB Stamps Gen Sec Execs



Total Income 1948


Total Expenditure


Profit on years working                     £5/ 1/2.

Cash in Hand on Jan 1st. 1948          £16/l6/4½

Cash in PO Account                         £16/ 7/5

Total Club Monies on 30/11/48          £21/17/6½

The above lists show that there is an increase in the sales income but that Belfry income is less than that of 1947.  Annual subs show an increase as go Equip fees.  Library fines are also down.

Expenditure on Tools and Equipment is increased, as has goods for resale. Although this item shows 125p.c. increase the corresponding profit can be seen in the credit column. Belfry expenditure is up as expected, and will greatly increase during the coming year. Miscellaneous items are down, by £6.  In this category comes paper etc for the B.B. some £10, then Library books some £5, stamps printing etc, Photographic papers etc for the Exhibition, and general secretarial exes...


Editor's Notes

Apologies are due for the long gap between this and the last BB. I must crave your indulgence as I have been (and still am) studying hard and have very little time. However, now the Hon. Sec. is back in circulation I hope the issues will be more regular.

The Hon. Sec has asked me to print the following:- I should like to thank everyone for their kind inquiries during my illness. Thanks are also due to Jimmy Weekes who took over my job at a minutes notice and kept the flag flying during my stay in Cornwall. To all those who have been waiting for letters etc. I apologise for the delay and will do my best to work off the arrears of correspondence in a few days. If you do not hear in a reasonable time drop me a reminder, as it is possible that some letters may be mislaid.

T.H. Stanbury Hon Sec

Elementary Geology for Beginners.

by another Beginner. R.A Setterington.

The Earth is roughly1,000,000,000 to 2,000,000,000 years old. We can obtain an idea of this age from the comparison of putting a postage stamp on a penny on the top of Nelson Column, then the stamp represents the age of man, and the penny the time that animal life. Has been in existence on the earth, ans the height of the Column itself the age of the Earth.

Pre-Cambrian Azoic
Devonian and Old Red Sandstone Primary
Millstone Grit
Coal Measures
The rocks which form the surface of the earth are divided into two main types; igneous (plutonic) and sedimentary. The igneous rocks are the rocks which were formed by the original solidification of the earth’s surface, while the sedimentary rocks are formed from those by erosion and subsequent deposition under the sea or other body of water. These two main divisions are further separated as is shown in the attached table. The secondary and tertiary rocks are further sub-divided into 18 different types of rock, three of which are not represented in , but since this division only confuses the investigator it is not made here.

The sedimentary rocks were laid down, in strata, on top of: the igneous rocks in order, (from top to bottom in the diagram) so that we might expect that if we dug down into the earth’s surface we would pass through each layer in turn, the newest first. However owing to distortion, faulting and erosion of the earths surface this does not happen. If we look at a geological map of we find that in the extreme west the rocks have been so eroded that
only the igneous and early sedimentary rocks remain while in the east very little erosion has taken place. Roughly speaking the older rocks occur, in , north of the line Greenock-Dundee; in , all except the north-east corner and a larger area in the south; and in Devon and Cornwall in . The newer rocks occur in -south and east of line, from Stockton south to Nottingham and southwest to the Severn, leaving out two small areas in central end southeast Devon and the Mendips. Thus we see that it is useless to expect to find limestone caves in areas other than:-


  1. Central and South-east Devon.
  2. The Mendips
  3. South and North-east Wales.
  4. Derbyshire
  5. Lancashire
  6. West Yorkshire, and an area north to the Cheviot Hills.
  7. An area around Edinburgh and Glasgow.

However limestone is not the only thing necessary for the formation of caves; water is also needed to dissolve it away and leave cavities. The water which forms caves comes, originally from rain and rain is heaviest in hilly or mountainous districts.

The caves in Yorkshire and Derbyshire differ from those in the Mendips in configuration, due to the difference in the angle of the strata. In Yorkshire the strata is horizontal, or nearly so, this causes the caves to occur as long vertical pitches and nearly horizontal passages. In Mendip the strata dips towards the edges of the hills, this is because the Mendips are an uplifted ridge of strata.  The Mendips were originally a lot higher than they are now, but they have been eroded so much on top that the tops of the higher parts (like Blackdown and Ninebarrorws) are old red sandstone. Now sandstone is permeable to water but is not dissolved by it, the shales (which lie over it in geological time, around it in physical position) are impermeable, so when rain falls on the sandstone it passes through it and drains out through springs, (like Ladywell) passes over the shales and into the limestone. From this we see that the best place to look for swallet caves is, at the junction of the shales and the limestone. This conclusion is amply born out if we consider the row of caves:- Cuckoo Cleeves, Plantation Swallet, Eastwater, Swildons and Hollowfield.

The water, having passed through the limestone, must come out somewhere and this it does at caves of iflux, like Wookey Hole and Cheddar, and springs like Rickford and Rodney Stoke.  The geology of Wookey Hole is worthy of special mention. Wookey was a very old cave formed when the Mendips were relatively young, then the hills sank down into the sea and the gorge which the river had formed was filled up with a mass of conglomerate. Then the hills rose out of the sea again and the river had to form a new cave and gorge, this is why Wookey Hole is in conglomerate.

Note:-   Dolomitic Conglomerate is composed of the debris of denudation, a mixture in the case of Wookey, of limestone and sandstone fragments; some large some small, all bound together into a solid mass. A very good analogy being a mass of concrete viewed through a magnifying glass.


The Annual General Meeting of the CAVE RESEARCH GROUP will be held at Sheffield on June 1st 1948 at 6.p.m. Will anyone wishing to attend please let the Hon. Sec. know his name as soon as possible, so that the necessary arrangements may be made.

Report on exploration and survey of a Chalk Mine near Springwell, Rickmansworth, Herts

by  G.W. Ridyard

I decided that, while I was at home this Easter, I would have a look at a chalk mine which is in our neighbourhood.  The mine consists of a vertical shaft which was once some 50 ft. deep, but is now shortened to approx. 40 ft in depth by a large accumulation of muck and rubble at its foot.  Branching out from the bottom of the shaft are a series of interesting chambers hewn out of the chalk strata.

The farmer w'ho rents the land told me that the pit together with several others nearby, which are now filled in, were dug within the last 100 years to supply chalk for spreading on sour ground. This sounds quite feasible and put an end to my hopes of an ancient flint mine, which in west Hertfordshire would have been quite a find. However, I thought that it was still worth having a look at so on Good Friday afternoon my friend, Douglas Goff, and I lugged two Sections of rope ladder and a tether to the hilltop where the shaft is situated.

The top of the shaft is surrounded by trees so we had no difficulty tethering the ladder quite securely. The ladder was just long enough and because of a slight overhang at the top of the shaft, was clear of the wall most of the way down. At the foot of the ladder one could see that the shaft is circular in section and it gave one the impression of being at the bottom of a well. The pile of debris is quite large and extends for some feet into the chambers on either side of the shaft, as might be expected there are numerous animal bones old cans, tyres and "what have you" mixed up with the dirt in the pile.

The Chambers average 6-8 ft. in width and are between 15-20 ft in height. The cross-sectlon of the chambers is more or less Gothic-vertical sides with two arcs at the top to form the roof- and this coupled with complete silence makes you feel as though you were in a deserted church. The floor is very even in most places and the whole system is surprisingly dry. I had taken some collecting bottles with me in case there might be some “bugs” for E.A. Glennie, but the place seemed much too dry to attract cave fauna, I saw no sign of bats anywhere in the system.

After spending a couple of hours on the survey of the place with pocket compass and knotted cord, we decided that we had found out just about all there was to know about the place and we beat a retreat. Both Goff and I enjoyed exploring this place and although I had hoped It might have more possibilities I shall not be nagged by the thought that I might be missing something worth-while as I might have been had I not gone down.

Geoff has sent a very fine plan of the above Chalk Mine. Space will not allow the printing of it here but it will be in the next issue.

List of Members No 2

22         L. Peters,          21. Melbury Road, Knowle, Bristol.4.
23         J.C. Weekes     376. Wells Road, Knowle .Bristol.4.
27         R.A. Crocker     5. Berry Lane Horfield, Bristol.7
29         R. Woodbridge   384 Wells Road, Knowle, Bristol 4
31         D.A. Bessell      5 Albert Parade, Redfield, Bristol
32         A.K. Baxter       93.Redcatch Road, Knowle, Bristol.4
34         E. Knight           48.Grafton Street, St. Philips Marsh, Bristol.
36         R. Brain            10 Weston Ave. Cossham Road, St. George, Bristol.5.
38         Mrs I.M. Stanbury (Life Member) 74. Redcatch Road, Bristol.4.
43         A. Atkinson       32. Salisbury Road, Redland, Bristol.

The Belfry, through the generosity of Set and Postle (to the uninitiated R.A. Setterington & T.H. Tompsett) has had a radio presented to it. Thanks also to Dick Bellamy who also offered one.

A copy of British Regional Geology, Bristol and Gloucester District has been presented to the library by Pongo (P.M. Wallis).

Back numbers of this Bulletin can be obtained, when in print, from the Hon. 3d. per copy, 4d. post free.

Also in stock are:- Carbide Lamps, Spare jets, rubber gaskets and prickers.

Caving Hats and Caps together with all caving, climbing and camping gear, can be obtained through the Hon. Sec., Who also has Y.H.A. and Camping Club Application Forms.



A very Happy New Year and Good Caving to all our members all over the World,

Grand Auction

The Club is auctioning an almost new pair of Tyrolean Shorts, complete with the usual natty braces.  These shorts of leather have been given by Henry Shelton, and will fit a tall man. Bids are to be sent to the Hon, Sec, by the end of February.


The following "Poem" arrived in the Hon. Sec's door by mysterious means and is unsigned. Members of the Club will however recognise without difficulty its author. (with many apologies to Shakespeare).

When motorbikes stand by the hut,
And Don the Diver cleans his plug,
And Sett screws up a loosened nut,
And beer comes frozen home in Jug,
When roads be white and slippery,
Then nightly sings the B.E.C. "Woo woo!
Alas Poor little Angeling”,
While Greasy George the plates doth clean.

When Macbeth doth refuse to go,
And caving clothes hang by the door,
And G,B. lies beneath the snow,
And Half-Pint's nose is red and raw,
When stew's been cooked, and beer runs free,
Then nightly sings the B.E.C. “Woo woo!
Alas Poor little Angeling”,
While Greasy George the plates doth clean.

Stupendous Discovery on Mendip

The following is an extract from a newspaper cutting recently sent to the Hon. Sec.:-

The spirit of adventure and exploration was high in the minds of all who went out on the Club Run last week with the ----------- traversing over rough cart tracks and muddy lanes of the barren, almost deserted Mendip Hills, white over with the frost of the night before, against a biting wind, they continued to their destination- Goatchurch Caves- going via Banwell, Shipham and Charterhouse.

Descending into the caves, which go down many miles having a great many turnings which must be chosen and remembered with care for the return journey, and armed with ropes and candles, a depth of approximately two miles was reached.

The more adventurous of the explorers succeeded in reaching a grotto through a tunnel known to cavers as the "Drainpipe", this being 1’6" in diameter and 20 feet Iong, here turning round and reaching the top again, muddy but pleased with their achievement, just as dusk was falling.

The afternoon run was met for tea at the Stirrup Cup Cafe, which is situated at the top of Burrington Coombe. -----------

Someone has been holding out on us! Two miles, It puts Stoke Lane in the shade. Will anyone with information please send in to the Hon. Editor at once!!!!

Climbing Nevis Peak. British West Indies.

The Menace Again!

Nevis is a small island which really consists of an extinct volcano, sticking 3,600 ft. out of the ocean. This mountain is covered in dense jungle right to the top, as are all the mountains in B.W.I..

Having heard of some rock near the cloud capped summit, George and I decided to climb it. We managed to get permission to start at 6.0 a.m. in the morning before it got too hot, and by 7.0 we had got to the base of a large gully.  The bed of the Gully was a vile mixture of mud, loose rock, ash and jungle, and the going was so loose that we had to take to the side of it. I can only describe the next part as climbing up a mass of vertical matted vegetation. By then it had got really hot and clouds of steam were rising off everything, also clouds of mosquitoes, bugs and what have you. We soon became eaten alive, scratched to bits, and generally done up in big heaps. After about 1,000 ft. of this sort of thing we came into the cloud level, and it became very cold. There was a sort of green twilight all the time, and the only living things were a vicious brand of ants, and some horrible looking monkeys that wailed and screamed at us. After this the going was somewhat easier over mossy rock and ash, and we arrived at the top. The top was covered in stunted grey trees covered in streamers of grey moss, and with a visibility of about 5 yards it was very depressing and cold. In fact the only sign that we were at the top was the fact that we couldn’t go any higher.

After a cold miserable meal we started off down another gully. In fact, once we started we couldn't stop and it was one long glissade to the bottom.  However, there were one or two rock pitches and George went flying over the first one, about 35 ft. into a pot-hole full of water, without getting seriously damaged.  I decided to be a lot more careful and lowered myself from a small tree which promptly came away, and I joined him, landing in a sitting position on a rock. I will leave the next part to your imagination, as it is not printable. After about two more hours of this sort of thing, we got back to the ship, being the first ones to have climbed the mountain by that side for 25 years.

J.Y. Morris

From the Hon. Sec’s-Post Bag

From Terry Reed, Off Klein Bonaire, (Wherever that may be, Ed.)!! . I would like to report that I believe some caves to exist at Point St. Marie, just North of Ballen Bay in Curacoa. I must have passed within 200 yds of them.

Also from Terry Reed, off San Luiz. (Ditto) Ed.. Spent my time in Curacoa in – you’ve guessed it - Caving!!  I was unable to visit the Virgin's Grotto ---- but I visited an old mine-working near Caracas Bay, which had broken into a big L shaped chamber.  I didn’t even need overalls, which with other tackle I'd lugged from-------?, Just walked in -------—— Hope to collect some dried Human Heads this trip.

From Tony Crawford,

If anyone is interested, there is a place called Cromarty inside the Morray Firth. As we steamed through the Cromarty Gap I sap that the right hand side was a cliff covered with sea caves which should be very interesting to explore. I was very sorry that I was unable to go ashore and explore them.------------On the Isle of Arran, off the S.W. coast of there is an island called Holy Island on the lighthouse end of which there is a cave which is easily seen from the path all round the island. This cave is really a split in the rock which you would call a cleft. It looks like an interesting cave and is worth exploring. I crawled as far as I could. It is not a sea cave at all, as fresh water trickles trickles through it and showers through the roof.  When the opening became too small I had to turn back as I had no spade to dig the earth in the bottom of the passage, where the floor was soft. The passage continued as I; saw when I shone my torch in and saw a larger chamber continuing. ----

Reed’s Cavern Buckfastleigh, S. Devon.

By G.W. Ridyard

During a visit to Plymouth during the second week of December, I met E. Masson Phillips, a newcomer to Caving, and a local archaeologist.

The outcome of our meeting was that on the Saturday morning I found myself on a bus bound for Buckfastleigh.

Buckfastleigh is-situated on the south-eastern fringe of Dartmoor and has a number of caves nearby in an outcrop of Devonian Limestone. The Devon Speleos, have their headquarters at Buckfastleigh behind the general store of Mr. Reed, discoverer of Reed’s Cavern. There we changed and set out, in pouring rain for the disused quarry where the entrance to Reed's Cavern is situated.  The party consisted of four sixth-form boys from Totnes Grammar School, one of which was "Jigger" Reed who as a caver is following in his father's footsteps, E.M. Phillips who is their science master, and myself.

Arriving at the quarry I found that the entrance was in a large rock shelter formed by a natural cavity half quarried away in the past. We waited here for a while for Mr. Woodward of the Devon Speleos, who was to lead the party. After a while the lads and myself decided to have a look at Spider Hole, a small cave system about 50 yards from our shelter. We were hoping to see some bats, but we had to be content with one rather sleepy Greater Horseshoe Bat, which swore softly when he was removed from his perch. This was one of the bats which had been ringed by the Devon Speleos. The Hoopers and the Reeds have done a lot of work of this type in the Buckfastleigh area.  Sometimes as was the case with this particular bat, the rings are rendered illegible by the bats chewing them.

Spider Hole lived up to its name, for in the semi-dark gone I saw some of the biggest spiders I have ever seen. Leaving our bat and the spiders we squelched back, through mud and. rain, to Reed's Cavern entrance; where we found Mr. Woodward had arrived with the key of the door which has been fitted a short distance inside the entrance passage.

The entrance was about. 8 ft. above the ground level and after negotiating this by climbing over a wheels-less farm cart propped against the rock face, we found ourselves in a small chamber with a certain amount of discoloured drip formation.  Pressing on we soon had to crawl along a low passage as far as the small, door which cuts off the bulk of the cave from the general public.  The door was in a side of the passage, and we made a right angled turn as we entered it.  A further crawl of some feet and a little squeeze brought us into the main chamber.

We emerged beneath two "Shark's fin" curtains of stalactite, of an orangish shade, one of which has had its point removed by someone who forgot to duck when he stood up. The main chamber I judged to be about 120ft long, 30 ft wide, and up to 30 ft in height.

The floor was very uneven with a number of large limestone blocks lying about and there was a small boulder ruckle at one point which leads, I believe, to a lower series. There was quite a lot of stalagmite on certain parts of the floor cementing boulders together. Around the sides of the main chamber were plenty of formations, and one or two stalagmite cascades, some rather dirty.

We continued along a passage which brought us into a small rift chamber where we saw evidence of a former water levels some 4 ft above the general floor level. Here, was a bristling fringe of dogtooth spar along one wall and on the side of a rock which must have projected at one time above the level of the pool.  We traversed a number of rift and water-eaten passages until near the limit of our trip we saw the oddest helactite I have ever seen. This was in the form of a little stalacto-stalagmite column with two horizontally opposed arms sprouting out of it, each curving upwards. The impression is that of a little man, wearing a top hat and conducting a choir.  The whole thing is in white crystal-like calcite which is similar to the calcite forming the numerous small helectltes in this part of the series.  I do not think that G.B. Cavern can equal this Devonshire cave for this peculiar type of formation.

We retraced our steps to the main chamber and spent half an hour or so exploring a few side passages which were pretty tight and quite abortive. In one small cul-de-sac we saw a number of small mounds of needle like crystals which being brownish in colour looked exactly like a group of hedge hogs in hibernation. Finally we headed back for the entrance having abandoned the idea of trying the upper series as one of the lads was wearing gum boots and was therefore, not equipped for any strenuous rock climbing.

After walking back to Buckfastleigh in the rain we changed and cleaned up. Mrs Reed very kindly provided us with a first rate tea which was duly dispatched and after bidding our fellow mud-wallowers good-bye, Phillips and I left for the Plymouth bus.

To sum up I would say that Reed's Cavern is a very interesting cave and, although some of the formations have much to be desired so far as beauty is concerned, it is far superior to any of the Yorkshire caves I visited last summer. It is a good sporting cave and is moderately dry. The cave is well worth visiting if any BEC members should be in the neighbourhood in the future, and I have no doubt that Mr. Reed and the Devon Speleos in general would prove to be very helpful in any way possible.

Belfry Sub. Committee.

At a recent Committee meeting it was decided that the Belfry subcommittee to deal with matters relating to the erection of the New Belfry and to expedite its completion should be:- John Ifold, G.T. Lucy, Tony Johnson and Mrs. Tompsett, with Tony Setterington as chairman.


The library will be closed from Feb. 1st. until a date to be announced later. All books MUST be returned by this date without fail. The Library Fine System is suspended as from the publication of this Belfry Bulletin until an announcement be made to the contrary.

T.H. Stanbury. Hon Sec

Note by Hon. Fester of B.B. The stencil seems to have slipped to the side during cutting. Apologies are offered.

At the A.G.M. a question was asked about B.E.C, activities other than Caving and the matter was discussed at at the last Committee meeting.

Walking and Climbing.  Will all those interested in either walking or Rock climbing please send in their names so that we may get something organised. Even if you think that a committee man knows your interests please let us know as your name may be the one forgotten.

We have a leader in mind for the walking Section, whose name will be announced when and if he accepts. Would any of the existing climbing types in the club like to suggest someone, not necessarily a club member who would give sound tuition to those interested.

Another unsigned epic.

A suggested Epitaph.

Here lies dear Don,
So sadly passed on.

He went down Stoke Lane,
When 'twas pouring with rain.

Tho' they pumped out the Sump
With a ruddy great pump,

He was well out of reach
In the tum of a leech.

So cavers take heed
If you*re able to read

Of the undignified end
Of a very dear friend.

D. A. C.    R.I.P.

Cave Research Group.

The C.R.G. is publishing in the immediate future 'The Transactions of the Cave Research Group'. It consists of 29pages of duplicate copyscript, a printed cover and 16 line diagrams together with 4 half tone illustrations.

The price is 4/-, Please send all orders to the Hon. Sec. as soon as possible. He will forward to the C.R.G.


Mr. F.J. Shorland has become engaged to Miss Joyce Norman, a Telephone Operator at Taunton.

News Flash.

A mine Shaft was recently found open in Warren Field.


Further item 3 of the A.G.M. agenda the following persons were nominated for the 54 committee

R Bagshaw, T H Stanbury,  D ,  K Dobbs,  R Setterington. A Collins A Johnson. P Ifold, D.A. Coase,  Mrs C Coase,  R Bennett N Petty

The Committee consists of 8n persons including at least one Lady member.

I wish to vote for the following:








8 Lady Rep


NAME                                         Mem. No.

This form should be completed and returned to the Asst Sec 55 Broadfield Rd,  Knowle Bristol 4 not later than 10 MAR 1954.

Editorial notes

Bristol Youth Service Register

The Club is now on the above register, and any circulars will be available at HQ as and when they arrive.  We have one which is of interest to any member under 18 who wishes to learn to swim.  Tuition is available at reduced rates to those who wish to take advantage of it.

Noise at The belfry.

The Hut Warden tells me that Mr. Beecham, our Landlord, has lodged a strong complaint about the noise at the Belfry late at night.  It is very necessary that this shall not happen again; so would all concerned please remember that the Farmhouse is very near and STOP THE RACKETT.

Cave Research Group.

CRG News Letters Nos 4 & 5, dated May, 1947, have arrived and are available at Head Quarters.

Smuggler’s Hole, Northcott Mouth, Bude, N. Cornwall.

Page 2 of this issue is a plan of the entrance passage of this cave, which was surveyed by THS on 7/4/47.  We plan a trip to carry on the dig at this site on the third week-end in August. (Aug.16-17). It will be a week-end Camp. Will all Members who are interested please let the Hon. Sec. know as soon as possible, so that Transport arrangements and Camp Site can be arranged in good time.

Badger Hole, Wookey Hole'

This Excavation is still being carried on by Mr. H.E. Balch every Saturday afternoon from 2pm to 5pm.. He is always glad to welcome anyone who is interested and willing to work.  This is a very interesting site that will well repay a visit.

Mrs Joan Fountain, (and the Trickle)

Those of you who have been regular visitors to 74 Redcatch will remember Joan, who caused a great deal of fun while she was with us.  She is now a fully fledged Farmer's wife in Texas, and her troubles have changed from Wolves after her virtue to Hawks after her chickens.  The Trickle is fit and well, and she tells us that his favourite game is hiding in 'orrid ‘oles.

Another Scweek from Herman

The Hon. Sec. has done some caving in the depths of his filing system and discovered the lost limerick. Yer tez.

Now Bozzies a nice chap to know,
Tho' his Motorbike seldom will go.
If he does pet it running,
By some feat of cunning,
It is almost always on tow.

My compliments to the President of the Anti-C.D.G.  The Limerick about THS was printed with the full approval of his spouse and she asks me to say that she made a bigger mistake than he did.

CDG Somerset Section, Redcatch Group.

At the Henleaze Lake recently certain members have been having a fine time searching the bottom for obstructions thrown in during the war, and have retrieved to date - 2 oil drums, 1 waste paper basket, 1 large length of pipe.  It is reputed that there is a bedstead on the bottom, if it is found it will be presented to Dizzie and Postle as a wedding present.


Belfry Regulations

  1. CHARGES. For use of Belfry for feeding and changing:- 3d. Members Tsleeping;- l/- per night. For non-members;- 2/- per night.  These charges to include fuel for cooking, and lighting.
  2. PAYMENT. All money to be paid to the Hut Warden, or his deputy, before the person(s) leaves the Belfry.
  3. NOISE. Unnecessary noise after 10 p.m. is PROHIBITED. The Hut Wardens decision as to what noise is unnecessary will be final, and if any member(s) does not accept it, a posse will be enrolled forthwith, and said member(s) will be dumped in Mineries Pool.
  4. GENERATOR. The petrol-Electric Generator must-not be touched by any person, other than the Hon. Engineer.
  5. CLEANNESS. Members using the Belfry are responsible for keeping the place clean, and parties will be detailed by the Hut Warden for this purpose.
  6. KEY.  The key is obtainable from the Hon. Sec. or any committee member. Keys are also available on loan, upon payment of a deposit of 1/6, to any member who, in special circumstances, may require one.

The committee reserve the right to make any alterations to these rules at any time, without notice. Any such alterations will be published in the BB.

Programme for July, August and September.

July 5-6th           Digging at Bog Hole.

July 20th            Eastwater. If sufficient nos. are available, the whole cave, down both routes will be laddered.

Aug. 2-4th          Bank Holiday meet at the Belfry. Open programme.

Aug. 16-17th       Week end camp at Smuggler’s Hole, Bude.  Leader T.Stanbury

Aug. 16-34th       Weeks caving in Derbyshire. Leader D.A.Coase

Anyone interested in these two trips apply to Hon Sec for details.

Aug. 31st           G.B. and Reads Grotto.

Sept. 14th          More Muddy Mendip Mine Shafts, including Ores Close Cave Mine.

Sept. 28th          Burrington Coombe.  As many holes as energy permits.


We have just learnt that S.J. (Alfie) Collins became engaged to Jean ?., at Whitsun. Congratulations Alfie, but make sure she doesn’t object to you caving before it is too late.

Our Belfry On The Hill

(with apologises to stinker)

At our Belfry on the Hill,
Your'll often find the fellows congregating,
At our Belfry on the Hill.
They use the place for everything but mating,
They may be talking caving, but often they do not.
A dose of Belfry Binder will be festering in the pot.
You may think its a medicine, but believe me folks, its not,
At our Belfry on the Hill.

At our Belfry on the Hill, The Warden of the Hut is really wizard,
At our Belfry on the Hill, We know a frozen tike who hates his gizzard.
He keeps the place in order, writes the log, and does the chores.
He's very glad we had to put the detail out of doors,
He really ought to clean it, but he says the job is yours,
At our Belfry on the Hill.

At our Belfry on the Hill, We welcome all additions to our party,
At our Belfry on the Hill. We guarantee the welcome will be hearty.
So come along and see us, we'll be glad to have you call,
If you want to spend the night you'll find the cost is small.
We have to watch the Warden or he doesn't pay at all,
At our Belfry on the Hill.

Another verse of this horrible doggerel was written, but thank the Lord we haven’t room to include it.

This Weekes' Cross-word Puzzle

Well, folks, yes tiz at last, the long awaited X-word by the longest Stream - beg pardon - member of the BEC.  We are running it as a competition, and the rules are very simple.

  1. All Members are eligible to enter except the Hon. Editor, and 1854093 Sergeant James W'eekes, N.E.G., the perpetrator of this outrage.
  2. The entry fee shall be 6d per entry. Members may send as many entries as they like. I.O.U.s will not be accepted.
  3. Entries must be sent, or delivered in a sealed envelope, marked "Comp", to The Hon. Editor, The Belfry Bulletin, 74.Redcatch Road, Bristol 4.
  4. All entries must be received by July 10th 1947.
  5. The prize will be:-  Either ,10 free nights doss at the Belfry, or Free Membership for 1948, as the winner desires.
  6. The winner will be the sender of the first correct, or most nearly correct, solution opened by the Hon. Editor at the Club Meeting on Thursday July 10th.
  7. Entries that have altered or mutilated or do not contain the Entry Fee will be disqualified.
  8. The Editor's decision on all Matters concerning this competition is final.



1          An Englishman’s home---The Cosiest on Mendip (6,2,7)
9          Dizzy looked neither when thrown into Minery Pond! (4,2,9)
10         Nothing to do with BEC but its a gem.
11         This way in Swildon's.
13         RAF “RSM”
14         The Better 'Ole
15         Sometimes happens to Rasputin's Gears
16         Apply
18         A starched collar at the Sump? More likely a bad ankle.
21         A lamb brings Woodbridge's favourite cuss-word to mine.
23         Looking for street in Paris? No, the trend of a fat man's thoughts in the drainpipe.
25         Keep it Iow for stability
26         You can’t take your this underground.
28         Missed? Have another throw. (5,5)
31&32   Science probably inspired by growing mushrooms in the cellar. (6&6).


1          Coy Nan, the Colorados Grand. A Child of a concentration camp?
3          Was Barnes knocked for this in Swildon's?
4          Not a polite bovine, or a new style of tie.
5          There’s one all round the Island
6          Waterproof? Then they will strike!
7          Splash! Don’t be a fool, thats not a tiddler in the Double Pot.
8 & 22   What the caver told when he has towork on Sunday (4,2,6).
12         China Seas? no, a Mendip Swallet
14         Yorkshire Ghyll.
17         Palindromic British Hole.
19         14-lbs.of rock.
20         "Purgatory” is a noted one.
21         You need one after visiting this cave?
22         See 4
24         Hard water
27         Why take lights?
29         Hoi! Its in a knot.
30         Woman's name.

The above puzzle was sent in in response to our request for contributions. We have also received a number of other articles; the total number, however is not large, and we hope that there will be more forthcoming, soon. The more that reach us the more variety you will all have in BB.  We would like criticism too, tell us what you like and we will give you more, and vice-versa.


Members will be delighted to hear that the Hon. Treasurer has told me that the debt outstanding for the Belfry has been settled, and that the Belfry fund which covers all Belfry income and expenditure is in a very healthy state at the present time, the allowance made from the General Fund for internal fittings being fully repaid.


The BEC's series of caving reports cover a wealth of knowledge and experience.Most of these were written many years ago but still contain very pertinent information covering many aspects of the clubs activities.


Been down St Cuthberts? Buy the report and get a free survey!

Less well-known than many of Mendip's other major cave systems, St. Cuthbert's Swallet offers much to those whose interest extends beyond mere sporting activity. Not only does it contain fine pitches and streamways but it has numerous large chambers, some beautifully decorated, intricate phreatic mazes and up to seven distinct levels. It is without doubt Mendip's most complex cave system and, not generally realised, it contains perhaps the finest and greatest variety of formations in the area. Among its displays are found magnificent calcite groups such as the 'Curtains', 'Cascade', Gour Hall with its 20ft high gour, 'The Beehive', Canyon Series and the 'Balcony' formations in September Chamber, all of which are without peer in the country. There are also superb mini-formations including floating calcite crystals, over twenty nests of cave pearls, and delicate fern-like crystals less than four millimetres long; a variety that few other caves can boast.

Access is strictly controlled by the Bristol Exploration Club. Conservation was the prime reason for wishing to control access to the cave. To achieve this aim it was decided by the BEC at their 1955 Annual General Meeting to introduce a leader system. St. Cuthbert's Swallet was one of the first caves in the country to be so protected. This action has often been the centre of controversy. However, the fact remains that, after thirty years, the cave is essentially still in pristine condition and proven justification for the leader system.

The St Cuthberts report was written and compiled by D.J. “Wig”  Irwin with additional material by Dr. D.C. Ford, P.J. Romford, C.M. Smart and Dr. J.M. Wilson. Running to 82 pages and containing a vast array of photos and a wealth of information this doesn’t just deserve to be on every cavers bookshelf, you should get one for all your friends too (well maybe).

Copies can be purchased from the Belfry or Bat Products for a very reasonable sum.

Also Available as a PDF download from the downloads section from the publications menu

The monthly newsletter will remove ‘internal’ members items from the regular Belfry Bulletin and hopefully be able to update our members more frequently on news, BEC events, local caving related events, any internal stuff members may like to know, dig updates, gossip, etc. etc. It will also contain a rolling calendar which will list both BEC and member events and any other cavers related events on Mendip and the wider community where appropriate.

The newsletter is totally internal to BEC membership and will not be distributed outside of the club, unlike the BB which is exchanged with other clubs and  eventually published publicly on the website.

{loadmodule GoogleCalendar}

{module [570]}

The Belfry Bulletin is the journal of the Bristol Exploration Club.

The current editor, always welcomes articles and pictures as this journal is what the members make it by sending in contributions. As well as his postal address published in the Belfry Bulletin, he can also now receive articles by e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


The entire archive of back issues is available here entirely due to Andy Mac-Gregor. Over a period of four years Andy has scanned and converted to text via OCR every single issue. When you consider that most of these were printed on a Gestetner duplicator you'll appreciate the scale of this achievement.