Local Services

Search Our Site

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.


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. Sec.at 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.





On Wednesday February 25th Betty and Johnny Shorthose, a daughter, Mary Elisabeth. Mother and Daughter both doing well.

Hearty Congratulations to Mum, and Dad, and welcome to the ”Young Idea”.

Editors Notes

I have learned that Alfie Collins hopes to be in double harness at Christmas.

At the request of a number of members we are printing the "Votes list of Candidates for the 1948 Committee":-

T. H. Stanbury 33
D.A. Coase 26
D.H. Hassel 25
A.M. Innes 20
J. C. Weekes 19
R.A. Setteriongton 18
G.T. Lucy 15
G. Fenn 12
J.D. Pain 5

The Committee decided to co-opt R.A. Setterington to the Committee because of the difficulty D.A. Coase finds in getting down for meetings.

Programme for March, April and May, 1948.

Saturday 13th March Swildons Hole
Sunday 21st March August Hole and Longwood
Saturday 10th April Burrington, General Caving
Sunday 18th April Eastwater
Saturday 8th May G.B.
Sunday 16th May Stoke Lane Lower Series

New Books

By R.M.W

The mere mention that there is a new book by Casteret should be enough to start a rush on the nearest book-shop. "My Caves", has just been published by Dent's at .15/-.

This is a chronological sequence to "Ten Years under the Earth” and brings us up to 1939, but it differs in some respects from that wonderful book. In this only one cave is dealt with in detail – the author describes very vividly the efforts he made to bye pass a trap in the cave of Labouiche, which required considerable effort in climbing and penetrating squeezes, only to find on regaining the river, that a further trap still barred the way. This he has not yet attempted to pass. The second chapter deals with some of the Basque Pot-holes which he descended (with aid of a winch and some terrifyingly thin cable) in company of Max Cosyns and Vander Elst - both one time stratosphere balloonists.

The remainder of the book is devoted to caving in general and a survey of facts and figures. He also discusses his own equipment, most of it little, if any, different from that familiar to us. His ladders, however, do not appeal to me. He pins his faith in 1/8" steel wire with magnesium alloy rungs, weighing only about 1.oz./ ft. He has 1600 feet of this - imagine about one Belfry-full of B.E.C. Ladder!

The final very interesting chapter records three years research into the habits of bats - their life-cycle, feeding and migratory habits. For some species do migrate, though why and how far remains a mystery. Some of the bats he observed and ringed successfully returned to their cave when released 180 miles away, though another group failed at 400 miles.

In the introduction, Casteret says: “Everything I have described has been observer, in the Pyrenees. I make no claim to ownership....but in many cases I have discovered and explored them. Visits to 700 caves.......are I think justification for the title. He does not claim it as a handbook or compendium, but rather a tale of adventure. Nonetheless, much can be learned from these pages by a pastmaster of the subject and even though he insists he is only an "Amateur and dilettante” he is beset by many correspondents suggesting suitable caves for exploration. One from said he had seen many large unexplored pots in the Apennines. It is only in the Postscript he bothers to mention that he refers to the Apennines in the Moon, which he had been studying in a telescope.

I feel this to be the work of a more sober man than the author of “Ten Years". His lone forcing of the Montesapn syphon in 1922, was, it seemed to me, a foolhardy risk, and as such he now recognises it. While he still prefers solitary exploration, he can in no case advise anyone to venture alone into the dark labyrinths below…. Do what I say, and not what I do.

The translation is by R.L.G. Irving, and very well done too. In one place only was I conscious of the fact that I was reading a book originally in another language, and that is a very difficult thing to achieve. Even a bad translation of ''Mes Cavernes" would have been better than none, but a very good one rejoices the heart.

26 photographs add a final touch to a book you must beg, borrow or steal (or you might even buy it - it's is worth it!).

A copy of the above book is now in the Club Library.( Ed.).

North Wales Border Caves

By A.C. Johnson.

Between Pantymevyn and Cilcain a dozen miles south of Holywell, and 3 miles west of Mold, the River Alyn runs through a deep narrow valley. I say runs, but it only appears in flood as it spends the rest of its time underground in old lead workings which it enters a mile or so upstream, not far from a pub boasting the name of "We Three Loggerheads'' commonly called "The Loggerheads”. Up till 1939 there used to be a spar quarry on the east bank of the river. The spar was quarried originally from a rift 20' wide. When they had got into the rift for about 300ft. they broke into the end of an enormous rift chamber about 120ft high at about 30 ft from the deck. This only left them 50 ft instead of 140 ft to quarry so they left it. The chamber is about 5 degrees out of the vertical. The bottom of this chamber Is filled with the water that should be in the river outside. The chamber stretches back into blackness although your light is hampered by a remarkable vertical buttress that stretches about two-thirds of the way up the left hand wall and connects up with a vertical inverted buttress coming down from the roof and attached to the other wall, forming a huge arch in the bottom right side above the water and an equally large doorway on the top left side. The whole thing is so far in as to be in gloom but I have a sneaking feeling that it is made of stalactite. A person with more energy than sense might possibly climb down the left wall into the doorway as there is a slight horizontal bulge running along the wall, having an upper surface at about 55 degrees to the horizontal. The which appears by the sound of the stonesto be very deep is divided at the limit of sight by a large spur but as there is still about 100 ft. headroom further progress should be possible. A dingy would be needed for exploration but a paddle steamer would be alright for size. Just about 50 yds up the river bank is a real scorcher of a cave entrance all choked by greenish stalactite. It is about 25 ft long and about 10 ft. high. Several promising holes peep out round curtains of the stuff and a chisel and hammer might reveal things. Even more hopeful is a corkscrew aven in the roof all covered in stalactite, which is the most impressive one I have seen. By its position, this is most likely to be an outlet cave and there is plenty of room under the hill so it may go. To return to lead mines, about ½ mile further on is the most shaky piece of mining engineering I have ever seen; just right for exploration by Johnnie Morris. A level has been driven into the rock near one end of a 100ft cliff, but it must have bean unsafe and they continue until it was about 70 ft. high. Then they stuffed it full of props to keep the walls apart. The two walls are now just masses of loose stone; most of the props near the entrance have gone and those further in have been removed by about 50 ft. of the roof collapsing. The first 50ft. was only saved by the roots of two big oak trees it seems. Anyway a rope over one of the props would probably fetch it all in, as stones start miniature avalanches. In the field above there is a line of 3 open shafts with large slab walls about 8ft. in diameter. There are about 20 shafts dotted about on the side of the valley; and towards The Loggerheads the O.S. marks a place called Cat Hole, that none of the locals know.

There are a number of quarries in the area and I believe that small caves were found and may still be open, but I do not know at present anything more but will try and investigate soon.

The hills to the west of the valley rise to the Clwydian range where some magnificent hill walks can be obtained. The highest peak, Moel Famau 1820 ft, has the base of a monster cairn on top but the builders must have thought that it wasn’t worth lugging stone that far. From here fine views can be had especially towards Snowdonia.

It seems to me that North Wales has been sadly neglected, but under this present ---x petrol situation it will have to wait. All the caves I have seen have been within a mile of bus routes and ½ a mile of a road, so they are all accessible like those of Mendip. Also the owners of the land surrounding the cave entrances don’t seem too bad in fact they seem almost interested..

Tony Johnson has asked that any information about this area please be passed to him. (Ed.).


We have had some letters from Terry Reed. He is infesting Trinidad now and has found some caves there; we shall print his notes all being well in the next issue.

List of members.

We have decided to publish lists of members and their addresses, so that those members who live adjacent to each other, may know their neighbours.

1 T.H. Stanbury, Hon. Sec, 74. Redcatch Road., Knowle, Bristol 4.
3 D.W. Jones, 18 Highbury Road, Bristol 8
4 D.H. Hasell, Hill House, Moorlynch, Nr. Bridgewater, Somerset
5 R. Wallace, 32 Springleaze, Knowle, Bristol 4
7 G.A.R. Tait, 35 Laurence Grove, Henleaze, Bristol
9 F.A. Edwards, 14 Tuegla terrace, Bristol
17 J.V. Morris, Ye Olde Jolly Sailor Inn, Teighnmouth, Devon
19 S.C.W. Herman, 34 Jubilee Road, Knowle, Bristol 4
20 R.J. Bagshaw, 11 Hill Crest, Knowle, Bristol 4
21 G.R. Fenn, Kinsale Road, Knowle Bristol 4


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 Editor's Notes

As most of you know, Mr. Beecham has asked us to move the Belfry and has considerably reduced our rent. We want to complete this work as soon as possible and the job was started the first weekend after Whitsun. Mr. Beecham has given us a new site and promised to lay on transport, we need lots of labour to complete the job, so let the Hon. Sec know if you can come, if not turn up anyway there's plenty for all to do.

Caving at Bude II by T.H.S.

Since my article published recently in Belfry Bulletin Vol.3. No.9. was written, I have been asked to increase the area covered by it. I intend to cover the coast southwards from Wheelbarrow Rock to Millhook Cove. Although the area is singularly barren of caves, there are ample compensations in the form of climbing and the scenery is as fine as any that I know of the same type.

To the BEC the area is of particular interest, as the cliff at Upton is the nearest point to the club camp site at South Lynstone Farm, from which the sea can be seen. The camp site is about ¼ mile from Upton Cliff, and until the cliff is actually reached there is no sign of the sea except its roar and the fact that the trees, such as they are, all lean landwards at an acute angle.

Upon reaching the cliff a really wonderful view can be seen of the southern end of Bude Bay; Millhook, with its Trials Hills and water splash, already tasted by certain club members; Crackington Haven; Boscastle and Trevena, (known generally as Tintagel, although Tintagel is the headland, and not the village), with their sea caves and seals; with Trevose in the far distance with its lighthouse showing a red flash at night. To the north the view of the bay is curtailed by Efford Beacon, but Lundy Island can be seen lying low on the horizon.

The Coast Road as its name implies, runs parallel to the cliff as far as the south of Widemouth Bay, and then becomes a 'Mountain Track' along the edge of the cliff to Millhook Cove. Cliff falls on the higher land has caused the road to be moved inland some time ago, and on the low lying land at Widemouth Bay the sand has completely covered the old road, the new one making a considerable detour.

The beaches are readily accessible from this road, along which runs the bus from Bude to Widemouth. Numerous paths run down over the cliffs, which hereabouts are usually steep grassy slopes for the greater part of their height. At low water there are sandy tongues running in towards the cliff, but when the tide is in the seas beat against the bases of the cliffs.

Following our previous plan, we will follow the cliff base to the southward.

From Wheelbarrow Rock to Upton there is good climbing and just before Upton is reached, a hole through the rock gives access to Upton Beach itself. Upton Cliffs are sloping and grassy and we pass on to one or two tiny depressions in the cliff face that one can hardly dignify by the name of Cave.

Beyond this the cliffs heighten and run out to a small headland, the outstanding characteristic of which is the contortion of the strata (Fig.1).Image

Past this headland the shattered cliffs are clothed in turf almost to the sea, and shale beds form the major part of the next headland, the point of which is so broken and contorted as to make it almost impossible to describe or draw. Fig. 2 shows only a few of the contortions).Image

Below this point the character of the cliff changes and vertical cliffs rise from the beach. Here are isolated fingers of vertical rock 60-80 feet high that will defy the best of climbers to scale them. In contrast to the previous cliff, this rock is both hard and strong and can be trusted- not to break when weight is placed upon it.

The next headland is broken up, but passing it and also the little cove adjacent to it, we see that the next one stands out in a totally different manner to its predecessors. This headland, too, has been broken up, but instead of becoming a mass of tiny fragments, has become a colossal mass of huge boulders, some as large as a house. Excellent sport can be had here climbing over and through them. The writer visited these boulders the day before writing this article. The passages are of a satisfactory tightness, but the boulders themselves are so much larger than anything seen by him underground that the familiar "Ant in the stone-pile" feeling of the boulder ruckle of Eastwater is considerably magnified.

As we pass along the various benches, the remains of sea mines washed ashore during two wars are often to be seen, reminding the explorer of the risks taken in, travelling these same beaches not so very long ago.

A long point of rock, undercut and polished by the sea next stands as a barrier against further progress. This can only be circumnavigated at low water during spring tides, and at other times a really sticky time can be had here unless the key to the ridge is known. The overhang averages 2 feet and is from 8 to 10 feet above the beach, the rocks being in places slippery with slime as well as polished by the sea. The writer is keeping the secret of this climb as he feels that a lot more sport is had in hunting out ones own routes than by following in someone else's footsteps. The climb is easy when the secret is known.

More boulders pave the way to another shingle beach where once again the rocks are shattered and the green of the cliffs dip to the sea. The next small headland shows more of the strangeness of the strata usual in the area. (Fig. 3.)Image

The next beach shows a cliff with horizontal strata at the top, contorted in the centre, and horizontal again at the bottom.

A long lowish headland is next reached and another climb over boulders gives access to Widemouth Bay with its mile of sands and popular camping sites. Here the cliffs sink to sea level and a broad, clay bedded valley extends as far as the Tea Rooms. Salt House, at the northern end of the bay is the eldest house in the vicinity, and from it generations in the past have purchased their salt, obtained by the evaporation of salt water in shallow pans.

In Widemouth Bay, generally flat, Black Rock stands out and catches the eye. Legend surrounds it, a man, whom I have no idea, has been imprisoned under it for many centuries, and he will stay there until he can make a rope of sand. A similar story exists about the legendary Cornishman Tregeagle, but whether they are connected I cannot say.

Beyond the Tea Rooms, the cliffs again rise from the sand, this time of soft clay and stones. This cliff is being eroded tremendously every year, the 'old road' in places being completely eaten away.

Penhalt stream enters the sea from its little valley just beyond this, and then the cliffs shoot up again to tremendous heights, albeit sloping ones, and rounding the headland, the high vertical cliffs descend abruptly to the Millhook stream. There is here I am told a cave of some size, although I have never been able to find it.

The shattering and weathering of the cliffs is due to the fact that the area is situated in the Culm, with beds of Shale becoming increasingly predominant to the southwards. Because of this the cliffs would show signs of shrinkage absent from the secondary beds, with the erosion of the softer shale causing the undermining and collapse of the surrounding strata. The area around Bude abounds in excellent examples of the of the tremendous pressure and shrinkage that the original surface of the earth was subject to before the sedimentary rocks were laid down.

Chalk Mine, Near Springwell, Mill End, Herts


Ode to a “Beeza”

By “Ariels".

Don Stripped Rasputin's engine to see what he could do
To increase his brake horse power from 1.5 to 2.
With a clanking from the con-rod and a rattling from the chains,
And 80 thou of clearance in the big end and the mains.

He put rubber on the piston and polished up the bore
But 1.5 brake horse power was all he got, no more.

So he opened out his crankcase and filled it with oildag
Then he tried the timing and tuning up his mag..

Then he polished his exhaust port and fixed the carburettor
But 1.5 brake horse power was all he got, no better.

So he reset his tappets and ground his valves in well
But did it make a difference, did it ---- hell.

Then he filled his gearbox and relined his clutch
This made a slight improvement although it wasn’t much.

His valve guides were non-existent, his main jet was too small
and as for his main bearings they only had one ball.

He straightened out his con-rod, he put his big-end back
And then he bent his piston to take up any slack.

His engine once stopped firing and set his cart on fire,
And this burnt all the string off, so he tied it up with wire.

That engine failed one weekend, far out among the hills,
Out came a rescue party, equipped with headache pills.

The moral of this story, is if you buy a bike,
Make sure its not Rasputin, Dan goes faster on his trike.

List of Members. No. 3

44 K.S. Hawkins, 6.Melbourne Terrace, Little Horton Lane, Bradford. Yorks.
48 C.H. Kenney, 5.Vicars Close, Wells, Somerset
51 A. Johnson, 46.The Crescent, Henleaze, Bristol
53 J.D, Pain, Bibury, Old West Town Lane, Brsiliongton, Bristol 4
54 D.A. Coase, 18 Headington Road, Wandsworth London SWl8.
56 G. Platten, Rotherfield, Fernhill Lane, New Milton, Hants
57 E.J. Steer, c/o 23 Andover Road. Knowle Park,Bristol.4
58 G.T. Lucy, 28 Bibury Creasent, Henleeaze, Bristol 7
60 P.A.E. Stewart, 11 Fairhaven Road, Redland, Bristol 6
61 T. White, 107 Creswicke Road, Filwood Park, Bristol 4.

Programme for June, July and August 1948

JUNE. All this month will be devoted to Belfry moving; All hands on deck theres plenty for all to do!!

JULY. Sat. 3rd Burrington.
Sun.18th Eastwater.
24th - 2nd August. Club Camp at Bude, Cornwall. Subject to confirmation. Will all members who intend to go to Bude please inform Hon. Sec, as .soon as possible.

AUGUST. Sat.17th Longwood *and August Hole.
Sun.25th Stoke Lane.

Anyone with any spare time is asked to contact Jiim Weekes or Woodbridge who have plenty of digging on hand.