WHERE THE CAVES ARE - The Caving Regions > Wales

Castlemartin Range West Access

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Stuart France:
Castlemartin Range West contains miles of limestone sea cliffs with the potential for new caves.  But it is in the part of the army firing range that is permanently closed off to the public.  The National Park Authority does run occasional organised walks through this restricted area, but you would have to remain inside their group.

I have now negotiated for authorised cavers to go prospecting on their own for new caves here.  This deal is exactly what it says it is.  It is not to go for ad hoc country walks, take along your dog or your friends, nor for camping or beach barbecues, or wandering off into the unauthorised areas of the firing range.  If new caves are found they should not be entered immediately.  Instead report discoveries to the landowner and Cambrian so that appropriate conservation measures and approvals can be put in place.  The whole place is an SSSI and of archaeological interest too.

To obtain a personal permit you must attend one of the “range briefing sessions” which are on Thursday 21 May at 6pm or on Saturday 23 May at 10am.  The briefing session will explain all the safety rules and the access system in some detail.  Your permit will be valid until May 2016.  If you miss these two sessions there are no others on offer this year.  Simply turn up in good time at the gatehouse on the Merrion Army Camp and ask to join the briefing session.  There is no need to reserve your place in advance.

I believe that around ten cavers have already obtained permits at earlier briefing sessions.  When you use your permit for the first time, i.e. to gain entry on to Range West, you will need to take some ID with you like a passport.  The gatehouse will take your photo to make you a badge valid for one day.  At the end of that day you must sign out and hand back your badge.

This land is a work place for the army and other services organisations and they have first call over its use.  There are some seasonal restrictions to the cliffs due to nesting birds.  Please respect the privilege that we now have, and the rules that pertain, and we should then be able to extend this access system indefinitely.

Stuart France
Cambrian Caving Council
Access/Conservation Officer

Les W:
That looks to have been a difficult nut to crack.
Well done Stuart, many thanks for negotiating this.  :thumbsup:

nice but damp:
This is Fantastic news! well done Stuart for all of your efforts.... :clap2: :thumbsup:

Stuart France:
Just a reminder that any 2015 permits for cave exploration on Range West expire at the end of May 2016.

The remaining dates of the "Range Briefing" meetings at Castlemartin barracks to get a 2016 permit that is valid to end of May 2017 are:  25th March 10am, 21st April 6pm, 30th April 10am, 26th May 6pm, 28th May 10am.  Don't arrive late or they won't let you into the meeting.

There will be no more opportunities after that to get on to the authorised persons list until early 2017.

Access to Ogof Gofan, which is on Range East not Range West, has its own access arrangements which are to contact me via the email on the Cambrian Caving Council website with details of the proposed visit, and I will pass the request to the ranger who will authorise it, assuming it does not conflict with other groups or any military activities.  You do not need to attend a Range Briefing simply to visit Ogof Gofan.

Stuart France
Cambrian Caving Council
Access/Conservation Officer

You're doing a brilliant job on this Stuart  :thumbsup: keep it up.

I do find it difficult to consider the area SSSI, and Archaeological interest etc. and still allow the military to use it as target practice ----, but maybe that's just me over interpreting 'Potentially Damaging Operations?'--- :shrug:


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