Roughly 3 years ago one of the Portland climbers told me of a potential cave entrance hidden from view at Neddyfields. Naturally I took a look one afternoon, but failed to fit. It was possible however to see at least 5m of rift beyond the entrance. With no friends that are both smaller and stupider than me this sat left untouched since.
Back in July I convinced Nick we needed to make this a bit bigger to see whats in the rift beyond.
Job no.1 Gardening around the entrance as most of the loose looking stuff in the photo above was alarmingly loose:
Next, we had to decide, above or below the massive blocks? Seemed like underneath was easier, but the one key rock which would need removing appeared to be holding everything up. Not wanting to be crushed whilst gripping a crowbar we opted for over. The chosen enlargement was to take the side off the two big boulders bit at a time by drilling and then plug and feathers to provide wriggle access beyond along the left hand side wall. 4 breaks were done which just about made it possible for Nick to get through. He reported it was tight, awkward and you end up suspended in a rift 5m up. There were formations however. Nick then enjoyed getting back out and we went home.
Nick working on our 'left hand side enlargement (don't ask what's holding up the ceiling boulder - some sort of air glue as far as we can tell):
Nick about to return:
Back to the present. Yesterday after a few hours in Hopeless we decided to go and take another lump off the boulder in Neddyfields Rift. I can fit (just) as well now. Having negotiated the awkwardness like Nick I ended up suspended in a 5m deep rift just below the ceiling. It would be more or less impossible to free ascend and there is nothing to tie rope too. Approx. 5m beyond the rift is part filled with flow stone / boulders with a route over the top. Further exploration will require a high level & energetic traverse to this point. Basically we couldn't be arsed so will head back here fresh sometime to see how far the rift goes beyond. My guess is not far! There are formations however:
My guess is at best this rift is just about big enough to fit through for 20m. It'll need traversing at more or less ceiling height and will be extremely energetic. Any drop in height whilst traversing could turn serious quickly. I'd not recommend it! The squeeze into the rift will deter most.
As for the name - the cave is located behind the bouldering wall the climbers refer to as Neddyfields, which I believe is also the name previously given to this area when quarried. We're therefore referring to this as Neddyfields rift, simply after its location.
Those on Facebook - I believe Nick has uploaded a 'survey'!