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.
Cambrian Caving Council