Author Topic: Swildons Blockhouse/shed  (Read 1238 times)

Offline Fishes

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Swildons Blockhouse/shed
« on: April 06, 2021, 03:53:21 pm »
I was talking about Swildons the other day and we were all wondering what the story is behind the "blockhouse" structure at the entrance. I haven't been there for about 30 years but it got me thinking.

Who built it, when and why? I don't remember seeing anything like it at other cave entrances.

Offline RobinGriffiths

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Re: Swildons Blockhouse/shed
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2021, 04:20:33 pm »
There's the stone hut above Bagshawe, but I guess that's because Bagshawe was also a mine.

Offline danthecavingman

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Re: Swildons Blockhouse/shed
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2021, 04:36:30 pm »
Wasn't it to control water levels to a fishpond immediately upstream? If my memory serves correctly....🤔
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Offline Fishes

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Re: Swildons Blockhouse/shed
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2021, 05:01:22 pm »
The Bagshawe entrance is through mine workings but it also operated as a show cave for some time. I suspect the current shed dates from its time as a show cave.

Online Ali M

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Re: Swildons Blockhouse/shed
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2021, 05:02:44 pm »
There's the stone hut above Bagshawe, but I guess that's because Bagshawe was also a mine.

The Blockhouse was built in 1967 by Albert Main & Bertie Weeks - See Swildon's Hole 100 Years of Exploration (p79). Thomas Ashman built a trout pond at the entance in c.1904 -  excellent photo (p5).

Offline Fishes

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Re: Swildons Blockhouse/shed
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2021, 07:07:35 pm »
Thanks Ali

Now we know who and when. Do we know why?

Offline Down and beyond

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Re: Swildons Blockhouse/shed
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2021, 08:13:59 pm »
That’s a major coincidence we sat their yesterday after are trip and was thinking this , I  assume the design of the structure is strength against the water in major flood because if it was a flat wall would be a lot weaker ,  also it seems to regulate the flow   To a certain extent instead of it just flowing in at its natural force  .

Offline tony from suffolk

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Re: Swildons Blockhouse/shed
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2021, 08:40:54 pm »
I remember going down Swildon's before the blockhouse was built. IIRC, there was going to be a lockable door at the entrance. I also vaguely remember a hinged metal grille that dropped over the entrance hole.
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Offline JoshW

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Re: Swildons Blockhouse/shed
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2021, 11:08:16 pm »
IIRC, there was going to be a lockable door at the entrance.

Of course there was  :lol:
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Offline Sid

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Re: Swildons Blockhouse/shed
« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2021, 10:11:19 am »

Online Alex

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Re: Swildons Blockhouse/shed
« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2021, 10:21:02 am »
I am amazed it's not locked. Did Yorkshire annex it for a time?
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Online mikem

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Re: Swildons Blockhouse/shed
« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2021, 10:22:33 am »
It has been in the past, to keep out undesirable elements...

Offline tony from suffolk

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Re: Swildons Blockhouse/shed
« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2021, 11:18:42 am »
"Aim low, achieve your goals, avoid disappointment"

Offline darren

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Re: Swildons Blockhouse/shed
« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2021, 11:30:21 am »
It has been in the past, to keep out undesirable elements...

Locked, they must have been mad. Its not like its 300 meters away from a primary school is it.
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Online David Rose

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Re: Swildons Blockhouse/shed
« Reply #14 on: April 07, 2021, 11:31:09 am »
There would be no point in a lockable gate for Swildon's, because the system would still be accessible to all via Priddy Green Sink.

Online PeteHall

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Re: Swildons Blockhouse/shed
« Reply #15 on: April 07, 2021, 11:31:26 am »
I am amazed it's not locked. Did Yorkshire annex it for a time?

Swildon's is a very popular cave with both regular cavers and instructed groups, in no small part because it is not locked (it is also a fantastic and varied cave for all abilities). Even if some don't pay the £1 goodwill fee, I bet it's a pretty good earner. Locking it would be crazy.

Online mikem

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Re: Swildons Blockhouse/shed
« Reply #16 on: April 07, 2021, 11:33:09 am »
There would be no point in a lockable gate for Swildon's, because the system would still be accessible to all via Priddy Green Sink.
Not all would fit!

Offline Down and beyond

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Re: Swildons Blockhouse/shed
« Reply #17 on: April 07, 2021, 11:40:58 am »
There would be no point in a lockable gate for Swildon's, because the system would still be accessible to all via Priddy Green Sink.
Not all would fit!


Was just about to ask about the waist size requirements for priddy green sink ?

Just to add the devils elbow at  gb was a bit snug but managed it ok

Online Ali M

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Re: Swildons Blockhouse/shed
« Reply #18 on: April 07, 2021, 02:24:41 pm »
I am amazed it's not locked. Did Yorkshire annex it for a time?

Swildon's is a very popular cave with both regular cavers and instructed groups, in no small part because it is not locked (it is also a fantastic and varied cave for all abilities). Even if some don't pay the £1 goodwill fee, I bet it's a pretty good earner. Locking it would be crazy.

"After a spate of rescues at the Forty Foot Pot in the late 1960s and the public disapproval generated by the inaccurate and lurid newspaper reportiing, the farmer, Albert Main, decided that enough was enough and the cave entrance should be locked. Following discussions with local cavers and other authorities he commissioned an architect to design a circular blockhoue considered in keeping with local styles. The intention was not to restrict access to the cave but to control entry under adverse conditions. The building was completed in 1967 but the gate itself was rarely used for the 1968 event considerably reduced the risk of flooding in the Water Rift and Forty Foot Pot area." (Swildon's Hole book p78).

Offline Fishes

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Re: Swildons Blockhouse/shed
« Reply #19 on: April 07, 2021, 03:06:09 pm »
Thanks to everyone who has contributed to this thread. 

Online Ali M

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Re: Swildons Blockhouse/shed
« Reply #20 on: April 07, 2021, 04:11:30 pm »
There would be no point in a lockable gate for Swildon's, because the system would still be accessible to all via Priddy Green Sink.
Not all would fit!


Was just about to ask about the waist size requirements for priddy green sink ?

Just to add the devils elbow at  gb was a bit snug but managed it ok


  Priddy Green Sink in places is a lot more awkward than the Devil's Elbow route in G.B. I would suggest that you attempt Clitoris Crawl feet first.

Offline wormster

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Re: Swildons Blockhouse/shed
« Reply #21 on: April 07, 2021, 04:45:36 pm »
Priddy Green Sink in places is a lot more awkward than the Devil's Elbow route in G.B. I would suggest that you attempt Clitoris Crawl feet first.

Now that's an usual take on that bit of passage, as I recall last time I went through (about 10 years ago with a Mad Fi!!) I went almost spiderman stylee: one leg and arm in the trench and my body and other appendages up on the ledge, am I thinking about the right bit of passage? memory defeats me sometimes!
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Offline Down and beyond

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Re: Swildons Blockhouse/shed
« Reply #22 on: April 08, 2021, 06:35:35 am »
Cheers for replies , when I drove down to the green afterwards and saw it just made me curious more than anything so I thought I would ask  :thumbsup:

Offline Graigwen

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Re: Swildons Blockhouse/shed
« Reply #23 on: April 08, 2021, 11:58:47 am »


The Blockhouse was built in 1967 by Albert Main & Bertie Weeks - See Swildon's Hole 100 Years of Exploration (p79). Thomas Ashman built a trout pond at the entance in c.1904 -  excellent photo (p5).

That has shocked me. I first went there in late 1967 and did not realise it was new!

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