Author Topic: A simple question - How many Mendip Caves are on Access Land?  (Read 16242 times)

Offline Madness

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Can any one tell me how many Mendip Caves are on Access Land?

Of those that are, how many are gated? How many require perpmits?

I'm trying to get my head around the concerns that certain Mendip Cavers have about the 'CRoW Issue'

Offline Jenny P

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Re: A simple question - How many Mendip Caves are on Access Land?
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2016, 02:20:13 pm »
I have a list compiled when I first began asking for information about this as the then convenor of BCA's Working Group on CRoW in 2013 - the list was sent to me in June 2014.

There are, according to the information I was given:

152 sites on CRoW access Land.

128 of these are SSSIs.

8 of these SSSIs are said to have locked gates.  (This includes 1 show cave, Giant's Cave, and also Aveline's Hole, where only a section is locked to preserve ancient symbols.)

There is no information about access to any of the other sites which are not listed as being protected by locked gates.


Offline Madness

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Re: A simple question - How many Mendip Caves are on Access Land?
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2016, 02:55:28 pm »
Thanks Jenny

Being a midlander, I'm not familiar with that neck of the woods. I am surprised that there are that many caves on Access Land in the Mendips.

So in reality Mendip cavers could benefit a fair bit should DEFRA drop this 'As far as daylight penetrates' absurdity.

Offline PeteHall

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Re: A simple question - How many Mendip Caves are on Access Land?
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2016, 03:03:23 pm »
So in reality Mendip cavers could benefit a fair bit should DEFRA drop this 'As far as daylight penetrates' absurdity.

I'm not sure about that point.

A lot of these "sites" are known cave sites, rather than caves of sufficient length to warrant an individual entry in the guidebook. Many of these may be within daylight to the end anyway!

It would be very intersting to see what those numbers looked like if we only included caves of over say, 25m.  :coffee:
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Offline Madness

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Re: A simple question - How many Mendip Caves are on Access Land?
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2016, 03:15:47 pm »
Okay, so let's talk about 'proper' caves that would require a helmet/lamp/oversuit etc.

Same questions as in my original post apply.


Offline Jenny P

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Re: A simple question - How many Mendip Caves are on Access Land?
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2016, 03:30:01 pm »
Note that the list I was given was ONLY of caves on CRoW land.  I have no idea how many restricted access caves there are which are NOT on CRoW land and these would not be affected at all - they would still remain restricted.

Equally, of the caves listed as being on CRoW land, I have no idea how many may be accessed by simply asking the farmer politely or by paying a small fee (as at Swildons).

Offline AR

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Re: A simple question - How many Mendip Caves are on Access Land?
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2016, 03:46:27 pm »
So in reality Mendip cavers could benefit a fair bit should DEFRA drop this 'As far as daylight penetrates' absurdity.

I'm generally trying to stay out of the CROW "debate", but I keep wondering whether reflecting daylight with mirrors to illuminate the further reaches of a cave is allowed?
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Offline Madness

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Re: A simple question - How many Mendip Caves are on Access Land?
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2016, 03:52:30 pm »

I'm generally trying to stay out of the CROW "debate",

It's hard to stay out of the 'debate' when it's obvious that our rights as cavers are not equal to those of walkers or climbers.

The BCA are trying to address that - as voted for democratically by it's membership.

Offline Bob Mehew

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Re: A simple question - How many Mendip Caves are on Access Land?
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2016, 04:08:00 pm »
whether reflecting daylight with mirrors to illuminate the further reaches of a cave is allowed?
Simple answer is no, as I guess you would have expected.  My take is DEFRA accept that on going from say a 'flat' surface to one which has a massive indentation in it (i.e. a cave) there is at some boundary, a position where open air 'finishes'.  I won't boor people by repeating our argument as to why this is wrong.

Offline bograt

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Re: A simple question - How many Mendip Caves are on Access Land?
« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2016, 04:15:25 pm »
Investigating a couple of the sites named by Jenny earlier, I note that they are on 'Registered Common Land', rather than 'Open Country Access land', although the CRoW rules are similar, I wonder if it makes a difference?, I don't have time to look into it at the moment.
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Offline RobinGriffiths

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Re: A simple question - How many Mendip Caves are on Access Land?
« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2016, 04:29:14 pm »
So in reality Mendip cavers could benefit a fair bit should DEFRA drop this 'As far as daylight penetrates' absurdity.

I'm generally trying to stay out of the CROW "debate", but I keep wondering whether reflecting daylight with mirrors to illuminate the further reaches of a cave is allowed?

You might also have caves which get especially well illuminated during the solstice and like. You could then plot a chart of how far you could enter by date. I guess you would have to ignore cloud cover.




Offline Bob Mehew

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Re: A simple question - How many Mendip Caves are on Access Land?
« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2016, 04:31:22 pm »
Investigating a couple of the sites named by Jenny earlier, I note that they are on 'Registered Common Land', rather than 'Open Country Access land', although the CRoW rules are similar, I wonder if it makes a difference?, I don't have time to look into it at the moment.
You delve into the dark depths of CRoW.  Simplest way is to look for the cave location on DEFRA's Magic web site http://magic.defra.gov.uk/having set up the display to show Open Access Land.  NE's map at http://www.openaccess.naturalengland.org.uk/wps/portal/oasys/maps/MapSearch/!ut/p/c5/04_SB8K8xLLM9MSSzPy8xBz9CP0os3gfdwMzDyNnA0v_kCBXA08DT38XHy9PQ38DE6B8pFm8AQ7gaEBAdzjIPrN4M3cfC0MnfwNLg0A_CwNPC3MTI0cPbwMDY1OIPB7z_Tzyc1P1C3IjDLJMHBUBQs8ezw!!/dl3/d3/L2dBISEvZ0FBIS9nQSEh/ requires you to have a NGR or similar.  There are some get outs for registered common land which can make them not "access land".

Offline adam

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Re: A simple question - How many Mendip Caves are on Access Land?
« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2016, 04:52:28 pm »
A slight deviation from the topic, but prompted by the original question I tried to find out the answer myself.

The MCRA Cave Registry (http://www.mcra.org.uk/registry/registrysearch.php) allows you to download a KML of all the known cave, mine and dig sites, but I can't seem to convert this to anything usable e.g. gpx, csv, shapefile. All the tools I've tried have either said 'invalid kml' or outputted empty files. Has anyone successfully converted this file or have they another source of cave location data for Mendip?

I assume the original analysis was done using cave location data and some kind of GIS, rather than manually looking at each cave on a map?

Offline PeteHall

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Re: A simple question - How many Mendip Caves are on Access Land?
« Reply #13 on: April 06, 2016, 04:55:04 pm »
I believe Cookie was doing, or did do, something like this before the poll?
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Offline 2xw

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Re: A simple question - How many Mendip Caves are on Access Land?
« Reply #14 on: April 06, 2016, 05:45:02 pm »

Being a midlander, I'm not familiar with that neck of the woods. I am surprised that there are that many caves on Access Land in the Mendips.


I am surprised that there are that many caves in the Mendips  ;D

Offline cavermark

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Re: A simple question - How many Mendip Caves are on Access Land?
« Reply #15 on: April 06, 2016, 06:19:12 pm »

A lot of these "sites" are known cave sites, rather than caves of sufficient length to warrant an individual entry in the guidebook. Many of these may be within daylight to the end anyway!

It would be very intersting to see what those numbers looked like if we only included caves of over say, 25m.  :coffee:

Wouldn't many of the smaller sites still be of interest as potential digs though?
(so needing landowner permission to be dug) - is one of the main  concerns of the anti CRoW lobby that IF "landowner relations" are damaged because CRoW is extended to include caves, they may withdraw  permissions for digging (or access permission for sites on non CRoW land)?

Can anyone provide numbers of how many sites this might apply to?  I can understand not wanting to be specific about which sites they are on a public forum - but I'm interested in whether it is just a handful or tens of sites, rather than just a general feeling that it will happen everywhere.

Presumably the pro CRow lobby can alleviate these fears that landowners will be upset by the CRoW extensions for the majority of sites...


Offline Alex

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Re: A simple question - How many Mendip Caves are on Access Land?
« Reply #16 on: April 06, 2016, 06:26:33 pm »
I guess the only way to find out is for someone to trawl through the new and quite excellent Mendip underground book.
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Offline jasonbirder

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Re: A simple question - How many Mendip Caves are on Access Land?
« Reply #17 on: April 06, 2016, 06:31:04 pm »
Just out of interest....what's the direction we're going with this information?
Presumably...it doesn't matter if there's 1 or 1,000 Caves on Access land on Mendip...
BCA are pro-access as per the mandate given in last years referendum...
Regardless of the feelings of the Southern Region reps...its the BCA's duty to represent its members and push for it...

Offline Simon Wilson

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Re: A simple question - How many Mendip Caves are on Access Land?
« Reply #18 on: April 06, 2016, 07:46:45 pm »
Can any one tell me how many Mendip Caves are on Access Land?

Of those that are, how many are gated? How many require perpmits?

I'm trying to get my head around the concerns that certain Mendip Cavers have about the 'CRoW Issue'

This an important question and it has been asked on this forum in the past. I'm fairly sure that it came down to two gated caves which were St. Cuthberts and Upper Flood. Bob Mehew has explained how the gates could be retained if and when CRoW is deemed to apply to caves.

Offline cavermark

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Re: A simple question - How many Mendip Caves are on Access Land?
« Reply #19 on: April 06, 2016, 08:05:22 pm »
Just out of interest....what's the direction we're going with this information?
Presumably...it doesn't matter if there's 1 or 1,000 Caves on Access land on Mendip...
BCA are pro-access as per the mandate given in last years referendum...
Regardless of the feelings of the Southern Region reps...its the BCA's duty to represent its members and push for it...

I still think it's helpful to try to understand the concerns of the "anti" group and the scale of what they see as a problem - hopefully as a means of resolving some of the problems. Even though there is a mandate, this makes people more receptive to the changes being made.

Offline droid

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Re: A simple question - How many Mendip Caves are on Access Land?
« Reply #20 on: April 06, 2016, 08:31:35 pm »
I still think it's helpful to try to understand the concerns of the "anti" group and the scale of what they see as a problem - hopefully as a means of resolving some of the problems. Even though there is a mandate, this makes people more receptive to the changes being made.

Absolutely.
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Offline Simon Wilson

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Re: A simple question - How many Mendip Caves are on Access Land?
« Reply #21 on: April 06, 2016, 09:20:59 pm »
The matter of scale is important on both sides.

On Mendip it boils down to having to do a bit of paperwork to retain two padlocks.

I think that there are people who have no idea of the scale of what it means in the North. People seem to think that in the North the CRoW issue is about permits. The areas where there are permits systems are quite a small proportion of the whole of the karst in the North. If you look at the Eurospeleo website and look at the caves that are being rigged it will show that the modern caver's perception of what is the main Dales caving area has become limited to the western fringe. Cavers seem to have forgotten that there is a vast expanse of karst to the east and north of the Three Peaks area. Part of the reason for that is that cavers can get permission in the West of the Dales. There are vast areas where you can't get permission for all sorts of reasons.

To compare scales; it's two padlocks in the South compared to several hundred square miles of karst in the North.

Offline droid

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Re: A simple question - How many Mendip Caves are on Access Land?
« Reply #22 on: April 06, 2016, 09:25:04 pm »
And is all that karst Access land?
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Offline Simon Wilson

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Re: A simple question - How many Mendip Caves are on Access Land?
« Reply #23 on: April 06, 2016, 10:15:55 pm »
Yes. Obviously we are only talking about Access Land.

Offline Madness

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Re: A simple question - How many Mendip Caves are on Access Land?
« Reply #24 on: April 06, 2016, 10:40:27 pm »
Just out of interest....what's the direction we're going with this information?

By knowing how many caves would be effected by the clarification of CRoW I might better understand the concerns that the anti-CRoW group have. If we all understand their concerns then perhaps we can work towards a solution that satisfies both sides. Why should there be a negative effect at all by the clarification of CRoW?