2015 online logbook


New member
Not the first trip of 2015 by ant means, but the first one I've written up.

Redcliffe caves, Bristol

Darren & me plus about 11 other random people

The excellet and knowledgeable Mr Andy from Axbridge caving club showed us around. (I didn't get his surname but he is a smashing chap with the demeanour of a nervous fieldmouse, so if you know him you'll know who I mean!) ;)

Fascinating furtling with crowded cawling took us to the more remote regions of the cave/ mine (was originally dug out for glass- making rock) and gorgeous graffiti from 1700's. Posey photos and stories of sewage jostled our giblets until we had our fill of philandering.
A future photo party was planned for the fine fellows of cheddar club, so watch this space for a pack of perfect pictures soon. 
Alan Gray is a splendid chap who has done much work on western Mendip and is co-author of Mendip Underground. Surprising that you don't know him.

Unless. of course, it was someone else entirely!
Wednesday 18th February​

Buckshaft Iron Ore Mine, Cinderford

Chris Castle, Nicky Dennis with Greg Jones and various RFDCC members.

I'd spent the day cycling in the Forest and Nicky had been on a commercial trip to Ogof Clogwyn so afterwards we met in a nice residential street on the outskirts of Cinderford and got changed discretely. A short walk up the hill behind the houses brought us to the entrance to the mine in a deep scowl (opencast working). The Foresters hadn't been there for about 6 years as they said after the last visit they never wanted to go there again. When we asked why they said we'd find out.

A short way inside was a gate which took considerable swearing to open, then a ladder pitch of about 7 metres. Immediately we found out what the fuss was about - it was a horror of loose rocks, HDs everywhere. Greg said you wouldn't want to be there if there was an earthquake, I said I wouldn't want to be there if someone sneezed. We had a few route finding problems which was a bit tense, but eventually we got into a hading rift which was solid on the left and loose on the right. We eventually came to a sizable chamber with a load of modern rubbish in it so I guess there is a run-in entrance somewhere. We spent some time looking for the supposed way on but couldn't find it so made our way gingerly out.

Thanks to the Foresters for letting us join another trip.

chriscastle46 said:
Alan Gray is a splendid chap who has done much work on western Mendip and is co-author of Mendip Underground. Surprising that you don't know him.

Unless. of course, it was someone else entirely!

No it was me. Thanks for your praise Chris. That was my 576th guided tour of the caves - so I know them quite well - but not probably approaching your Gough's trip count.


New member
Of course, Alan Gray.

apologies for confusing your name, and once again many thanks for the trip.
A fine fellow you are.


New member
8th March

Shipham Furtling

(in no particular order) Ed & Hayley, Emma, Ali M, Burt, Brendan, Pete, Basil the Romanian

This was a foot based trip to find some of the lesser known and visited parts of Shipham, some of which are on the Mendip cave registry and others not.
First off - Village hall shaft. A 7m ish ladder descent to a couple of small chambers with lots of evidence of pick marks and small shot holes. A lamp wick was found. then...

3 closed off mineshafts in the close vicinity of Star shaft. I'd descended these in the past (2008 according to my notebook!) with the late Bru Blagden, and found some avens leading off towards Star shaft, and some strange metal objects that were reputed to be unexploded munitions (NOT confirmed by anything other than rumour).

We then had a look down Star shaft itself and the SRT newbies all went "OOOOHHH". I think I'll be doing a trip there soon.

Then on to the bottom of Daffodil valley where, like a bunch of adolescent moles, we scampered about poking into 3 very promising rifts in the Hazel Mine area, which with a bit of digging could produce something - probably mine workings. certainly if t'owd man was mining for bicycle wheels, he found a rich vein.

Onwards and upwards with time running out to Daffodil mine, which was the highlight of the trip. A a 15m ladder ran out and from there it was a scramble down unstable deads to a mined passage with a promising looking diggable floor. A side aven part way up the main shaft went to another surface shaft (which I excavated the top 1.5 m of) past a rabbit skeleton and on to a rift with deads on the floor. However, the whole place had a sense of doom and foreboding about it which we all felt. There was also loads of loose ammunition coming down the shaft which didn't help.
Almost next door to Daffodil mine is Tin can Alley which is an apt description. Basil shot down there, oblivious of the broken glass and rubbish and returned with an old fashioned flat iron and a teeny miner's shoe - about a 6 yr old size, complete with hobnails. A peculiar feature of this rift is an old piton in the wall at about waist height - evidence perhaps of huge space below since infilled, or as a "just in case" bit of protection for diggers?

Time was marching on and I had another 4 sites to visit but we only went to one, in an obscure field close to my house  ;) which may become a club dig in the near future.

Some photos are here, courtesy of the splendid Ed W.
Sunday October 18th 2015​

Miss Grace's Lane Cave

Chris Castle, Ken Passant, Trish Denning-Kendall

The entrance shaft is 30 metres deep, a most impressive feat of digging (unless you've been to Templetans, that is). It was a bit of a flaff getting down but didn't take too long. One problem is that you are supposed to close the lid after yourselves, trapping the rope. I didn't want to do that so stuck a branch under the lid.
At the bottom is the start of a fine maze of passages and big chambers. The one you land in is called Autumn Frenzy, and the way on is down some scaffolding to a 12 metre pitch with a fixed ladder; a long way un-lifelined. Another 6 metre fixed ladder leads to a complex series called Winter Storm, but we sidestepped off the ladder 2 metres down to enter the main part of the cave called Spring Fever. We spent a long time grovelling and Ken took a lot of photographs so we didn't got too far into the cave. We made a diversion into Dog Tooth Chamber where there are some fine crystals. There are some crawls leading to the Canyon Series which we didn't remember, but we emerged into a more recognisable section, a chamber, which leads to the rifts which go a long way to the end of the cave.

We turned around and got back to the entrance shaft in about 20 minutes. We intend to return and get straight on to the Canyon Series.

This is a fine cave. It's completely dry and warm, you be fine in a cotton overall. It's not far to go, just outside Chepstow and collecting the key is very easy, the key holder, Jan Karvik, is happy to let you have it any time .

If anyone else goes a copy of the survey and the written description is essential and a compass is useful. It would be helpful to enlarge the text as the large number of parentheses make it difficult to read in the cave and confusing.