Armchair cave speculation

Duck ditch

New member
Now that we are back in our armchairs can I speculate the greatest cave yet to be found in Britain.
Yes it?s my favourite the Skirfare Master Cave.  How do we get into it?
I?m suggesting Snurds Hole.  It?s near the main sink in Penyghent Gill, it?s thunderous in wet weather.  Due to the size of this master cave the way in could be in Potts Beck Pot.  The Boulder ruckle under the main chamber could be the key.
Does the master cave actually exist?  Well the intriguing Spittal Croft Cave has had a fleeting glimpse of it.  I remember thinking that I could snorkel mud wibble so dug it out for a look.  The answer is a big fat no.
Maybe Harry Long has already found it  ;)
Well that?s my favourite speculation and I?m sure there?s no better ones
 

ChrisJC

Active member
I will go for a toss-up between the system on Esclusham Mountain:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esclusham_Mountain
for which ODB gives a tantalising glimpse,
or less likely, the system at Ogof Hesp Alyn, of which there should be much more!

Chris.
 

grahams

Active member
Same here Duck Ditch. The easiest way to get in to the Skirfare Master Cave, if access can be arranged, is to open Spittle Croft (5 min) and follow the aqueous crawl downstream to the choke through which blows a howling draught. We were not able to investigate the choke carefully but I suspect it might be a minor obstacle given the strength of the gale.

50 ft downstream of the Littondale/Stainforth bridleway bridge is a choked sink, dug by persons unknown to a depth of a couple of feet. This draughts strongly in dry weather and takes most of the Skirfare flow in wet weather with no problem. Must be wide open below. Access is not currently allowed.

The main dry weather sink of the Skirfare is interesting. At first sight the location appears hopeless as the river sinks into narrow  fissures. Dig a little and they draught.

A lucky dig in Penyghent Gill could be the best way in due to the lack (as far as I know) of access problems. The area downstream of Waterfall Cave seems the best bet given the proximity of the upstream end of Spittle Croft Cave. There are several sinks in this area.
 

Pitlamp

Well-known member
What do you mean (OP) by the "greatest" cave?

Depending on the answer, I'd have thought the vast (still largely un-tapped) potential east of the Wharfe, twixt Grassington and Kettlewell, must surely be a contender?
 

Duck ditch

New member
Interesting area that near the bridge of skirfare sinks.  It seems out in the open given the width of the valley. Then again so is Spittle Croft.  The splittage around waterfall cave is interesting.  Permission of course is the main problem.  I?m sure a decent dig would be very rewarding.

Yes I did think of Black Keld catchment.  Fog and rain pots area.  The massive Benfoot sink also.  But they are probably all going to be stopped by that dodgy band of rock below nemesis.
 

PeteHall

Moderator
A small sinkhole has opened up recently in the 'garden' of the old Burrington Inn. The stream that used to run down the path and across the car park has been diverted into it and it's happily swallowing a decent volume of water. The hole has been nicknamed "The Burrington Master Cave".

I believe it's the lowest 'cave' before the water all emerges at Rickford Rising.

Got to be some serious potential here  ;)
 

ZombieCake

Active member
A small sinkhole has opened up recently in the 'garden' of the old Burrington Inn

That's not too far from the mysterious and now plugged Plumley's Hole. 

http://www.mcra.org.uk/registry/sitedetails.php?id=35 

Maybe there is something there....
 
Inkwell Pot on Poor's Allotment north of Chepstow looks to have good potential. A small stream sink with a nice draught, with the prospect of getting into a hypogenic maze cave system developed beneath the Cromhall sandstone, possibly linking to Miss Grace's Lane.
 

Pitlamp

Well-known member
PeteHall said:
A small sinkhole has opened up recently in the 'garden' of the old Burrington Inn. The stream that used to run down the path and across the car park has been diverted into it and it's happily swallowing a decent volume of water. The hole has been nicknamed "The Burrington Master Cave".

I believe it's the lowest 'cave' before the water all emerges at Rickford Rising.

Got to be some serious potential here  ;)

I take my hat off to you Mendip cavers; you're genius for finding caves so closely associated with pubs!    ;)  (y)
 

PeteHall

Moderator
The Burrington Inn, was always more of a cafe than a pub, but it did sell beer. It's now the 'Rock Cafe' and doesn't sell beer, but it is run by cavers (y)
 
Same here Duck Ditch. The easiest way to get in to the Skirfare Master Cave, if access can be arranged, is to open Spittle Croft (5 min) and follow the aqueous crawl downstream to the choke through which blows a howling draught. We were not able to investigate the choke carefully but I suspect it might be a minor obstacle given the strength of the gale.

50 ft downstream of the Littondale/Stainforth bridleway bridge is a choked sink, dug by persons unknown to a depth of a couple of feet. This draughts strongly in dry weather and takes most of the Skirfare flow in wet weather with no problem. Must be wide open below. Access is not currently allowed.

The main dry weather sink of the Skirfare is interesting. At first sight the location appears hopeless as the river sinks into narrow fissures. Dig a little and they draught.

A lucky dig in Penyghent Gill could be the best way in due to the lack (as far as I know) of access problems. The area downstream of Waterfall Cave seems the best bet given the proximity of the upstream end of Spittle Croft Cave. There are several sinks in this area.
Waterfall Cave itself is well worth a look at.....hard work but that is where I am going to look at when next back up in my native land! :)
 
If you're talking of Mendip caves near pubs, the Banwell catchment has huge potential. There used to be a very good pub near Swan Inn Swallet at Rowberrow - hence the name - and a rather eccentric pub in Churchill, close to Rowberrow Swallet. The only glimpse of the cave thus far is at the bottom of Mangle Hole. It's about 4 miles from sinks to rising and the average daily flow at Banwell is as great as St Dunstan's Well.

Similarly, Rodney Stoke Rising is a short stagger from the Rodney Stoke Inn, though the sinks above it are discouragingly remote (at least 10 minutes drive). It may not be the world's biggest rising but quite a lot of the stream has been captured so there may be more cave there than the current stream size would suggest.
 

PeteHall

Moderator
You missed Rickford Rising which is only 100 yards from the Plume of Feathers in Rickford, but I'd recommend the short drive down to the Crown at Churchill.

It's also a cave which has genuinely significant potential, with a catchment that extends as far as Lamb Leer.
I was actually digging their last night for the first time since February and was surprised to find that it's dug itself by a couple of metres since then; in my optimistic view this is a clear sign that we're nearly through the choke.(y)
 
Out of curiosity, is there a continuous strip of limestone between Rowberrow and Reads Cavern? My father used to speculate that at different periods water from Dolebury Warren could have flowed east, towards Langford/Rickford and west, towards Banwell. If so, there could be fossil passages potentially connecting almost the whole of the North Mendip catchment, from Banwell to Lamb Leer.
 

PeteHall

Moderator
Out of curiosity, is there a continuous strip of limestone between Rowberrow and Reads Cavern? My father used to speculate that at different periods water from Dolebury Warren could have flowed east, towards Langford/Rickford and west, towards Banwell. If so, there could be fossil passages potentially connecting almost the whole of the North Mendip catchment, from Banwell to Lamb Leer.
A question for @Andy Farrant I think
 
A small sinkhole has opened up recently in the 'garden' of the old Burrington Inn. The stream that used to run down the path and across the car park has been diverted into it and it's happily swallowing a decent volume of water. The hole has been nicknamed "The Burrington Master Cave".

I believe it's the lowest 'cave' before the water all emerges at Rickford Rising.

Rickford Farm Cave is even lower (67 m OD) as opposed to Café Hole (92 m) - ATLAS did a trip there last August at the owner's invitation - its in their garden and they wanted to know if it goes under their house.
 

Pitlamp

Well-known member
Out of curiosity, is there a continuous strip of limestone between Rowberrow and Reads Cavern? My father used to speculate that at different periods water from Dolebury Warren could have flowed east, towards Langford/Rickford and west, towards Banwell. If so, there could be fossil passages potentially connecting almost the whole of the North Mendip catchment, from Banwell to Lamb Leer.
Is this Mendip's answer to the Three Counties Cave System up north?
 
Yes, there is a continous strip of limestone between Loxton, Banwell, Dolebury, Burrington and Lamb Leer, and indeed onto Frome, albeit locally concealed by Triassic rocks. It is possible that some of the caves in the Read's Cavern-Rods Pot area once flowed west towards Banwell, but which now flow east to the Rickford (& Langford) risings. Banwell Stalactite Cave is a pretty large high level relict phreatic conduit that may have drained a large catchment to the east. We could have had the Two Counties Cave System as the old Avon-Somerset county boundary ran behind the UBSS hut! Steve Hobbs did some work on the Banwell Spring catchment - see http://www.ubss.org.uk/resources/proceedings/vol18/UBSS_Proc_18_3_359-366.pdf
 
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