Further discussion on Cave Conservation Rewards

Peter Burgess

New member
This "if in doubt bring it out" phrase we are being spoon-fed. It has admirable aims I am sure. However, I think it runs the risk of giving licence to anyone to do what they think is best, whereas in reality they may be doing irreversible damage to archaeological features, particularly in old mines. One person's pile of rust and rotten wood is someone else's rare surviving remains of a mining tool. And yes I have seen something like this happen, albeit with centuries old inscriptions mistaken for modern graffiti. Be careful what you wish for.


Well-known member
I'd like to second Peter's words of caution in relation to old mines and give an example why people need to be sure what they are proposing to remove is definitely litter. Following a PDMHS trip into Hanging Flat mine earlier this year, comments were made about there being a lot of rubbish in the place and the desirability of removing this. This was the subject of some discussion between John Barnatt and myself as we both recalled that a lot of what was in there had been left behind by the spar miners working it in the 1970s, but a date was arranged for a party to go and inspect what was there with a view to removing any rubbish. I couldn't make this myself but had arranged to call in later that evening and pick up any surplus bags of rubbish for a tip run, but there were none at the entrance. Carrying on up to the Miners to meet with John, I found that very little material had in the end been removed; other than some obvious rubbish near the entrance and fragments of the infamous Peak Practice polystyrene boulders that had been taken out, most of the contents of the place were indeed mining-related and so had been left where they were.

It's easy to imagine what could have happened here if a less knowledgeable group had done a cleanup, namely the archaeological interest of the site would have ended up damaged. My advice is simply to be mindful of what you are doing,  and stop if you're not sure - you can always come back and finish a job off later having sought advice/clarification.



New member
Perhaps it's just me but I would question the safety of a caving partner if they couldn't tell the difference between a mars bar wrapper and a miners trolley.  :coffee:

If you're in an old mine and you come across something old looking I'm sure the majority of sane people would be able to put two and two together. As for dismantling active digs, well I know some people like to keep their digs hush hush as it's their cave and no on else is allowed to look but people tend to know when something is going on.

You're not likely to go into a cave you've never been in before to clean it up so if you go past a dig that hasn't moved for 10 years I think you can says it's abandoned. All you have to do is ask around a little and you generally find out who's it was, who knows, you might guilt them into helping clean up, or even better, restarting the dig  ;)


Peter Burgess

New member
I repeat, I have seen ancient graffiti rubbed off by people who didn't know what they were doing. It's nothing whatever to do with being aware of the bleed'n obvious. By ancient, I mean ritual protection symbols from the 16th or 17th centuries, written in chalk. So the key words are IF IN DOUBT.

Mark R

New member
What a shame we are back here again!

Maybe those concerned should get in touch with their regional body and talk to their conservation officers. They in turn could get together with the BCA if necessary and produce some useful, concise, pragmatic guidance to accompany this scheme.

In the meantime let's give cavers the credit they deserve and encourage the cleaning up of some of our filthy caves.

There are those out there who want to return  some of the shit pits we call classic caves to their former glory. Anyone worried about damage caused by those good intentions should really try to do something positive and constructive rather than whinge about it on the forum- do something useful, stop obsessing on the negative!

I can't wait to give some prizes away in Derbyshire.. Can't wait :)

Peter Burgess

New member
If I say I like the concept of the project then this is not being negative! It's not the project, it's the catchphrase that is not right. If in doubt, leave things as they are. That's as positive as I can make it. Old poly bags, bits of plastic string, drag buckets, sweet wrappers, there is no issue over these whatsoever - no doubt. But someone with an obsession for tidiness can do immense harm. Obsessions with tidiness is fantastic in club cottages, but not always elsewhere. I hope the project reaps rewards. And please don't imply that what you see as criticism means I never do anything. That's simply ridiculous.


New member
Starter for ten ...

Rubbish found? Take it above ground.

Garbage spied, take it outside!

Waste discovered, must be recovered!