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Getting digging permission

Babyhagrid

Well-known member
Just wondering if anybody has any sage advice about getting access to private land to dig a cave on it (There is a stream sink in a doline). The field it's in has some livestock.
Any advice on what to say to landowners when we ask would be appreciated.

In South Wales if that helps
 

Pitlamp

Well-known member
Just be straight with them and tell them what you’d like to do. Have a rough idea of timescale and a decommissioning plan ready to explain. Have BCA cards with you to show you have cover, if that crops up.

To some extent your approach depends on what kind of private land it’s on and the background of who you need to ask (e.g. farmer, national trust administrator, private estate, large house with big land area attached, etc.).

Most land owners or managers just like to know what’s happening on their land. Imagine it was your house and you saw people in the back garden unexpectedly. You’d be concerned!

The other aspect to take into account is if the land is an SSSI (or whatever equivalent they have in Wales). In the Dales cavers have excellent co-operation with the body which administers SSSIs, largely due to a certain caver & forum member who performs that role for Natural England. Maybe the Welsh caving community has a similar contact person?

Hope the above helps.
 

mikem

Well-known member
Worth asking around to see if any other cavers have had dealings with them previously - especially if they have an ongoing arrangement (at same or different sites)

& check whether farmer is the landowner or "just" a tenant - also ask them what they would like you to do to secure it...
 
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Graigwen

Well-known member
With one exception I have found farmers in South Wales very amenable to cave exploration. They are usually genuinely interested in geological aspects of their land. Straight talking is advised, provide as much detail as they want. Obviously show care for the land, shut gates behind you and don't knock coping stones out of walls. A chat about the weather is reliably a good opener.

(The one exception was involved in a violent dispute with Natural Resources Wales over water supply.)
.
 

alastairgott

Well-known member
With one exception I have found farmers in South Wales very amenable to cave exploration. They are usually genuinely interested in geological aspects of their land. Straight talking is advised, provide as much detail as they want. Obviously show care for the land, shut gates behind you and don't knock coping stones out of walls. A chat about the weather is reliably a good opener.

(The one exception was involved in a violent dispute with Natural Resources Wales over water supply.)
.
My opener in Derbyshire was “have you got any caves on your land?” answer was “no I’ve only got potholes on my land”. An easy icebreaker.
 
Just wondering if anybody has any sage advice about getting access to private land to dig a cave on it (There is a stream sink in a doline). The field it's in has some livestock.
Any advice on what to say to landowners when we ask would be appreciated.

In South Wales if that helps
It helps if it is going to 'improve ' the site ie good drainage + safety esp in 20-50 years time !!!!!
Also encourage the fact it may make the site much more interesting--ie as to what could be there .
Sorry but 'digs 'can be a nightmare to man +beast when the shoring has gone use a concrete lid if possible.
Also possibly fence off and plant trees.
 

richardg

Active member
A few useful pointers for when meeting the landowner.
Dress in a way that gives a good first impression. not in scruffy digging clothes.

Do an internet search to find mutual interesting conversation between the landowner and yourself.

Take a map that can illustrate access routes to the dig site.

Also use a map to enthuse the landowner, sharing your "why" the exciting hydrology and geology etc....

Ask around to piece together a history of the site,
have cavers previously been involved? Important because if they have created a negative impression you can have can your appropriate proactive answers ready.

Each of these will ensure a positive response

And remember we are all sharing a space on planet earth at the same time, everyone has good and challenging periods of life.... so out of courtesy be prepared to take an interest in each other as people...
 

Ali M

Active member
Good communication at all stages is vital. We always keep landowners updated on how the dig is progressing and send them a regular photographic record. The latter works really well. However, on one occasion I was trying to keep a breakthrough quiet, while we assessed the situation and wondering why so many people seemed to know about it, we discovered that the landowner was so proud of his little cave that he was showing the photos to all his mates and villagers in the local pub. :)

Some landowners are keen to assist with a dig or might appreciate a trip for them or their mates if you get a breakthrough.

We always give landowners a card and a bottle of something (depending on their preference) as a thank you at Christmas.
 
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