Pre WW2 caving in South Wales


Here is an update on the elusive site at Cwmyniscoy. Well, an update from the original 1833 reference to 1897 !

Churchill, J.M. (1897) Fragments of the Geology of Pontypool, Transactions of the Cardiff Naturalists Society, 28 part 2.

These Transactions are available on line at the National Library, but this particular issue is missing. Part of it was quoted, almost in passing, in the introduction to Part 2 of Keith Jones's article "Caves of the Eastern Valley" in issue 9 of ISCA. The material about Cwmyniscoy was newly added to the account that originally apparently appeared in the I.C.C. Journal Vol VII (1986). The quote from Churchill says...

"Some 200 yards nearer the village is a second quarry where the beds have the same characteristics and direction of dip. In one corner, however, the encrinites are better developed, and on the weathered surface their internal structure in section is well marked. The face of the beds is covered with much calcite, which in places forms stalactites and stalagmites. The oolitic structure is to be seen to advantage in the weathered debris, and perpendicular and horizontal jointing is plainly observable. About the centre of the quarry is a large pothole, which from all appearances extended up through the beds which have been removed. A number of cracks and fissures, some of large size, are seen extending inwards, and of very irregular shape."

Given the 19th century date, I think that by "encrinites" the author means detached crinoid ossicles.

"200 yards nearer the village" is not completely clear cut but favours the quarry in the Main Limestone rather than that in the Castell Coch Limestone.

This article could be taken as evidence that the cave had been mainly quarried away in the 64 years since the Monmouthshire Merlin article.