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Recommended Novice 'Wow' sites...



Dep said:
Consider this:
A novice weekend, a few people (adults) who have never caved on Mendip (or anywhere else) before and have only the basic kit required for _dry_ caving. They are ok on very short simple ladder pitches but not too experienced at general climbing.

Itinerary: Saturday, practising for "The Big Trip" on Sunday.
Sat AM: Goatchurch
Sat PM: Sidcot Swallet.

Sun: ???

Where would be a good place, ideally NW Mendip to give them a good wow-factor follow-up but without doing anything that is too much, or where their lack of wet-kit and climbing experience would be an issue.

Any sensible suggestions gratefuly received.

A sensible suggestion here and a shock to many other cavers.... Rowberrow Cavern in middle of nowhere and it's easy and explain how stone age people lived there, then walk (which is a nice area) down to Reads Cavern and looki n main chamber for markings on walls and creatures as well.

They will enjoy that more then trying to wow them with biggest chamber in country as they all all are novices !


Actually that sounds like a nice summertime walk - one I might well do on my own.


New member
Shute Shelve cavern, near Axbridge, is dry, is very, very easy.
It has an enormous chamber, only one climb down of about 10 feet.
Suitable for pensioners or children or novices.
Warning, the climb up to the cave is much harder than the caving :cry:


Active member
Except SSC isn't open until 1st May.

It is not a bad suggestion though for a novice trip, though it is not easy to find if you don't know where it is!


OK, thanks people, keep 'em coming.

There are some good suggesrions here which will all be filed away for future reference.
Shute Shelve sounds worth a recce.

Chris J

Active member
Take a leaf out of the uni clubs books - Swildons is a must!!

Normally done with old warm clothes underneath a proper oversuit - not sure what you mean by 'wet' kit.

I'd say furry and oversuit is standard so you can easily replicate a furry with some old warm clothes - maybe tell them to bring thermals?

Then make sure you take a good amount of spare stuff like hats, neck warmers, balaclavas etc..



Active member
Singing River is a nice site too, I've still yet to find the route down to the Lake and over.


to find the lake, and from whay you say you can find the t-junction left to chocolate canal, right a climb over and down pass a passage on left and enter a largish chamber with lots of ways on, keep going straight to whole in front then passage crawl continues in downward direction until levels out and undershould now be able to stand up and find yourself at junction left over plank and follow passage down should bring you to the lake, if you want to get a view across before going down climb up, if you want to cross lake keep right. left nice deep hole. might not be the best description but is how I remember it

cap n chris

Well-known member
badger said:
enter a largish chamber with lots of ways on, keep going straight to whole in front then passage crawl continues in downward direction until levels out and undershould


The stream in Singing River Mine, Shipham

... hmm; at the largish chamber with lots of ways on you head across the chamber, up a slight ledge on the left hand side and then take the right hand tunnel, through to a low crawl which opens at a junction whereby there is a  drop down to a smaller watery chamber (the old displacment pump route to the surface; also with an "underpass" route for the plank) or the plank walk to the left which leads to the main lake chamber.


Very low water levels in the main Lake Chamber, Singing River Mine


Thanks for the notes on SRM guys.

The first time I went in there there were three of us and we spread out from the bottom of the entrance shaft and systematicaly found all the dead-ends - looking for the way on.
After just 5 minutes we had eliminated all possibilities so we had a re-think and a second look.

Eventually I figured it out, a short way in there is a point where you have to climb up about 8 feet or so, I had come into that section with my head down and had seen the passage tail away to a blockage - but without looking up, on my second look I noticed signs of traffic and a polish on some of the rocks so finally looked up and saw it.

I suspect that in the Lake area myself, or one of the other members of our groups did much the same thing and pronounced a passage as a dead-end when it wasn't.

Definitely going back there as it is a nice little site.

cap n chris

Well-known member

You'll know when you've found the plank - it's quite obvious!

Which leads to....

Lake, slightly more full during Winter.


Thanks, the plank is hard to miss - just have to find it first!
Everyone I have meet has told me it is easy to find so someone in our party must have missed it!

Another site that has caught my eye, not necessarily for novices though is Five Buddles Sink?
For anyone interested in mines (me) is it worth seeing?
Are there bolts or suitable belays?



Well-known member
It's got to be Swildons Upper Series down the Pretty Way and back up Dry Way or if they are sufficiently capable back up the wet way. Also how about Holwell Cave on the Quantocks if you can still get permission. That was my second cave.