Author Topic: Update on Twll Du  (Read 25326 times)

Offline Martin Laverty

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Re: Update on Twll Du
« Reply #25 on: January 14, 2018, 03:41:08 pm »
As I understand it, this is an unoficial treat based on CADW saying they will consider further access to be an offense as it will damage their monument, which appears to constitute not just the tramroad but an arbitrary area around it. How on earth they could prove any new damage, I don't know. But I also think they have to post a formal notification of this first...

Has anyone else noticed something odd about this statement?:
Quote
At this meeting there were representatives from CADW, National Park, Police, Natural Resources Wales, BCA, CCC (Secretary and Conservation/ Access Officer), and PDCMG (secretary (me) and a trustee) and couple of interested local cavers.
Why wasn't the landowner there - or are PDCMG being treated as a surrogate? The landowner is - like it or not - responsible for monuments on his land.


Offline martinr

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Re: Update on Twll Du
« Reply #26 on: January 14, 2018, 03:50:38 pm »
According to CADW's website, "Stop notices" are an order to stop works for up to 28 days if CADW considers that the works breach the Historic Monuments legislation, as amended. No work is presently being carried out at Twll Du, and I fail to see how entering the cave would constitute "works" as defined by the legislation.  Therefore it does on the face of it appear that the prosecution threat is an empty one, and the statement misleading. It would be nice if someone from PDCMG would comment here to clarify the position.

Quote
Jon Berry (CADW), outlining the legal requirements to request changes to scheduled monuments and the current legislation which protects scheduled monuments. ........If anyone wants further information on scheduled monuments in Wales and the legislation in place to protect them please contact Amelia, her e-mail is Amelia.Pannett@gov.wales

Offline royfellows

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Re: Update on Twll Du
« Reply #27 on: January 14, 2018, 03:53:08 pm »

Has anyone else noticed something odd about this statement?:
Quote
At this meeting there were representatives from CADW, National Park, Police, Natural Resources Wales, BCA, CCC (Secretary and Conservation/ Access Officer), and PDCMG (secretary (me) and a trustee) and couple of interested local cavers.
Why wasn't the landowner there - or are PDCMG being treated as a surrogate? The landowner is - like it or not - responsible for monuments on his land.

Very well spotted Martin, and good points. It most certainly is very odd.
Glad NAMHO 2019 over.

Offline Scrappycaver

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Re: Update on Twll Du
« Reply #28 on: January 14, 2018, 05:25:14 pm »

Has anyone else noticed something odd about this statement?:
Quote
At this meeting there were representatives from CADW, National Park, Police, Natural Resources Wales, BCA, CCC (Secretary and Conservation/ Access Officer), and PDCMG (secretary (me) and a trustee) and couple of interested local cavers.
Why wasn't the landowner there - or are PDCMG being treated as a surrogate? The landowner is - like it or not - responsible for monuments on his land.

Very well spotted Martin, and good points. It most certainly is very odd.
In the unfortunate situation of an accident in draenen with three out of four entrances sealed will this not pose a threat for rescue with time being an important factor ?


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Offline andrewmc

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Re: Update on Twll Du
« Reply #29 on: January 14, 2018, 07:40:05 pm »
According to CADW's website, "Stop notices" are an order to stop works for up to 28 days if CADW considers that the works breach the Historic Monuments legislation, as amended. No work is presently being carried out at Twll Du, and I fail to see how entering the cave would constitute "works" as defined by the legislation.  Therefore it does on the face of it appear that the prosecution threat is an empty one, and the statement misleading. It would be nice if someone from PDCMG would comment here to clarify the position.

Much as I'd love there to be an uncontroversial entrance to Draenen, if a caver did get caught by the police going to this entrance past a posted 'stop' notice, then I can imagine words like 'reckless' and 'wilful' being thrown around the court. They might not be able to prove any exact damage but I imagine the court would take an extremely dim view given the apparent lack of justification for using the entrance (to non-cavers at least). I'm still pretty sure it would be a bad, bad, bad thing for a caver to end up fighting that case - bad for the caver and bad for caving in general, regardless of the outcome.

We are not onto a winner on this one, sadly.

Offline NigR

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Re: Update on Twll Du
« Reply #30 on: January 14, 2018, 07:45:59 pm »
We are not onto a winner on this one, sadly.

We shall see.

Offline manrabbit

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Re: Update on Twll Du
« Reply #31 on: January 14, 2018, 08:37:12 pm »
You don't stop caving because you get old, you get old because you stop caving.

Offline rhychydwr1

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Re: Update on Twll Du
« Reply #32 on: January 15, 2018, 01:13:58 am »
I would respectfully suggest that as trespassing is a civil offence, so long as you do not do any damage the Mochen cannot prosecute.


Offline Rhys

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Re: Update on Twll Du
« Reply #33 on: January 15, 2018, 08:20:22 am »
The issue is damaging a protected monunent, not trespass.

Offline Rhys

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Re: Update on Twll Du
« Reply #34 on: January 15, 2018, 08:23:38 am »
In the unfortunate situation of an accident in draenen with three out of four entrances sealed will this not pose a threat for rescue with time being an important factor ?

No.

Offline David Rose

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Re: Update on Twll Du
« Reply #35 on: January 15, 2018, 08:29:14 am »
The point is: as I read it, a Stop notice applies to work, and going into a cave does not constitute work. Therefore how could it be a criminal offence to do so? Had a Stop notice been issued while the cave was still being dug, and the diggers then continued, it would have been a different matter. But we are where we are, and I can't quite see how it would be a crime to enter Twll Du is a notice were issued - which, please correct me if I'm wrong, so far has not happened.

I emailed Sue Mabbett of the PDCMG drawing her attention to my question on this thread yesterday. So far she hasn't posted or replied. I hope she will. It does seem to me that whatever stance one takes on Draenen, Twll Du and cave access restrictions, bringing the threat of the criminal law into this is a serious matter, and requires precision.

Offline NigR

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Re: Update on Twll Du
« Reply #36 on: January 15, 2018, 08:04:02 pm »
In the unfortunate situation of an accident in draenen with three out of four entrances sealed will this not pose a threat for rescue with time being an important factor ?

No.

Sorry, Rhys but the extraction of an injured caver from, for example, Big Country is bound to take considerably longer than if Twll Du were to be used and how you can so emphatically say otherwise is completely beyond me. Are you totally unfamiliar with the character and layout of the cave?

Offline Scrappycaver

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Re: Update on Twll Du
« Reply #37 on: January 15, 2018, 08:22:23 pm »
In the unfortunate situation of an accident in draenen with three out of four entrances sealed will this not pose a threat for rescue with time being an important factor ?

No.

Sorry, Rhys but the extraction of an injured caver from, for example, Big Country is bound to take considerably longer than if Twll Du were to be used and how you can so emphatically say otherwise is completely beyond me. Are you totally unfamiliar with the character and layout of the cave?
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Offline Fulk

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Re: Update on Twll Du
« Reply #38 on: January 15, 2018, 08:26:20 pm »
I’m making this post in a genuine spirit of enquiry, and not to stir up yet more trouble.
When I first read about the tramway being damaged, I had visions of people ripping up an old err . . . tramway and, maybe, making off with the tracks for their scrap value. But I’ve just seen a picture of the tramway in the latest Descent, and it appears to be a pleasant green track, at the side of which there is a small pile of stones / gravel that appears to be on top of the new entrance. There are no obvious signs of damage in the picture, other than a bit of gravel spilt onto the tramway. Is the picture misleading in some way, or is the above a reasonable account of the situation? If so, then – leaving aside any legal questions or questions of landowner wishes – what is the problem with regard to ‘damage’ – it looks as though the damage is so trivial that it could very easily be put right?

andrewmc says:
Quote
but I imagine the court would take an extremely dim view given the apparent lack of justification for using the entrance (to non-cavers at least).


That strikes me as odd; on the two occasions that I’ve been to the cave, we used the original entrance, which involved a lot of wriggling and squirming, much of it in pretty wet conditions, so we were wet through within minutes of entering the cave. According to one account of the new entrance – I think it was written by David Rose – the new entrance is easy, safe and dry. I would expect any non-caver to be perfectly capable of grasping that a ‘safe easy dry’ way in might be preferable to a wriggly, squirmy wet way in!

 So am I missing the point(s) here?

Offline Greg Jones

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Re: Update on Twll Du
« Reply #39 on: January 15, 2018, 08:43:25 pm »
Yes Fulk, you are missing the point. The point being that some people think the cave should only have one entrance; that one being the one that they control. You're being naughty.

The original entrance is a great entrance, apart from when that water pours down your neck. :o
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Offline Scrappycaver

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Re: Update on Twll Du
« Reply #40 on: January 15, 2018, 08:58:45 pm »
Yes Fulk, you are missing the point. The point being that some people think the cave should only have one entrance; that one being the one that they control. You're being naughty.

The original entrance is a great entrance, apart from when that water pours down your neck. :o
Is there no way we compromise on which entrance to use based on rescue and practability? Perhaps the civil engineered original route is out of touch and the most natural approach is needed like twll du?

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Offline NewStuff

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Re: Update on Twll Du
« Reply #41 on: January 15, 2018, 09:05:32 pm »
I seem to remember that approach was offered, and nixed by the PDCMG, with other entrances. I reckon  those rebuffs probably led to this being sought out and dug in the first place. The PDCMG are known for a love affair with concrete, and bloody minded intransigence with regard to anything more than a single entrance, not reason and compromise.
Permission? Wassat den?

Offline NigR

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Re: Update on Twll Du
« Reply #42 on: January 15, 2018, 09:40:43 pm »
I’m making this post in a genuine spirit of enquiry, and not to stir up yet more trouble.
When I first read about the tramway being damaged, I had visions of people ripping up an old err . . . tramway and, maybe, making off with the tracks for their scrap value. But I’ve just seen a picture of the tramway in the latest Descent, and it appears to be a pleasant green track, at the side of which there is a small pile of stones / gravel that appears to be on top of the new entrance. There are no obvious signs of damage in the picture, other than a bit of gravel spilt onto the tramway. Is the picture misleading in some way, or is the above a reasonable account of the situation? If so, then – leaving aside any legal questions or questions of landowner wishes – what is the problem with regard to ‘damage’ – it looks as though the damage is so trivial that it could very easily be put right?

andrewmc says:
Quote
but I imagine the court would take an extremely dim view given the apparent lack of justification for using the entrance (to non-cavers at least).


That strikes me as odd; on the two occasions that I’ve been to the cave, we used the original entrance, which involved a lot of wriggling and squirming, much of it in pretty wet conditions, so we were wet through within minutes of entering the cave. According to one account of the new entrance – I think it was written by David Rose – the new entrance is easy, safe and dry. I would expect any non-caver to be perfectly capable of grasping that a ‘safe easy dry’ way in might be preferable to a wriggly, squirmy wet way in!

 So am I missing the point(s) here?

Hi Fulk,

I have not seen the photograph in Descent but, other than the fact that there is of course a very small hole in the ground (currently covered by a metal grille), your description appears accurate. Any damage which might have occurred is indeed unfortunate but it is by no means catastrophic and could, in my opinion, be very easily rectified. Nobody is in any disagreement over the issue that something needs to be done and the entrance certainly needs to be stabilised in some way (just as many other cave entrances have been throughout the UK). It is a wonderful entry point into Ogof Draenen, essentially being a 25m shaft into a huge chamber, by far the best of the four entrances which have been made public to date. As you are from Yorkshire, you would love it!

However, as Ship-badger and Newstuff have pointed out, there are deeper underlying issues here (which have been bubbling ever since the cave was first discovered back in 1994) and these will not easily (if ever!) be resolved. This is a great shame and it is ordinary cavers who are now being forced to suffer, purely by other cavers denying them access to such a superb natural feature. Make no mistake, CADW are allowing themselves to be shamelessly manipulated here and I find this both incredibly surprising and bitterly disappointing.

(Just one last point to note: Twll Du is not as completely dry as you imagine due to a waterfall entering partway down. This not only makes the the final pitch into Draenen pretty damp in high water conditions but also helps add significantly to the character of the place.)

Offline Ian Adams

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Re: Update on Twll Du
« Reply #43 on: January 15, 2018, 10:46:21 pm »
..... due to a waterfall entering partway down.

It's not that bad  ;)

You descend out of the water, you get hit with some "spray" as you land.

Lightweight NigR, you've never seen water have you?   :halo:

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Offline braveduck

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Re: Update on Twll Du
« Reply #44 on: January 15, 2018, 10:49:35 pm »
This is amusing ,you do realise that there is a Welsh PC making a list of all you who have been down. ;D

Offline Greg Jones

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Re: Update on Twll Du
« Reply #45 on: January 15, 2018, 11:04:04 pm »
This is amusing ,you do realise that there is a Welsh PC making a list of all you who have been down. ;D

He may not be. I did email him and suggest that Gwent Police could use it's finite resources much more wisely than being "used" by one group of cavers to prevent another group of cavers doing something that the first group don't want them to do.
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Offline NigR

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Re: Update on Twll Du
« Reply #46 on: January 15, 2018, 11:05:35 pm »
It will be a very long list!!

Offline Simon Wilson

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Re: Update on Twll Du
« Reply #47 on: January 15, 2018, 11:21:14 pm »
Is there any chance of asking for permission bearing in mind that the diggers didn't know where it would come out.

A couple of years ago when Earby Pothole Club got into trouble for digging on a SSSI without permission they applied retrospectively and got it.

Offline andrewmc

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Re: Update on Twll Du
« Reply #48 on: January 16, 2018, 12:14:51 am »
andrewmc says:
Quote
but I imagine the court would take an extremely dim view given the apparent lack of justification for using the entrance (to non-cavers at least).

That strikes me as odd; on the two occasions that I’ve been to the cave, we used the original entrance, which involved a lot of wriggling and squirming, much of it in pretty wet conditions, so we were wet through within minutes of entering the cave. According to one account of the new entrance – I think it was written by David Rose – the new entrance is easy, safe and dry. I would expect any non-caver to be perfectly capable of grasping that a ‘safe easy dry’ way in might be preferable to a wriggly, squirmy wet way in!


I'm suggesting that while it might make sense to you and me that having another advantageous, I can imagine a court case where the following 'facts' are presented:

a) There is a perfectly good entrance with an agreed access policy, managed by a group of volunteer cavers with the agreement of the landlord (a non-caving magistrate will neither know nor likely care about the relative ease of the entrances).
b) A group of cavers have been trespassing without permission in the cave.
c) Those cavers have been digging without permission in the cave (potentially criminal damage, at a stretch).
d) These rebellious law-breakers have recklessly carried out works within a scheduled monument, causing damage and a loss of potential archaeology.
e) Despite clear warnings from the police and CADW, these irresponsible tykes have knowingly continued to trespass.

PS just to be absolutely clear this is NOT how I would view the situation, just suggesting it could very easily be presented that way and a court might decide to side with 'authority' (misbegotten or otherwise).

I still argue this entrance _as it stands_ is a losing battle; the only thing you will get out of fighting this will be to set both the Police and CADW on the side of the PDCMG and make everybody trying to get access look like an irresponsible bunch of law-ignoring rebels.

That's not to say that a managed, negotiated settlement can't be reached that _might_, given *patience* and time (and a lot of bum licking) get CADW etc back on side. But it probably needs to be done softly and through careful channels. This is what the BMC, being a much more top-down organization than the BCA, is good at.

Offline NigR

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Re: Update on Twll Du
« Reply #49 on: January 16, 2018, 12:52:30 am »
A very negative posting, Andrew. Fortunately, I know many cavers in Wales who are made of far sterner stuff. Rest assured, losing battle or not, they will all be fighting this until the bitter end (and beyond, if need be).

Incidentally, nobody has "been trespassing without permission in the cave". Any cavers entering the cave via any of the ungated entrances situated on Open Access Land have merely been asserting their right under the CROW Act to do so. Please bear this in mind if inclined to make such sweeping statements in the future.