Author Topic: Ogof Capel Access  (Read 959 times)

Offline Stuart France

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Ogof Capel Access
« on: September 08, 2018, 05:07:32 pm »
A few days ago Costain blocked off access through the subway under the A465 near the former Drum & Monkey pub with a metal fence.  This was the route used by most cavers to reach Ogof Capel, and for walkers to reach Devils Bridge and the Cwm Clydach National Nature Reserve when coming from Blackrock village.

The subway will become a bat roost and it looks like they intend to wall off one end of it because a couple of ton-bags of sand have just been dropped off (see photo). Unfortunately, the informal path used to reach Ogof Capel is marooned in this area, and one imagines those walling up the subway next week won't be keen on visitors.  The public footpaths adjacent to the subway portals have been abolished as part of the A465 dualling scheme.

The path to Ogof Capel that started near the subway (see photo) is on government forestry land, as is the cave entrance, and this is also in the Mynydd Llangattock SSSI.  Although not shown on the OS Map as CROW Access Land, it ought to be since most if not all government forestry has been dedicated as Access Land, although this forestry here is non-commercial.

Simultaneously, Costain have opened the new “rusty finish” footbridge above Blackrock, and this is the new pedestrian route from the village into the gorge.  There is roadside parking at the village end of this footbridge.  You then walk parallel to the A465 downhill for a couple of hundred yards to a temporary scaffold footbridge which lands at the top of the concrete steps leading down to Devils Bridge - but it does not connect with the usual informal path to Ogof Capel.

All is not lost.  As it happens, there is a little-known alternative path to the cave running through the woods adjacent to the new scaffold tower.

Stuart France
Cambrian Caving Council

Offline Stuart France

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Re: Ogof Capel Access
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2018, 05:10:41 pm »
More photos.

Offline Stuart France

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Re: Ogof Capel Access
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2019, 09:53:25 am »
Following up on the access situation described above...

The caves in the middle part of the Clydach Gorge, i.e. Ogof Capel and Ogof Gelynnen, remain closed while the A465 dualling focuses on that area with some seriously complex civil engineering.  An email yesterday from Costain's public relations officer said: "Entrances and access to these caves will be continue to be closed for the foreseeable future. This is to ensure the safety of members of the public as critical work in the immediate vicinity of the caves progresses."

The usual way into Ogof Capel has in any case been filled up with strong round plastic pipe to ensure that any bats in there will not get trapped should the road works bring the rather thin roof down around it.  This pipe isn't big enough for people to get through!  The footbridges in the photos above are still available to get to Devil's Bridge and sites of speleological interest near the river at the bottom.  There is good parking in a new layby at the village end of the "rusty footbridge" for anyone wanting a walk.

More news as it happens, but we should expect the cave access closure to continue for the rest of this year.


Offline Stuart France

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Re: Ogof Capel Access
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2019, 09:48:37 pm »
The footbridges in the photos above are still available to get to Devil's Bridge and sites of speleological interest near the river at the bottom.
Just to clarify, Pwll y Cwm and all caves upstream from there are not closed nor is Shakespeares Cave.  The caves affected by this closure are those very near to the former Drum & Monkey pub because these run close to the surface where the road works are going on.  Costain know that they have to put right any collateral damage to the caves, but in the event that the worst did happen we must be sure that nobody is inside.