7th July 2018

I was away on Gower this weekend but Tav
penned an account of Saturday’s activity in Hallowe’en (it has been slightly edited).

“Tav, Nick, Jonathan, Jake, Duncan, Brockers
& Alex.

A strong team assembled for what promised to
be a particularly busy session. Three main tasks were planned. First was to
clear the bang debris created the previous Tuesday. Second was to complete
excavation of the crawl to the new chamber discovered last week and install a
new return skip, and third was to begin work on opened the continuation of the
bedding beyond the new rift chamber. This had provisionally been named Up the
Garden Path but as there already is one in Withybrook Slocker it will have to
be renamed.

While Tav set about installing the new skip
and examining the bedding-plane, the rest of the team began removing the bang
debris. Nick was behind Tav, with Jonathan and Jake between him and Duncan, who
was situated at the top of the slippery slope. Brockers drew the short straw
and spent a non-stop session on the haul and shuttle, passing them on to Alex
to haul them out to the surface. Nick then moved up to enlarge the entrance end
of the new skip run, while Tav enlarged the other. This was quickly sorted, and
attention shifted to pushing the pointy end. Using an obvious access point
located to one side of a fake ‘T’old Man’s Wall’, situated immediately above
the pot in the floor, Tav quickly gained 3m of wide and continuing bedding
plane. The possible black space to the north proved to be a mirage – the only
way on being the main route to the east which continued in fine style. Numerous
slabs were quickly removed and sent out of the cave before proceedings were
slowed slightly by a very large flowstone boss, which obstructed access to what
appeared to be more open passage beyond. A combination of Tav, Nick and
especially Jake, eventually persuaded the very large slab to exit the bedding
plane, where it was deposited on the floor above the pot. This allowed Jake to
quickly push forward for a further 2m until the lateness of the hour, coupled
with a call for help to remove a backlog of rocks accumulating further back in
the cave, brought the days digging proceedings to a close. It is estimated that
only a further 15-20 minutes work will be required to enter an open section of
bedding a couple of metres ahead. This looks to be about 3m long with a
possible extension down to the right and the bedding-plane can be seen to
continue beyond – albeit partially choked. A strong draught continues to blow
out, and immediate prospects look very encouraging.

Due to several team members being unavailable
for next weekend it has been suggested that we return on Tuesday night to try
and gain access to the visible space. Alex lost count but estimated that 100
skip loads were removed, two-thirds of which was rock. A solid and positive
session, fully deserving of the usual, if slightly later than normal

Author: mendipgeoarch

Archaeologist, Geologist, Speleologist