Late news 2018

Possible movement in Draenen choke

A report of possible movement in Ogof Draenen's second choke was made following an incident on Sat 27th January, when it was reported to the PDCMG that there has been some movement in the area of the squeeze in the second boulder choke in the Main Streamway. It is possible that this squeeze may have become slightly tighter. Please take extra care in the second boulder choke and keep an eye out for loose boulders or signs of movement. Following a visit, any reports on the state of the boulder choke would be greatly appreciated by the wider caving community. If you are undertaking the round-trip, you may wish to do so in an anti-clockwise direction, until the state of the choke and size of the squeeze has been assessed. Larger cavers may wish to pay special attention to this report.

Dan Thorne, PDCMG Permit Secretary

Joint Statement by the Secretaries of Pwll Du Cave Management Group (PDCMG) and Cambrian Caving Council (CCC)

THERE is a new entrance to Ogof Draenen, excavated within a Scheduled Monument. Following recent publicity, it has come to our attention that some cavers are contacting Cadw to question the closure of Twll Du. Cadw’s position in law is very clear in that Twll Du is within the boundary of a Scheduled Monument. Strong support was given at the community resolution meeting on the 10th January 2018 for Cadw's position that continued entry into Twll Du risks further damage to the Scheduled Monument which would be against the law. Going forward we ask that anyone who wishes to have further clarification on any aspects of Twll Du that they contact PDCMG (Sue Mabbett) or CCC (Allan Richardson) in the first instance, if we are unable to answer your query we will contact Cadw on your behalf.

Since the last postings by PDCMG and CCC, Cadw have, in response to queries, provided the following statement as part of their reply which clearly shows their legal position.  

“The aim of scheduling is to ensure the long-term preservation of a site. Any proposal to carry out works at a scheduled monument which would have the effect of demolishing, destroying, damaging, removing, repairing, altering, adding to, flooding, or covering up a monument must be the subject of an application for scheduled monument consent. It is an offence to carry out such works at the site of a scheduled monument without first obtaining scheduled monument consent. Cadw were not consulted about the excavation of the new hole, nor was scheduled monument consent sought or granted, and therefore the excavation constitutes unauthorised work carried out in breach of the 1979 and 2016 legislation. Continued use of the illegally excavated hole and damage caused by that use are also in breach of the legislation and could result in prosecution. There is an on-going Police investigation into the excavation and use of the illegal hole, and increased monitoring by Cadw, BBNPA and Gwent Police is being carried out.”

We ask the caving community to support us by respecting the wishes of Cadw.

Sue Mabbett, Secretary PDCMG: suemabbett@hotmail.com

Allan Richardson, Secretary CCC: secretary@cambriancavingcouncil.org.uk

Earlier news appeared in Descent (259), which presented a statement by the trustees of the Pwll Du CMG. A further update was reported on Darkness Below.


Changes to access at Penyghent and Dale Head

AT the January 2018 committee meeting the CNCC made the decision to opt out of a longstanding access agreement with Langcliffe Estate covering Dale Head Pot, Penyghent Pot, Psilomelane Pot and other small caves in between these around the south side of Penyghent. The decision to do this was based on the obsolete nature of the 1970s access agreement, which could not be renegotiated, and also the identification of the tax-exempt heritage status of the land.

These caves are all located on access land covered by the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, which at the very least enables access to the cave entrances on foot. Furthermore, the land has tax-exempt heritage status which we believe provides public access into the caves. The CNCC has not been made aware of any restrictions that should compromise access to these caves. Permits for these caves will therefore no longer be issued.

Groups are advised to use public footpaths from either Brackenbottom or Dale Head to reach the access land as shown on Ordnance Survey maps, to observe the Countryside Code, be courteous to any farmers or gamekeepers you may meet and to report to the CNCC if you encounter any access or conservation issues during your visit.

Report: Matt Ewles, CNCC