SWCC Chas's Dig

Ogof Carig Cadno / Stuart France's Dig / Chas's Dig

Chas Jay writes:

To the best of my knowledge this dig was started by Stuart France quite a number of years ago.
With Stuart's consent I continued digging in a rather desultory fashion - with a number of different helpers - while eulogising on its potential to almost anyone I could get to listen (in the hope that they would take it on, as I did not then have the time). Fortunately, this year Bob Radcliff indicated his interest in the site and with Twigs (my daughter) having finished at College things got moving and there are now a number of enthusiastic diggers.

Chas in mud

The original entrance was via a very narrow slot making access difficult. Past the entrance there was a short crawlable section but the passage soon became half filled with mud and required digging. The digging was confined to the right-hand wall with the spoil being packed against the left-hand wall. Digging continued in this manner until the first bend was reached where the passage dipped down sharply and became completely filled with mud.

At this point is became clear that spoil would have to be removed to the surface which required that the entrance would have to be made much larger. Simon kindly obliged with the necessary bang and later Pat Hall and friend (who were walking by) were press-ganged by Twigs and myself into assisting in clearing the broken rocks.

With easy access, digging continued down and round the bend but with very little progress being made until the work commenced in earnest this year.

The passage turned right and went down about 5 feet before the roof flattened out again. Digging continued for about 5 or 6 yards with the passage turning slightly left and with a very small air space, through which a draft could sometimes be felt, soon appearing. The spoil comprised 3 main layers, a bottom and top layer of smooth mud without stones and a middle layer of calcited mud. There was a very small layer of peat on the very top.

Initially, in digging this part of the passage, there was a problem of flooding which necessitated bailing but Andy Dobson found a small rift on the side which he persuaded to allow the majority of the water to escape, albeit very slowly (now blocked again unfortunately).

At the end of this passage the nature of the spoil changed and boulders now appeared, one of these required banging - which was carried out using both SLB and a Simon Special (the SLB was successful in breaking a very large boulder into about 4 pieces but these were still too large to take out). Having removed the large boulder the roof started to rise and a what appears to be a small chamber, filled with mud and boulder but with a small air space over the top, has been reached.

The chamber has now been dug into a little way, with further chemical persuasion (thanks to Clive), and the source of the blockage has now been reached. This, as expected, is a rift filled, with somewhat unstable boulders and with water trickling down in the middle. The left-hand wall is solid and on the right there seems to be a small rift going off but with an unstable looking roof.

In the spring, we expect to push thought the rift on the left-hand side with a cage being made out of scaffold poles and roofed with timber. Once the initial structure for the cage is in place an early break-through is anticipated as the digging is not difficult. Current major problems are the water and the difficulty of removing the spoil which necessitates an absolute minimum of 5 diggers - with 6 or 7 preferred.

Early diggers include, among others, Stuart France, Bob Hall, Alan Richardson, Twigs, Simon Amatt, Paul Quill, Dai Bancroft. More recently diggers include Gary Evans, Andy & Dave Dobson, Geoff Amabilino, Bob Radcliff, Graham Christian, Chris Grimmett, Andrew Gardener, Kevin Diffey, Jasper (from Holland), etc. (Would those not mentioned please accept my apologies but I am writing this without access to the log).

The cave is now 51.5 metres long and has a depth of 6 metres according to measurements made in Oct 96, by Chris and Jasper.

Last Updated: 09 November 1996