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digwookeyhole

The trials and tribulations during the quest to extend the known cave passages of Wookey Hole Cave, Mendip, Somerset.

The main protagonists, in no particular order, have been: Vince Simmonds, Jonathon Riley, Robin 'Tav' Taviner, Nick Hawkes, Graham 'Jake' Johnson, Mike Moxon, Paul 'Brockers' Brock, Duncan Price and Roz Simmonds. Others have lent a hand too, including Tom Chapman, Ray Deasy, Alex Gee, Pete 'Snablet' McNab, Pete Bolt, Claire Cohen, Pete Hall, Mandy Voysey, David Walker, Lee Hawkeswell, James Begley, Naomi Frazier, Estelle Sandford, Max Fisher, Adele Ward, Lee Smith, Chris Dubery, Connor Roe and the Belgians (seven members of the Cascade Caving Club).

19th December

digging 2019 Posted on Thu, December 19, 2019 22:06:17

Report by Vince

Vince and Jon

There’s been some heavy rain for the last couple of day’s and, as expected the cave was wet. There was plenty of water coming from the resurgence and the trip from Chamber 20 was as wet as I’ve seen it. The sand pit was flooded, we poked around for a while before heading back out of the cave.

It was noted that a lot of water was flowing into the sand pit, but the water level is quite static – the water is going somewhere!

Jon after negotiating the flood, climbs the ladder to the dig.


5th December

digging 2019 Posted on Fri, December 06, 2019 06:36:44

Report by Vince

Vince, Nick and Mike

Me and Nick got changed in the car park before walking up to the cave where we met Duncan, Rob Harper and Roo Walters who was scanning the showcave. Mike, who had been helping them, joined us.

Nick, Mike and me set-off to go digging at the top of Chamber 20. Mike went for a solo effort in the sticky sand dig, me and Nick headed down the rift that leads to sump 23 and ‘whatever’. We planned to have a poke about in a possible lead part way down the rift passage. We spent the session moving rocks and gravel and building a wall to retain the shifted spoil. The only conclusion we reached at this stage was – we needed tools! The whole area draughts quite strongly. All too soon it was time to ascend the rift and meet up with Mike. It’s a good sporty climb back up the rift. And, we were almost clean!

Mike reported that the pile of spoil below the dig is getting bigger and the water had drained away, mostly.



3rd December

digging 2019 Posted on Thu, December 05, 2019 06:23:51

Summary by Vince

Mike and 5no. MCG members

Couldn’t make this evening due to work commitments.

Mike reported “no water at the end of Wookey (or drips coming from ahead). Took a few more inches out.”



28th November

digging 2019 Posted on Fri, November 29, 2019 06:28:36

Summary by Vince

Vince was attending to business in Hallowe’en Rift, continuing the quest for the north-west passage.

Jake, Nick and Mike report that they had a rather aqueous digging session in Wookey Hole. Everyone else, it seems, are saving themselves for Saturday’s session at Hallowe’en!



19th November

digging 2019 Posted on Fri, November 22, 2019 09:03:01

While Vince was beavering away in Hallowe’en Rift applying the next phase of IRS, a team attended to the dig in Wookey Hole. The following summary was provided by Jon:

Report by Jon

“Four regulars, Jake, Jon, Mike and Nick, were joined by Estelle for this evening’s session.

Water levels were low.  The lowest point of the dig was liquid mud rather than water.  The raised area was sticky but rather soft underfoot beyond the ladder. 

Following common practice, the visitor was given the opportunity to dig.  On top of the bank, a shallow trench was dug from the edge across to the far wall.  The wall is continuing down; no bottom edge has yet been encountered.  A rock, possibly boulder, has been partly uncovered near the far wall.

The team attempted to haul the spoil up the slope, but sticky mud and staff numbers made this a little slower than usual.  Some spoil was therefore dumped on the raised platform.

In the absence of the Chief Accountant, the bucket count was somewhat unclear.  It was certainly in double figures.”



12th November

digging 2019 Posted on Wed, November 13, 2019 20:44:51

Vince was in Hallowe’en Rift with Alex Gee carrying out the next phase of IRS. However, a team assembled to continue the digging in Wookey Hole. Jon provided the following account:

Report by Jon.

“Four diggers attended this evening’s session (Nick, Tav, Mike and Jon). 

The evening was quite uneventful.  The team proceeded directly to Sand Dig where they found surprisingly little water.  There were no more than a few inches at the lowest point, but more had ponded up on the new platform, beyond the base of the ladder.  It was decided that the best course of action was to drain this into the lower level.  A narrow trench was dug along the wall on the left-hand side, when looking in, and the water quickly drained.

Mike ascended into the current dig and proceeded to send down 8 or 10 buckets of spoil and threw down many handfuls more.  The others levelled off the platform so that it may drain better next time.

The base of the ladder was re-seated on the few rocks that were dug out; smaller rocks were placed along the side of the trench to keep it open.

A random glance of a watch then revealed that the allotted time had been used, so the team departed and retired to a local hostelry for liquid refreshment.”



29th October

digging 2019 Posted on Wed, October 30, 2019 20:42:25

Report by Vince

Vince, Jake, Jon, Tav, Roz, Duncan, Mike, Estelle and Chris Dubery.

Lots of people this evening, the flotsam and jetsam from another flooded dig!

We decided to move from the usual Thursday evening slot because we thought there might be some event in the caves on Hallowe’en night, that said, the car park was very busy tonight.

The focus of the session had been to build a retaining wall and a raised platform at the current end of the dig. This, an effort to contain any future flooding. Due to the number of participants the plans were tweaked a little.

Chris, as tonight’s guest, was dispatched up the ladder with a spade and a supply of empty buckets, the ladder was then removed. It gets in the way. Jake and Vince set about retrieving some of the large boulders we knew were buried in the pile of spoil, somewhere. These would be required to construct the retaining wall.

Tav was clearing away the filled buckets, while nursing a sore shoulder, the buckets were passed across the pit to Estelle, then to Jon who was loading them into skip. The loaded skip was hauled away and the contents of the buckets emptied on to the spoil heap by Mike, Duncan and Roz. It was a productive session, everyone was busy. It’s not certain if anyone was really keeping an accurate tally but 66 was mentioned.

There was a bit more water than expected so the evenings tasks were made a little more arduous due to a liberal coating of slippery mud.

Anyway, the boulders were set free from their temporary grave, some proved a little more difficult than others and required a combined effort to coax them free of the muddy grip. These boulders enabled the retainer wall to be built to the perceived required height. All we need to do now is to backfill the space created and raise the platform. Hopefully, this will be achieved before anymore heavy rain comes along!  



24th October

digging 2019 Posted on Fri, October 25, 2019 06:50:33

Report by Vince.

Vince, Jake and Mike.

After a week off due to adverse conditions, a scratch team assembled, numbers depleted by ongoing maladies and work commitments in foreign places. The main purpose of this evenings foray was to check the water levels in the sand pit.

As we progressed through the cave it was noted that many of the drips, trickles and small streams that were present a couple of weeks ago had reduced, receded or stopped completely.

On arrival at the dig we were pleased to find that the dig was dry, just a shiny layer of slop where the last of the water had drained away. There was some material that had slumped from the wall.

Jake digging

Jake climbed the ladder into the space we had entered 03/10/19 and the small bull-nose spade was passed to him and he began to dig. Some boulders were soon removed, and a spoil heap began to accrue in the chamber below. Mike and Vince made a valiant effort to remove some of the spoil up to the heap, but it wasn’t an easy task. It was very sticky and slippery climbing out of the sand pit with full buckets. But progress was made, our refreshments later had been worked for. A positive evening.



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