Access News

Following damage to the gate, the mine is currently closed pending the necessary remedial works. Please do not visit and try and open the gate as, due to its location, it has been made secure as a safety measure.

Please check the Access Guide for updated information.

Graham Price
Conservation & Access Officer
10 Jan 2021


From January 1st 2021 the combination for the entrance gate to Fairy Cave Quarry will be changed. The new combination will be available from the major Mendip caving clubs and Fairy Cave Quarry Management Committee. A reminder that the combination must not be passed on to non cavers/climbers since the quarry owners do not give permission for general access and doing so may risk future access to the quarry. Please also use clean hands when handling the padlock, we have very occasionally had problems with the padlock due to ingress of grit, but these have been quickly resolved.

Due to the enclosed nature of the caves within the quarry warden led trips are currently suspended. Other caves within the quarry remain open provided cavers abide by the current Government regulations etc. in particular with regard to the travel guidelines and numbers/households. However, as of 26th December the quarry is in Tier 3 and this effectively closes the quarry to all but those that live within the immediate vicinity of the quarry until restrictions are lifted. When restrictions are lifted please also bear in mind that it is not just a question of “are caves indoors or outdoors?” but more a question of “is the particular cave more like an indoor or outdoor environment?” from a Covid19 point of view.

As in the previous statement:

It is advised that any recommendation and advice from the Government, BCRC & BCA are followed along with the following:-

It is recommended that you use a hand sanitiser before and after handling padlocks and gates.

It is important to minimise risks as much as possible, therefore cave within your capability. Although MCR are operational it may take longer for a callout response from MCR and other emergency services.

To reduce the risk of meeting other cavers underground, bearing in mind the restricted nature of the caves in FCQ, it is suggested that a discrete note be put on the dashboard of parked vehicles with just the name of cave (or cave initials) and possibly the intended route (do not put times etc). It is recommended that you have a plan “B” if you are likely to meet other cavers underground.

Ash dieback is affecting trees throughout the Mendip area including in and around the quarry and car park. This can seriously impact on the strength and reliability of even large trees in particular during and after windy conditions. An inspection of the ash trees will be carried out in the near future.

Fairy Cave Quarry Management Committee
Dec 27th 2020


As far as CSCC is aware, all caves closed as a result of the coronavirus lockdown are now open.

Restrictions may apply to some caves whilst the virus is still prevalent in the community and it is important to respect the wishes of landowners in this regard.

Access requirements for specific sites can be found in the Access Guide.

If anyone is aware of any updates, please notify me.

Graham Price
Conservation & Access Officer
25th Oct 2020


Further to the decision by Longleat to close the show caves and suspend their operations in Cheddar, they have notified CSCC that with immediate effect caver access to all caves on Longleat property which includes the whole south side of the Gorge, is no longer available. This includes all caves and digs, and affects sites such as Reservoir Hole, Spider Hole, Goughs Cave, Long Hole, Great Oones etc.

Longleat are not averse to reinstating caver access subject to an access agreement with CSCC. Negotiations to formalise an access procedure were started at the request of Longleat a few years ago but were never concluded.

Discussions have recommenced and both parties are hopeful of a favorable and positive outcome, however, in the meantime all the caves are closed.

Longleat will be keeping a presence in the Gorge for maintenance purposes, but this is all. Approaches should not be made to Longleat or any of their representatives as permission to visit any of the caves will be denied.

Graham Price
Conservation & Access Officer
11 Oct 2020


The software that provides the Access Guide has been completely re-written.

The new user interface is designed to make it easier to search the information. A new and hopefully useful feature is that the most recent updates can be found by sorting the “Last Modified” column by clicking on the heading.

Any feedback is welcome to webmaster@cscc.org.uk

David Cooke
CSCC Webmaster
27 Jun 2020


The property has recently changed hands. Please do not approach the new owners until access has been agreed.

4 Jun 2020


Please follow the advice that has been issued by MCR, BCA and BCRC (see here).

CSCC will update this page and the Access Guide as and when changes are known.

Please email any updates to access.guide@cscc.org.uk or click on the “Report Any Changes” link on the relevant cave's page in the Access Guide.

Caves Known To Be Closed

The following caves are known to be closed due to coronavirus:

  • Tyning's Barrows Swallet

Calling In Person For Permission / Key

For those caves where you would normally call in person on the landowner, please don't without prior arrangement via phone or email.

Warden/Leader Caves

Please contact the relevant warden for the current position.

Keys

Currently most Mendip Huts are closed and are therefore unable to issue keys.

The WCC and the BEC have opened to a limited degree. What facilities are being made available are only to members or guests of members. Do not just turn up without prior arrangement.

Reopened Caves

The following caves are open again:

  • St. Cuthberts from 9th July at wardens' discretion.
  • The Charterhouse Caves from 13th July. See below.
    • GB, Longwood, Rhino, Charterhouse, etc.
  • Fairy Cave Quarry Caves from 13th July. See below.
    • Fairy, Hillier's, Shatter, Withyhill, etc.
  • Reservoir Hole from 15th July at wardens' discretion.
  • Eastwater Cavern, North Hill Swallet from 1 Aug 2020. See new access details.

1 Aug 2020


CHARTERHOUSE CAVING COMPANY LTD

RE-OPENING THE CAVES 13th JULY 2020

Following the updated advice from government, the BCA and the BCRC, the company is able to recommence visits to the caves under its management from Monday 13th July 2020. Visits are, of course, subject to the normal requirements of the access agreements and also to the additional recommendations listed below.

  • Until further notice each club is asked not to issue more than one key for each cave on any one day.
  • Social distancing and hygiene protocols must be followed when issuing and returning both keys and permits. It is recommended that visitors use hand sanitiser before and after unlocking and locking cave gates.
  • No cars are to be parked at Charterhouse Farm by request of the owners and no changing is to take place there. Parking for G.B. and Charterhouse must therefore be in the layby by the field entrance on the road.
  • It is recommended that you have a plan “B” if you are likely to meet other cavers underground.
  • Ash dieback is affecting trees throughout the Mendip area. Take care when using the permissive path through Longwood Valley especially in high winds.

We also recommend that the following additional advice from the Secretary of the BCA is adhered to.

  • Plan for an alternative location if the location is already occupied, so as to minimise the risk of transmission of the coronavirus between groups;
  • Noting that whilst some rural communities are content to see cavers, others may still be reluctant to have visitors, so check local information before visiting and take care when approaching any location;
  • The ‘service’ provided by cave rescue organisations may be reduced and could take longer to arrive at the scene of an incident, so cavers and mine explorers should special care to reduce the risk of a call out;
  • Follow government guidance on contact with shared tackle, hand washing / use of hand sanitizer and maintain an appropriate social distance where reasonably possible both above and underground, so as to minimise the risk of transmission of the coronavirus; and
  • Keep a record for 21 days of whom you have associated with in case they subsequently realise that they are infected, so as to facilitate the government’s test and trace program.

Pete Hann
Chairman, on behalf of the Directors, CCC Ltd, July 11th 2020

In light of the latest easing of lockdown restrictions & announcements Fairy Cave Quarry Management Committee are re-opening access to the caves in the quarry from Monday 13th July 2020.

It is advised that any recommendation and advice from the Government, BCRC & BCA are followed along with the following:-

It is recommended that you use a hand sanitiser before and after handling padlocks and gates.

It is important to minimise risks as much as possible, therefore cave within your capability. Although MCR are operational it may take longer for a callout response from MCR and other emergency services.

To reduce the risk of meeting other cavers underground, bearing in mind the restricted nature of the caves in FCQ, it is suggested that a discrete note be put on the dashboard of parked vehicles with just the name of cave (or cave initials) and possibly the intended route (do not put times etc). It is recommended that you have a plan “B” if you are likely to meet other cavers underground.

Ash dieback is affecting trees throughout the Mendip area including in and around the quarry and car park. This can seriously impact on the strength and reliability of even large trees. An inspection of the ash trees will be carried out in the near future.

Wardens for the guided trips within the quarry may be limited due to wardens self isolating etc. Any requests for trips will be sent to the the wardens list as usual and it is up to the wardens whether or not they feel safe to guide a trip.

Fairy Cave Quarry Management Committee. 13 July 2020.

  • Last modified: 08 Feb 2021 14:34
  • by gdprice