A Beast of Mendip?

Sunday 19th August 2012, Mendip Hills.

One of my, and of course my running partner, Buster’s favourite off-road runs is from Charterhouse down through Velvet Bottom to the Blackrock – Longwood path and back, about 3 miles in total.

On this particular Sunday morning at 08:00 there was a pretty thick fog and as we passed through the kissing gate down to Velvet Bottom and along the track I remember thinking to myself that the sheep were rather vocal, calling to each other. We continued on our way down to the Blackrock – Longwood path passing a solitary dog walker on the way. On reaching the path we turned and headed back towards Charterhouse, the pace was just slightly slower than normal – it’s been a hard couple of weeks after deciding to make a career change into commercial archaeology. Anyway, on the return I was rather surprised to see that the solitary dog walker was not much further ahead of where we had met on the way down and, as we passed by, he remarked “I’ve just seen a big black cat go into there” pointing into the thick undergrowth on the hillside, “There are a number of farms close by” I replied, “No” the dogwalker retorted, gesticulating with his hands wide apart in a classic angler pose, “A BIG, BIG BLACK CAT!” The dogwalker appeared to be genuinely shocked.

Was this the reason the sheep were being so vocal? Is there a Beast of Mendip?

What did I think? I kept on running, with an occasional backward glance at the hillside still shrouded in thick fog…

23rd July 2012

Summer holidays for the kids so taking a couple of weeks off to spend time with them. Another super day so decided to go for a walk up to Crook Peak and along Wavering Down. This is the same general location as Saturday’s excursion and the kid’s could not resist looking into Denny’s Hole.

One of our objectives was to locate Scragg’s Hole which is close to Denny’s Hole and we found some interesting spots on the way. The location pictured below was interesting as it had evidence of relatively recent block breakdown.

Very soon we had located Scragg’s Hole NGR ST 3964 5496 – a short but roomy cave containing a floor deposit of sandy thermoclastic scree. There has been archaeological excavation at the site, sporadically, between 1943 and 1953 revealing some Romano-British occupation.

Then it was out of the shade into the sunshine up to Crook Peak and over Wavering Down. Almost too hot for dogs.

Very satisfying to look back to where you have been. From Wavering Down looking west to Crook Peak.

At the top of the walk, now a drop down off the hill and stroll back across fields to Compton Bishop and the van. A very warm day.

Noted a couple of [possible] boundary stones along the way to Compton Bishop, they are not marked on the OS 1:25 000 Explorer Map 153 – Weston super Mare & Bleadon Hill.

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4th July 2012

Left for someone else to clear up. What goes on in the heads of people who think that it is acceptable to drive into the countryside just to dump their rubbish?

This pile was spotted in a gateway on Dundry Hill. This sort of behaviour costs everyone who pays taxes even more money. It probably takes more effort to dump than it would to take it to a local authority tip and costs more in fuel!


Many of the references used regarding cave sites given in these posts are sourced from two worthy tomes, in particular NGRs and descriptions, these references are mostly taken from;

Barrington, N. and Stanton, W. 1977 (3rd revised edition) Mendip: The Complete Caves and a view of the hills. Cheddar Valley Press.

Irwin, D.J. and Jarratt, A.R. 1999 Mendip Underground: A Cavers Guide. Bat Products. I have many different issues of this volume but only one signed ‘Cheers Vince’ by J’Rat and given to me after digging him out of a boulder collapse in Stock’s House Mine Shaft – a very fine man indeed and sorely missed!