5th May 2012

Alex didn’t feel like a Hallowe’en Rift digging trip and suggested going for a mooch over the hills to look at some closed basin developments, none better than Cross Swallet (NGR ST 5157/5000) I suggested.

Described in ‘Complete Caves’ (for full reference see entry 4th May 2012) as a cruciform depression about 8 metres deep, taking a small stream, in centre of a deep closed basin a mile in circumference. Dug by the BEC and WCC at various times from late 1930’s to the late 1950’s. Dig was filled by dumping of tyres in the 1970’s and they are still there 40 years later.

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Walked on to take a look at Locke’s Hole (NGR ST 5088/5072) and Brimble Pit (NGR ST 5081/5075) where we ventured below the surface, good job I took a torch and a camera this time although the underground shots were not very successful. As usual a lengthy discussion ensued regarding a variety of points including the potential instability of Locke’s Hole and the interesting rock type/formation in Brimble Pit. Returned to Deer Leap car park via Cox’s Fields and the medieval field systems at Ramspits.

Headed over towards Dursdon Drove, Pen Hill end, where we stopped to look at some rock exposures in a shallow quarry by the side of the road. Rather interesting point here is that the bedding dips to the north east rather than to the south west as at Hallowe’en Rift area.

The image below shows the strata dipping to the southwest in the rock exposures lower down the hillside near to Hallowe’en Rift.

While we were in the area strolled over to the large circular, 100 metre circumference and 10 metre deep depression that is Bishop’s Lot (NGR ST 5496/4947), H. E. Balch dug at the site in the 1900’s and found there was a deep clay deposit (Barrington and Stanton, 1977).

4th May 2012

Walked from the Bristol Exploration Club’s (BEC) the ‘Belfry’ across to the Mineries, the former site of the St. Cuthberts lead works on the Mendip Hills. On the way stopped to look various sinks such as Waldegrave Swallet (NGR ST 5473/5155), Five Buddles, etc which are taking water after the recent heavy rain. Carried on through Stockhill Woods and across fields to Fairman’s Folly (NGR ST 5509/5273) the site of an old BEC dig in the 1950’s, later the Wessex (WCC) in the 1960’s to no avail, and Pounding Pot (NGR ST 55025262) dug by WCC in the 1970’s; both of these large depressions are in Harptree Beds, not good for digging. The significance of the depressions in this area is that they indicate there must be a cave drainage network beyond the passages already discovered in Wigmore Swallet and, perhaps some thought should be given to investigating this prospect further. Continued walk through ‘The Belt’ around Wigmore Farm to All Eights mineshaft and passing Home’s Close (BEC dig) and on towards Red Quar (NGR ST 5610/5181), noted on the way that Eric’s (another BEC dig) is already showing signs of collapsing, the shoring here apppears rather inadequate and I cannot see any logic in dumping spoil within the cone of depression and loading the slope. Back into Stockhill Woods to look at the fenced depression there, again taking a good flow of water before returning to Belfry. Unfortunately I didn’t take a camera or field bag which is rather bad practice for a geologist/archaeologist!

Reference: Barrington, N. and Stanton, W. 1977. Mendip: The Complete Caves and a view of the hills. Barton Productions in conjunction with the Cheddar Valley Press.