Hallowe'en Rift, Mendip Hills

Excursions [and other notes] involved in the exploration of Hallowe'en Rift; a cave, so far, formed within Triassic Dolomitic Conglomerate.

The exploration of Hallowe'en Rift was started in 1982 by Trevor Hughes with other members of the Bristol Exploration Club, then during the early 1990's Vince Simmonds and other, mostly, local diggers were active at a number of locations within the cave, including the start of the present dig with Graham Johnson in December 1991. The current phase of exploration was commenced in 2009, with the majority of the early work being carried out by Vince Simmonds and Alex Gee, now the regular team includes Rob 'Tav' Taviner, Graham 'Jake' Johnson, Nick Hawkes, Matt Tuck, Jonathon Riley, Paul 'Brockers' Brock and Roz Simmonds. There has been regular assistance from Duncan Price and Mike Moxon, and occasional help from Mike Willett, John 'Tangent' Williams, Pete Bolt, Bob Smith, Callum and Hazel Simmonds, with a couple of guest appearances by that well-known antipodean, Ray Deasy.

4th February 2017

digging 2017Posted by Vince Simmonds Sun, February 05, 2017 08:17:32

With Nick, Jonathon, Matt and Jake.

While I headed off to the end of Merlin's, the rest of the team set about clearing the 40 bags plus rocks left from Tuesday evening.

At Merlin's, the rock barring progress was reduced to smaller, manageable pieces by capping. Then, I removed a 'nose' of rock that enabled another boulder to be moved to a position, where that could be split. Job done, packed away the capping kit and sent it out to the surface. I was then, able to start filling bags.

There is enough space to stand up and swing the mattock, loosening a matrix of fine sediments with clastic material consisting of cobbles and boulders of conglomerate and degraded calcite flowstone. It is a bit claggy due to a persistent drip of water, it has been quite wet lately.

Progress to the north-north-east follows a narrow partially filled rift, that cut's down from a low bedding; classic T shaped development. It's c.2.5 to 3-metres high and after a pinch point, appears to widen to c.0.75-metres. There is, of course plenty of spoil to shift.

All too soon, it was time to shift back and help clear the last few bags and rocks out to the surface.

At the surface, Jake had found time to add considerably to the retaining wall. We are not short of building stones, and some of the sloppier bags of spoil, are a good substitute for mortar.

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