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, Roz Simmonds, Duncan Price and Mike Moxon. There has been occasional help from others including Mike Willett, John 'Tangent' Williams, Pete Bolt, Bob Smith, Callum and Hazel Simmonds, with regular guest appearances by that well-known antipodean, Ray Deasy.

21st July 2018

digging 2018Posted by Vince Simmonds Mon, July 23, 2018 15:41:19

I had spent the early part of the week (16th-19th) at the University of Sheffield Zooarchaeology Labs attending an intensive but informative course “The History of the British Fauna: wild and domesticate vertebrates”. The course was delivered through lectures and practical sessions.

Following the three-day course, a visit to Creswell Crags, including a tour of the museum and caves to see the faunal remains and some of Britain’s oldest ‘cave-art’

Unfortunately, the latter part of the week was marred by some negative correspondences, which meant I wasn’t really in the mood to go digging in Hallowe’en Rift. Others did, and their report follows:

“John, Jake, Paul, Alex

Paul and Jake went to the new chamber, where Paul started digging in the floor’

Whilst Jake loaded the spoil in to skips that passed to Alex at the stal boss and thence to John who stacked them on the slope. After 26 bags and 13 skip-loads of rock had been removed, the whole team then moved back and cleared the days efforts out of the entrance. It was noticed that whilst Paul was removing spoil from the pot, the draught increased considerably, making things very chilly indeed; Moving Jake to complain of having white finger.

The prospects ahead look very good, with 3-4 metres of passage being visible, with airspace of 5-6 inches over a bed of rock slabs and stal, overlying gravel.”

Tav, obviously with too much time on his hands, came up with the following statistics:

“Based on your blog here's a list of the number of trips (i.e. time and effort) expended by the current team since 1991.

Vince - 478 trips; Tav – 217; Jake – 214; Alex – 173; Nick – 166; Jon – 86; Brockers – 64; Matt – 39; Roz – 26; Dunc – 17; Mike M – 10.


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