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.

6th October 2018

digging 2018Posted by Vince Simmonds Sun, October 07, 2018 07:28:29

With Jonathon

A much-depleted team due to work commitments, injuries and malaise. To cap it all, it was raining and rather chilly.

We discussed our options while getting changed in the shed and, as Jon hadn’t really had the opportunity to look at the passages west (downstream) of the entrance we decided to continue the enlargement in that direction. The ladders were left in the shed, although I filled the water container and carried that up to the cave. I have a day off on Monday and plan to continue the ‘stal’ cleaning later that day.

At the downstream dig, Jon was upfront doing the brunt of the work, I was hauling the skip and stacking the spoil in the entrance. Some large boulder-size slabs were dragged back to the entrance where there is more space to swing a hammer and reduce them to skip-size pieces. By the end of the mornings digging, the passage is much roomier. A channel has been dug in the floor to allow water to drain, a length of pipe can be inserted, and a board placed over it will allow the skip to be dragged freely. The last task of the day was to haul-out and empty the bags on the surface – 29 were counted, the rocks were left for another day. A good morning's digging.

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