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.

16th November 2017

digging 2017Posted by Vince Simmonds Fri, November 17, 2017 06:25:59
With Jake, Tav, Nick, Jonathon, Duncan and Mike. Our 'sympathies' are with poor, delicate Brockers who was tucked-up in bed with 'man-flu'.

Me digging, Jon loading the spoil into the skip behind me, Duncan's turn on the slippery slope, hauling the skip, transferring it to Tav, on top of the slope. Nick was doing the haul and shuttle, with Jake on the surface. Mike, who was a little behind time, joined us a bit later and, I assume, helped-out on the surface or on the haul/shuttle.

Digging, usual thing, loosen sediment with a mattock, fill a bag, pass-back to Jon, repeat. Working along a fissure/rift, where c.3m ahead there appears to be a wall and a possible left-turn (north), but can't be certain until we get there. Happily digging away, a hole appeared in the floor, open space, a draught. Jon had a look, Tav came to have a look, interesting. Unfortunately, we had re-connected to a dig at the bottom of the 'lower' series that contains Nick's pit prop, another leg to the 'round trip'. This outcome was not unexpected. That said, the dig was never finished and, the fissure/rift still need to be followed. As ever, there is plenty of stuff to keep us occupied for a long time yet!

On the surface, the team were obviously in a rush to get to the pub and had left, I locked up and followed. I didn't give a it thought until later, how many skip-loads were brought out to the surface?

Jake later confirmed the skip count, 30 bags and 6 loads of rock.

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