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.

26th May 2018

digging 2018Posted by Vince Simmonds Sun, May 27, 2018 14:57:51

With Nick, Jonathon, Alex and a late, but welcome, appearance by Tom Chapman.

It was my turn to dig this session, Nick was aiding the clearing of filled bags, assorted rocks and modifying the skip-run. Jonathon was on the slope and loading the skip to Alex doing the haul and shuttle to the entrance. Tom had turned-up, without any kit, hauled-out the spoil and emptied the bags onto the heap.

At the dig-face, things were progressing satisfactorily, when a small hole opened, from which air movement could be felt. After a bit more work the hole was large enough to see space beyond. Nick came through to have a look. Following a more concerted effort, a small rift chamber could be seen, more digging and eventually, I wriggled through into the rift chamber. It was c.2.00m long, c.2.00m high and c.0.40m wide, it is blocked at the eastern extent by a rather fine ‘stal’ boss, more interestingly, to the left-side (north) a low bedding continued with c.0.25m high space over sediment, the full extent of the bedding could not be ascertained at this time, it was from this that the air movement was emanating. It looks a very interesting prospect indeed, obviously there is a lot of spoil to shift to make access easier and the way ahead workable. Nick and Jonathon both came through to take a gander.

As for the skip-run, it is more aesthetically pleasing to look at but it’s functionality is rather less satisfactory, let’s say, it is a work in progress!

About 40 bags and, possibly 10 skip-loads of rocks were hauled out to the surface and added to the spoil-heap. All in all, a productive morning’s work and it was pub-time.

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