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.

29th September 2018

digging 2018Posted by Vince Simmonds Sun, September 30, 2018 12:17:41

With Jonathon, Alex, Tav and Ray Deasy.

Another antipodean visitor to the cave, Ray, back for an update, his last visit was earlier this year in April.

Jonathon and Alex set-off with the ladders to rig the climb down the rift and continue digging while I took Ray on a tour around the latest extensions. Tav stayed near the entrance to carry on the enlargement of the passage to the west-side of the entrance and access route to the old digs (80s and 90s).

Ray and I eventually, arrived at the bottom of the rift where Ray joined in with the digging effort, it’s currently hard going, very compact gravel and shattered calcite. I climbed back up the rift to put the pressure spray together, it was at this point that I wished that I had remembered to bring my glasses. Still, managed to cobble the spray together and started to wash the muddy footprints off the speleothems. Used all the available clean water and will require more to finish the job, probably bring in a soft brush. I called down to the others that I was going to make my way out taking the empty water container and spare ladders. They were going to dig for a little longer before making their way out and would de-rig the rift. I stopped, briefly to visit Broken Stal Aven to look for cryogenic calcite crystals, there were some possible, then continued out of the cave.

At the entrance, Tav had stacked some bags and rocks there ready to be hauled up to the surface. So up I went and sorted the skip and rope then pulled up the spoil. All clear, the others arrived, all out of the cave, gate secured and a walk down the hill to the farm in the warm sunshine.

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