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.

13th October 2018

digging 2018Posted by Vince Simmonds Mon, October 15, 2018 06:23:46

On Saturday I gave a poster presentation at the BCRA Cave Science Symposium, University of Bristol.

Evidence for frost and ice damage of speleothems in Hallowe’en Rift, Mendip, some initial observations.


Recent discoveries in Hallowe’en Rift, Mendip Hills, Somerset, UK during 2018 have revealed some interesting morphological features and an abundance of shattered speleothems. It had been suggested that this damage was caused by earth movements. However, after a close examination of the speleothems, it is apparent that the cause of the fracturing and damage has been through the actions of frost and/or ice during the Pleistocene.

Tav, Nick, Jonathon and a big welcome back to Brockers, went to Hallowe’en Rift and continued the downstream dig (west-side of the entrance). Tav sent the following account of the activities:

Brockers was pushed up front to enlarge the way ahead, Nick was deepening the trench, while Tav hauled and smashed up the odd rock too big to fit in the skip. Jon earned the clear distinction of ‘digger of the day’ for hauling a gargantuan 102 non-stop skips out to the surface (65 rocks, 37 bags). Then off to the Hunters’ for well-earned refreshments where we were joined by Jake and Matt and showed a bit of old bone to a couple of good-looking young women on their way to G.B.

Rock of the day had to be the ‘old bone’, which subject to a clean-up we decided could be rock, bone stal or metal!

Unfortunately, when the ‘bone’ was scrubbed clean of the attached sediment it was found to be a speleothem masquerading as a bone. Fooled me too!

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