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.

18th May 2019

digging 2019Posted by Vince Simmonds Sun, May 19, 2019 06:11:54

I attended a Flint Knapping Workshop at Butser Ancient Farm (Chalton, Hampshire) today. The rest of the team were at Hallowe’en Rift, the following summary of the morning’s activities penned by Tav:

"Tav, Duncan, Brockers, Jon, Jake and Alex

Tav installed the hose extension into the old dig (which in the end wasn’t needed) and then headed up to the Cold Gnarly North armed with the new pump and main hose, which Dunc straightened out to ease the flow of water. While Tav pumped the pool, the rest of the team continued work in the Soft South (Jon’s report to follow). The new pump worked very well and cleared almost all the water until it finally became blocked with slurry when down to the final dregs. Both pump and hose were later removed for cleaning. With the water gone, Tav set about clearing the bang debris, which was strewn quite a long way down the crawl in mostly handy plate-sized lumps. A few larger pieces were levered off the roof and wall, but these were easily broken up with a lump hammer. It proved a long drag back down the crawl and across the bed of the ex-lake, to reach the skip which Dunc hauled up from his familiar position on the corner. However, all proceeded smoothly and by close of play all the bang debris had successfully been removed."

Jon' account of the morning's activities:

"While Tav and Duncan addressed matters in the Cold Gnarly North, the rest of the team (Jon, Paul, Jake and Alex) resumed work in the Soft South.

Jake returned to underground duties, initially working at the junction. Alex, who cycled to the morning’s activities, was lightly dressed and only ventured to the bottom of the entrance shaft. That left Paul and Jon once again working at the dig face…

…until the music stopped. The first time this happened, Alex found himself at the surface, with Duncan at the bottom of the entrance. The second time, Duncan had returned North, Jake was at the bottom of the entrance and Jon was at the junction. At the third time of asking, Alex and Jake shared surface duties Jon loaded at the entrance and Paul manned the junction…

…and so on.

Total tally for the day from both ends was 70 bags and 16 rocks. Another useful session."

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