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.

15th June 2019

digging 2019Posted by Vince Simmonds Fri, June 21, 2019 07:26:55

Another flint knapping workshop at Butser Ancient Farm for me. I didn’t dig but the rest of the team did. The following report was written by Jon:

“Shambles /ˈʃamb(ə)lz/


1. A state of confusion, bad organization, or untidiness, or something that is in this state.

2. A butcher's slaughterhouse (archaic except in place names).

3. Five diggers at Halloween Rift on Saturday 15th June 2019.

The usual call to action is via a text-based messaging system (e-mail). This week, attempts were made to circumvent this and use instead a text-based messaging system (SMS). Four members of the team (Tav, Nick, Duncan and Jon) assembled at the appointed hour. A fifth member (Paul) sent a message to indicate he was running late.

The team patiently waited and, after further reference to the messaging system, waited some more. Finally giving up on the latecomer, the team moved on to the farm, to be met by the latecomer. For his sins, he was appointed hut warden.

With echoes of past failures, the team set out without a key. A Sage Elder saved the day; a runner was despatched to get one. Fortunately, a second team member also went back and got the correct key.

Effort was directed at the Cold Gnarly North, with Paul in the lead. Nick took the wet spot, in his lake. Tav hauled at the corner, a position gaining a reputation for being cold and miserable. Duncan and Jon hauled and stacked at the entrance. 44 bags of spoil and 11 loads of rock were removed. Paul reports that this was largely loose spoil that had previously been stacked along the sides of the passage.

The team learnt from their earlier mistakes and made sure that they finished on time. They then retired to a local hostelry for liquid refreshment…

…or rather, three team members did. Those who had manned the wetter, colder positions went straight home.”

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