North Wales Caving Club

Clwb Ogofeydd Gogledd Cymru

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about us

North Wales Caving Club (NWCC) was established in 1971 by a group of friends dedicated to the discovery, exploration and recording of mines and caves in North Wales and elsewhere. The Club combines the sporting and scientific aspects of caving within its projects and activities. NWCC members have discovered all of the major cave systems known in North Wales including the Minera Mountain and Alyn Valley cave systems, and our work continues...

We welcome new members, whether fresh to caving or experienced, and have midweek evening trips to local caves and mines, with frequent weekend or longer trips to other caving areas including abroad. NWCC provides equipment and training for anyone wanting to try out caving.

Whilst our members are happy to accompany youth groups on trips, for legal purposes the club has a mininum age limit of 18yrs for membership.

NWCC produces and holds a wide range of information and surveys of North Wales caves and mines. See below for examples of our newsletter and surveys.

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example newsletter cover

Newsletter 333 Page 1

example survey

Ogof Cerrig Uchel survey



news

last updated 22/09/2018




projects



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North Wales main caving areas



Alyn Gorge

  • Ogof Hesp Alyn - OHA (Cave of the Dry Alyn) - discovered by NWCC in 1973, the former resurgence of the River Alyn sinking at Loggerheads, before mine drainage lowered the water table. The cave is linear, with around 12 pitches, 2 perched sumps and copious mud - small extensions have since been made, with exploratory work continuing at several points as sediments are progressively washed away to reveal new passage - in dry weather the underground river discharges into the Milwr (Sea Level) Tunnel 80m below the deepest point of the known cave.
  • Ogof Hen Ffynhonnau - OHF (Old Springs Cave) - discovered by NWCC in 1978; a parallel system to but so far unconnected to OHA - still carries active streamways from local sinks in the River Alyn and tributaries from the Clywdian Hills - the cave dramatically changed in the 1990s as the the original Lower Series stream sink dropped by around 20m to reveal a further lower series of chambers, shafts and passages and a tight sump.
  • Leete Cave - the floor of a small cave beneath a cliff face adjacent to Boxer Pot and other sinks in the River Alyn collapsed in 2015 to reveal a shaft and breakdown chamber around 15m deep; this may be linked to the South Pant-y-mwyn Vein Inlet near the current end of OHA, around 150m to the east and 40m lower.

Minera

  • Ogof Dydd Byraf - ODB, discovered via old lead mines by Wrexham Caving Club, forerunner to NWCC in 1964; the first part of the Minera Master Cave to be found and the first extensive cave recorded in North Wales.
  • Ogof Llyn Ddu (OLD): Cave of the Black Lake - comprising 4 sections:
  • OLD 1 (Grand Turk Passage) breached by lead miners - re-entered from Cabin Shaft by NWCC in 1985

    OLD 1 (Ragman Passage) discovered by NWCC in 1979 terminating upstream at the Ragman Sump, 23m deep and 270m long.

    OLD 2 - Ragman sump was passed by Paul Whybro in 1986 to enter OLD 2, forming the part of Minera Master Cave between Pool Park and ODB. OLD 2 was then extended via a second sump to reach OLD 3 which is linked to the downstream passage leading from the caverns in Park Mine. A dry connection was made between ODB and OLD 2 via the Selenite Series in 2013 after years of excavation work.

    OLD 3 - separated from OLD 2 by a 50m sump that can be siphoned out but which refills after floods; this forms the link in the master cave / original main drain between Pool Park and OLD 2 / Ragman Sump and OLD 1.

  • Ogof Llyn Parc (Pool Park) - entered by miners from Pool Park shaft in the early 19th century, rediscovered by NWCC in 1984, forming an extensive section of the Minera Master Cave and separated by a gravel choke from the Park Mine vein chambers. A stream sink at Ogof Cefn-y-gist over 2km to the southwest has been dye-traced to the Miners River in Pool Park.
  • Park Mine Vein Caverns - three large natural chambers aligned along a mineral vein and connected to both OLD 3 and Pool Park, entered via the Park Western shaft. The through trip from Park Western to ODB was made by NWCC in 2015.
  • Ogof Cefn-y-gist - the top sink to the Minera Master Cave, this old swallet was dug into by NWCC in 1975 but the terminal boulder choke is still resisting all efforts






access



NWCC has been responsible for gaining access to all the major caves in North Wales.  These include:

In addition NWCC also maintains access for a number of old lead mines in the area. Currently, there is a ban imposed by the Grosvenor Estate with respect to entering all mines within their mineral rights ownership; this affects in particular the access to Ogof Llyn Park and Park Western (not to be confused with Park Mine in Gwydyr). Our previous access agreement with the Grosvenor Estate is currently being re-drafted and there is no access to these systems at present.

Entry to Ogof Dydd Bryaf and Ogof Llyn Ddu is via Minera Quarry. Following the 2017 sale of the quarry by Tarmac to North Wales Wildlife Trust our previous access agreement is being updated and until this process is complete there is currently no access to underground features within Minera Quarry.

As noted above, there have been significant issues with access at some sites so if in doubt please contact the club for the latest information and advice on how to obtain access.

Access is available to members of bonafide clubs providing evidence of BCA (or equivalent) insurance; this is a requirement set by the landowners of each of the cave systems. Access can easily be arranged by contacting the NWCC Secretary (secretary[at]northwalescavingclub.org.uk). Visiting clubs are also welcome to join the NWCC on one of its regular trips, and help with our various projects is welcomed. Several clubs from across the country were of great help in creating the connection between ODB and OLD.



contacts

For information on membership, access, trips etc., please contact us by email:

secretary

or if you would prefer to chat about activities or access, you can call us on 01978 757305.



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