© Chelsea Spelaeological Society - updated April 2017
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NRW and ‘Right to Roam’

Six executive members of the Cambrian Caving Council and the British Caving Association met with four NRW staff, including their internal solicitor, at NRW’s Cardiff offices on 20 April to discuss the non-recognition by NRW of any legal rights to go caving under the CROW Act 2000 and the Law of Property Act 1925.  NRW said they did not possess QC or barrister-level backing for their views.  They also denied that their unsupportive cave access stance is driven by cave conservation concerns. NRW’s private logic is that caves in Access Land and Urban Commons are not part of such land.  In other words, that these areas are 2-dimensional for legal purposes. This is at odds with Common Law as well as the definition of land at section 205 of the LPA. But NRW then admits they regard land as  3D material when it suits them:  such as in defining national nature reserves like OFD and Craig y Cilau, or in scheduling SSSIs. NRW also still believes that caving is not a valid form of ‘air and exercise’ within the scope of the LPA, and not a form of ‘open- air recreation’ within the meaning of CROW. NRW is disqualifying caving on the grounds that OS maps do not show the outlines of caves, implying that cavers do not know where they are once underground.  But they did concede that we could add a coloured overlay or border on cave surveys to show Access and Common Land.  A demo of the OFD survey being manipulated in 3D by Survex was appreciated and understood. Although meeting again in two months is intended, it does seem rather pointless and the available effort might be better directed into media and political activities instead.

New CSS Members

Welcome to three new members in March: Dave Coulson from Abergavenny, and John and Lisa Methven who live near Reading. See you at Whitewalls or on one of our away meets very soon!  

Secret Tunnels Opened

Rhydymwyn Valley Historical Society and its partners re-opened the former UK chemical weapons and nuclear factory near Mold to the public in a ceremony held on 22 April.  The attraction is now open to over-16s on a limited number of days each year for a minimum donation of £5 per person. Dates and all details are on the RVHS website UK nerve gases were manufactured in these buildings and stored in the adjacent tunnels up to 1960.  ‘Building 45’ was used for fissile uranium enrichment prior to 1943 when the Allies transferred Tube Alloys to the far safer USA, along with Klaus Fuchs, the Soviet spy, who had been working here.  Plans were also laid for moving Bank of England gold bullion into these limestone tunnels if nuclear war or an invasion looked likely.


Ogof Draenen’s Origins

The Farrant and Simms geological research paper on the speleogenesis of the Ogof Draenen cave system, the largest cave in Wales is here.

Ogof Gofan Project

‘Sanctuary’ magazine showcases MOD’s conservation projects once a year in an impressive 100-page all-colour glossy publication at gov.uk.  Read just the bit about the caver access scheme here.

Cave Telephones

As used by UK cave rescue teams.  How they work, circuit diagrams and firmware. The photo shows a batch of underground handsets in production.

Get it published

Underground themes like caving of course.  Your editor and webmaster can create a link here to showcase your efforts and feature your news stories and photos.
CHELSEA SPELÆOLOGICAL SOCIETY Caving in Wales, the South of England, and beyond

Clydach Gorge Cave Closures

Cavers are reminded that Ogof Pont Gam and Ogof Nant Rhin will shortly be closed

until June 2017 while rock is removed to create the new A465 split-level east-bound

lanes.  Ogof Capel are expected to close later in the autumn onwards for the

construction of the split-level lanes going past Gilwern.  Ogof Capel has also been

given a new padlock in April, due to metal corrosion, and all the existing keys should

still work.  Caves on the east side of the Clydach Gorge like Shakespeare’s Cave and

Ogof Clogwyn are not affected by the dual carriageway road works provided these

caves are accessed from the minor roads serving the Gilwern Hill side of the valley.

For more photos of smartly dressed cavers in clean new everything, visit ogof.org.uk

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