South Wales Caving
There are many caves in South Wales that can enable the novice to get a great feel of what lies beneith the Brecon Beacons and beyond, and certainly too many to ever list on these pages, so here are a few of the ones that I find myself regularly in.
Porth yr Ogof
The main cave is accessed via a limestone walkway on the east side of the river that enters the cave from the gorge and leads into the large day lit entrance chamber. The large passage in the right hand wall of the main chamber leads to the Right Hand Series. Ahead the passage soon reaches water at the White Horse Pool which is several metres deep and takes its name from the equine appearance of the white exposed calcite vein on the wall above the pool. On the left of the main chamber are five passages, the first is a large alcove.
The second passage leads to a low wide chamber that connects to the Upper Stream Passage and an entrance often referred to as the Tradesman’s Entrance. The three final passages on the left of the chamber all lead to the lower section of the Upper Stream Passage. The Upper Stream Passage follows downstream to Sump Five and deep water to connect to White Horse Pool. Beyond the White Horse Pool the stream passage is quite impressive with black vertical walls and deep water for over 50m. The water becomes shallower and the passage wider as the Great Bedding Cave is reached and the passages of the Right Hand Series connect to the main passage. A passage joins here on the left hand side with water issuing from Sump 10.
Further downstream the roof raises by about a metre and the cave is seen at its widest point at over 35m across. A large shingle bank occupies the left hand side of the passage with the stream flowing on the right. A wade through deep water leads to entrance I on the left while following the water down a series of short rapids entrance J can be accessed over the shingle bank on the left. Following the water further downstream leads to the final lake and the route to the resurgence pool where daylight can be seen. Signs in the cave here warn against crossing the pool as the hazards beyond here are numerous, from strong undercurrents to hidden tree trunks and branches deep in the water, continuing beyond here has cost many lives!
By following the Llangattock tramroad you reach some old quarries on a bend. It is in the rocky outcrop on the bend that the numerous entrances to this cave can be found. The largest entrance, high up and to the west leads into the Main Chamber and has long been known as the Stone Church due to it’s siz, and consequently gives it’s name to the cave. The chamber is about 60m long and at at the rear degenerates into a flat out crawl that leads to a squeeze that gives entry to a smaller chamber.
At the end of this chamber is a boulder choke, through which on the right hand side is entry to the Warren, a high level series of crawls that are still being dug. From the right hand side of the Main Chamber a passage leads to the Western Series where a concrete dam is found near the Glump Sump, beyond this dam the passage continues to a boulder choke. From the left hand side of the Main Chamber a passage leads to the other entrances to the cave, including the waterfall entrance. The numerous entrances, generally dry cave and lack of serious hazards makes this cave quite popular with beginners.