CHARTERHOUSE AREA

Mendip
ST 48 55

Access

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

Following the updated advice from government, the BCA and the BCRC, the company is able to recommence visits to the caves under its management from Monday 13th July 2020. Visits are, of course, subject to the normal requirements of the access agreements and also to the additional recommendations listed below.


  • Until further notice each club is asked not to issue more than one key for each cave on any one day.

  • Social distancing and hygiene protocols must be followed when issuing and returning both keys and permits. It is recommended that visitors use hand sanitiser before and after unlocking and locking cave gates.

  • No cars are to be parked at Charterhouse Farm by request of the owners and no changing is to take place there. Parking for G.B. and Charterhouse must therefore be in the layby by the field entrance on the road.

  • It is recommended that you have a plan “B” if you are likely to meet other cavers underground.

  • Ash dieback is affecting trees throughout the Mendip area. Take care when using the permissive path through Longwood Valley especially in high winds.

We also recommend that the following additional advice from the Secretary of the BCA is adhered to.


  • Plan for an alternative location if the location is already occupied, so as to minimise the risk of transmission of the coronavirus between groups;

  • Noting that whilst some rural communities are content to see cavers, others may still be reluctant to have visitors, so check local information before visiting and take care when approaching any location;

  • The ‘service’ provided by cave rescue organisations may be reduced and could take longer to arrive at the scene of an incident, so cavers and mine explorers should special care to reduce the risk of a call out;

  • Follow government guidance on contact with shared tackle, hand washing / use of hand sanitizer and maintain an appropriate social distance where reasonably possible both above and underground, so as to minimise the risk of transmission of the coronavirus; and

  • Keep a record for 21 days of whom you have associated with in case they subsequently realise that they are infected, so as to facilitate the government’s test and trace program.

CCC Ltd, July 11th 2020


The Charterhouse area is administered by the Charterhouse Caving Company Ltd.
For the latest information see www.charterhouse-caving-company.ltd.uk

The Company has been set up to administer access to several square miles of land in the Charterhouse area on Mendip on which are located numerous cave entrances and sites of speleological and archaeological interest. The land is a nature reserve owned by the Somerset Wildlife Trust (SWT). By agreement amongst Mendip caving clubs, the CCC Ltd. was formed. It administers caving access to the land by means of a lease from SWT. It comprises representatives of nine caving clubs. These are the ACG, BEC, ChCC, CSS, FCG, MCG, MNRC, SMCC, SBSS, UBSS and the WCC.

Having due regard for its legal obligations, the Company has made every possible effort to simplify access arrangements.

PERMITS AND INSURANCE
All cavers visiting these caves require a valid permit. Permits may be issued by any one of the member clubs to their own club members and guests. Permits may also be issued by the Honorary Secretary of CCC Ltd. to cavers wishing to visit the area as guests of the Company, i.e. those who are unable to make a guest arrangement with a Member Club.

Guests may obtain a Temporary Permit which covers the duration of their visit to the area (14 days) and such permits are charged at 50p each. These charges provide revenue which helps to defray the costs of insurance and other expenses; the majority of such expenses being met by subvention from the Member Clubs.

The committee maintains a public liability insurance to indemnify both itself and SWT against claims arising out of caving activities.

CCC Ltd recommends, but does not require, for your own and your caving companions benefit that you are insured. BCA member clubs are able to issue temporary public liability caving insurance to their guests for a small fee.

Applications for permits must be accompanied by a completed indemnity form available from either a Member Club or from the Honorary Secretary and the appropriate remittance. The Secretary is currently: Graham Mullan, 38 Delvin Road, Westbury on Trym, Bristol, BS10 5EJ.

E-mail: secretary [@] charterhouse-caving-company.ltd.uk

ACCESS TO THE CAVES
To comply with the regulations under the lease, caves in the area are required to be gated. However there is no difficulty in obtaining a key for the caves concerned:- G.B. Cave, Longwood and Rhino Rift. Similarly there should be no problems in obtaining a leader for a visit to Charterhouse Cave. Other small sites in the area include Read's Grotto and digs Timber Hole, Longwood Valley Sink and Toothache Pot.

No trip may be organised, deriving profit from the venture unless written permission is obtained, in advance, from the Charterhouse Caving Company Ltd for that particular visit. This applies to all the caves administered by the company.

There is no formal booking system. Cavers visiting the area as guests of a Member Club should make their own arrangements. Others are requested to give one month's notice of an proposed visit to the Secretary of CCC Ltd. This will allow the necessary arrangements to be made on time.

CONSERVATION OF THE CAVES
The Company is deeply concerned that maximum regard is given to cave conservation and SWT insist that activities in, and around, the caves do not constitute a public health hazard. All cavers are required to abide by the following rules:-

1. No-one under the age of 16 years is permitted in the caves. Persons aged between 16 and 18 years must provide a completed parental consent form before a permit can be issued. Any party which includes 16-18 year olds must include a minimum of two adults for each child.

2. Novices must not be introduced to caving in the Charterhouse area caves. By way of guidance, the Company feels that cavers who have done less than 4 previous trips are likely to be still novices, as are cavers who feel the need for professional leadership.

3. Caves should be kept locked at all times.

4. The party size in any cave is restricted to 6, except in Charterhouse Cave where it is 3 plus a leader.

5. No digging is allowed nor are fixed aids to be placed without the express permission of the Company.

6. No carbide lamps are to be used.

7. These caves are on Nature Reserves, respect the regulations governing these, as shown on the signs at the gates, both above and below ground.

For further information see www.charterhouse-caving-company.ltd.uk


Last modified 13th Jul 2020.
Copyright © CSCC 2020. For the latest information see cscc.org.uk.
To maintain good relations with the landowners if the location is published the access information should also be published.