New Padlock Combination from 1st Jan 2021

From January 1st 2021 the combination for the entrance gate to Fairy Cave Quarry will be changed. The new combination will be available from the major Mendip caving clubs and Fairy Cave Quarry Management Committee. A reminder that the combination must not be passed on to non cavers/climbers since the quarry owners do not give permission for general access and doing so may risk future access to the quarry.

Please also use clean hands when handling the padlock, we have very occasionally had problems with the padlock due to ingress of grit, but these have been quickly resolved.

Due to the enclosed nature of the caves within the quarry warden led trips are currently suspended. Other caves within the quarry remain open provided cavers abide by the current Government regulations etc. in particular with regard to the travel guidelines and numbers/households. However, as of 26th December the quarry is in Tier 3 and this effectively closes the quarry to all but those that live within the immediate vicinity of the quarry until restrictions are lifted. When restrictions are lifted please also bear in mind that it is not just a question of "are caves indoors or outdoors?" but more a question of "is the particular cave more like an indoor or outdoor environment?" from a Covid19 point of view.

It is advised that any recommendation and advice from the Government, BCRC & BCA are followed along with the following:-

It is recommended that you use a hand sanitiser before and after handling padlocks and gates.

It is important to minimise risks as much as possible, therefore cave within your capability. Although MCR are operational it may take longer for a callout response from MCR and other emergency services.

To reduce the risk of meeting other cavers underground, bearing in mind the restricted nature of the caves in FCQ, it is suggested that a discrete note be put on the dashboard of parked vehicles with just the name of cave (or cave initials) and possibly the intended route (do not put times etc). 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 including in and around the quarry and car park. This can seriously impact on the strength and reliability of even large trees in particular during and after windy conditions. An inspection of the ash trees will be carried out in the near future.

Fairy Cave Quarry Management Committee - Dec 27th 2020

The Fairy Cave Quarry Management Committee administers the access to the caves on behalf of the quarry owners. Access is open to bona fide caving clubs. All cavers visiting the cave must have adequate public liability insurance, such as the BCA's.

For complete access detail see the individual cave entries. The main caves are:
- Balch Cave ~ ^
- Conning Tower Cave
- Fairy Cave ^
- Fernhill Cave *
- Hillier's Cave ~ ^
- Hillwithy Cave ~
- Shatter Cave *
- W/L Cave *
- Withyhill Cave *

^ The cave is closed from 1st October to 30th April to protect the hibernating bats.

~ Keys held by the major Mendip Clubs. These are the ACG, BEC, CSS, MCG, MNRC, SMCC and WCC.

* A warden system operates. Please phone 01934-742710 or write, with SAE, to the FCQ Management Committee, c/o Martin Grass, Bryscombe, New Road, Draycott, Cheddar, Somerset, BS27 3SG with at least six weeks notice of the intended trip. A conservation donation of £2 (minimum) per person is payable. The total number of trips per year is limited so please be patient if your chosen dates are not available.

The quarry has been fenced and gated by the owner. The gate is fitted with a combination lock and the number is available from the major Mendip Clubs. Please keep the gate locked.

A locked car park is provided for visiting cavers. The key is available from the major Mendip Clubs. You are asked to make use of this facility rather than parking on the road since the road is narrow and despite its appearance, takes a lot of 38ton lorry traffic.

An alternative option is to park at the Cerberus Hut, half a mile up the hill, for a small goodwill fee. Be sure to let them know you are leaving your car. There have not been any reported car break-ins but you should always remove valuables from display anyway.

The BMC have an access agreement for climbers who wish to use the quarry. See www.thebmc.co.uk/bmccrag/ViewCrag.aspx?id=859

Last modified 28th Dec 2020.
Copyright © CSCC 2021. 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.