Mendip Caves, descriptions and research

First of all, your best reference for Mendip Cave descriptions and their access agreements is the latest Mendip Underground,.

You can also use the MCRA search page:

They also have a youtube channel:

Either click the cave name to see a wiki description,

or click on the pictures to see an MCRA description.



Swildon’s 20

Not The Birthday Squeeze – Photo credits: Mark Burkey

GB Cave

Bat Passage

The Waterfall (Heavy) – Photo Credits : Mark Burkey

Longwood Swallet

Swing Pitch – Photo credit: Mark Burkey



Reservoir Hole

The Frozen Deep – Credit: Mark Burkey


Upper flood

Neverland – Credit: Mark Burkey

St Cuthberts

Arete pitch – Credit: Mark Burkey

Fairy Cave Quarry

Shatter Cave- Credit: Mark Burkey

Hillier’s Cave- Credit: Mark Burkey


Sidcot Swallet (Burrington)

The Ducks – Credit: Mark Burkey


If you would like to add some photo’s to our Mendip Gallery post your RAW images to us



Description and skills guide.

MCRA cave research and descriptions are available for all caves listed at this event.

Burrington coombe caves. In the gorge.
Goatchurch, Lionels hole, Sidcots swallet, Pierres pot.
These caves are all available to novices and children.
The Burrington day experience will be run by an experienced and qualified leader. (LCMLA)
You will be able to experience a number of different caves and learn simple techniques of caving.

Above the gorge
Rods pot to Bath swallet through trip. Trip time expected 2-3hrs
Intermediate or above.
This trip is weather permitting as the through passage is prone to flooding if bad weather is a factor. If bad weather does present itself, this trip will only consist of Rods pot.
A great trip that will require you to be confident with ladders. Various routes are available. In here are some fun challenges that can be attempted. The bear pit challenge being one of them. Ask your leader about this.

Reads cavern. Trip time expected = 2hrs
A chance to see a verified Neanderthal inhabited cave. This cave offers a range of routes and can be a little disorienting to the less experienced caver. A very spacious Main chamber is awe inspiring, but all routes from here are filled with climbs, mazes and crawls.


Swildons round trip. Trip time expected = 3-4hrs
This trip is for intermediate cavers.
A wet and exciting trip. You will descend and climb the 20ft waterfall and experience no less than 4 ducks, a tightish squeeze,(chest size above 40 inches is not advised), and a sump. Not a trip for the faint hearted. The 20ft will be pre rigged all weekend.

Swildons sump 1. Trip time expected = 2-3 hrs
This trip is for cavers with basic experience.
A gentle meander through the main streamway route of the cave. Descending the 20ft and twin pots will lead you to face sump 1(optional). A great trip that will test your skills as a beginner and still a pleasure for the more experienced cavers too. The 20ft will be pre rigged all weekend.

G.B. round trip. Trip time expected = 2-3 hrs
Not a trip for novices.
This trip will take you into the main gorge off the cave, following it down to the bridge. Following up through white passage and down via the waterfall bypass and a visit to the viewpoint. Returning up the awesome waterfall and up the gorge again.
This route will require you to negotiate a number of climbs both downward and upon return. Be prepared. A CCC permit is required for this cave.

G.B. Great chamber. Trip time expected = 3-4hrs
Intermediate or above.
This route will head upwards to the devil’s elbow and enter the gorge higher up. Again following the waterfall bypass to the ladder dig. There is a duck to negotiate and can be very awkward for the larger cavers among you. Once into the boulder chamber you will ascend into the great chamber. The entrance to the great chamber is via either a slim squeeze or an exposed climb which is not for the hesitant cavers. If time allows, a visit to the press and the bat passage can also be made. Your exit will take you up the waterfall and out through the main route. A CCC permit is required for this cave.

Stoke lane slocker. Trip time expected = 4hrs +
For the more adventurous cavers.
This trip will include wet challenging conditions. A low crawling entrance series will eventually lead to a rather imposing looking sump. For the brave among you, the rewards of taking on the sump are plentiful. Probably one of the most decorated caves in the Mendips.

Thrupe lane swallet. Trip time expected = 4+hrs
SRT Skilled cavers only.
This route will take you to the greatest heights this cave has to offer.
Experience High Atlas and descending nearly 180ft/60m. Surely a challenge for any adrenaline seekers. This cave will be pre rigged all weekend and there may even be the possibility of a through trip connection to Hobnail Hole.

Eastwater. Trip time expected = 3-4hrs
Intermediate or above. 13 pots round trip
A challenging but enjoyable trip that offers many challenges. The route will encounter a slanted traverse, deep pots, a 35ft pitch and a bold exposed step. We are hoping to pre rig the pitches.

Longwood swallet. Trip time expected = 3-4hrs
Intermediate or above. Entrance series requires negotiation of an awkward T shaped squeeze. This obstacle is no very roomy. Good endurance is necessary for this trip
This route will visit the waterfall traverse and the great chamber on the way to swing pitch and the downstream series. Returning via the same way in detouring only to visit the wet chimney exit. Water levels may determine route changes.

Upper flood swallet. Trip time expected = 4-6hrs
Intermediate or above.
This trip will take you to Neverland. Along the way you will experience some beautiful sections of the cave, and some challenging squeezes too. Strict rules apply and conservation is paramount in this cave.

Rhino rift. Trip time expected = 3-5hrs
Skilled SRT only.
Consisting of a number of large rifts totalling a vertical range of some 170m. A challenge for any SRT enthusiasts. This cave will be pre rigged all weekend.

Hunters hole. Trip time expected =2-4hrs
SRT only.
A less daunting adventure and excellent choice for the beginner SRT cavers. A vertical range of 58m, this cave throws you immediately into the SRT experience. The main chamber descent opens into a bell chamber and leaves you dangling In a rather large space indeed. This cave will be pre rigged all weekend.

Reservoir hole. Trip time expected = 3-4hrs
Intermediate or above. You will need to show your BCA card or temp insurance to enter this cave as access is controlled and you must have a clean oversuit! This cave will take you to the relatively newly discovered, (2013) Frozen deep. The main chamber is the largest known (floor area) of it is kind in the UK. Offering you a chance to view some of the most pristine formations you are likely to see, and an ice age experience.

Fairy cave quarry. Hilliars to Fairy, Withyhill, Shatter and Fernhill caves.
Trip time expected = 3-4hrs
Intermediate or above.
This outing will consist of 1 choice of either Hilliars to Fairy cave, Withyhill or Shatter cave. You will also be able to visit Fernhill as an added extra.
Be sure to research these choices as each cave offers very different experiences.

*Extra thanks to Mark ‘ChunkyCaver’ Burkey for his excellent photo’s, CLICK HERE to see more of them*