The latest news concerning caving in the Peak District and the DCA. National caving news can be found on the BCA website.

On Dec. 2nd a caving party reported sewage pollution in Youds Level.

The exit from the Youd's Level comes up in the childrens' playground next to the river in Matlock Bath and the raw sewage is being discharged straight into the river.

This had been an ongoing problem for many years and action was taken earlier this year to remedy the situation. However, clearly this has not solved the problem and DCA has again notified appropriate authorities and requested urgent action as this is a public health issue.

We'll keep you informed of progress as far as we can.

Regards, Jenny Potts.

Clarification of the situation at Eldon Hill Quarry, thanks to Pete Mellors of DCA:-

pdfAccess to Eldon Hill Quarry – June 201368.1 KB

The agreement between DCA, Chatsworth and Natural England allows for digs to be started or resumed in the Quarry without the need for further permissions to be sought or obtained. The only stipulation is that all trips to the Quarry are logged, (see above document), and DCA has agreed to implement this and so monitor the visiting situation on behalf of Chatsworth, the tenant farmer, and Natural England, largely in case of damage or threats to the scientific interest of the site. Cavers are asked, in other words, to keep it low key, fill in the logbook, and please dig responsibly and thereby safeguard the access we now have.

Note that this will be added to the DCA Handbook revisions section of the site.

18/2/2011 - Odin Mine Warning

Knotlow Pollution - Situation improved (at last!)

A quick analysis of records for the past twelve months, recently recovered from the base of Knotlow Climbing Shaft, show that for all intents and purposes the pollution that has plagued this popular system for decades has finally disappeared! Air quality was variously reported as "good", "no bad smells", and "no problems" on all the 23 entries in the log book.

The logger at the base of "Fourways" has been taken out by the Environment Agency and the securing chain will be removed in due course. The results during the period of the test of water quality were inconclusive.

Suicide Cave Boulder is now moving

As you may know Suicide Cave has had a few moments of instability over the years. I’m just dropping you a line to let folks know the far pitch at the back of the cave is now showing signs of serious instability. A piece of rock on the right wall just before the Y-hang has been epoxy tell-tailed. It’s has been under observation for a few years and was even looked at by Dave Carlisle the Mines inspector.

Whilst on the pitch yesterday both myself and another saw the boulder crack line open, felt the slab move and heard the rock make a "doon" sound as we tapped it with our feet. It’s concerning the epoxy tell-tales don't seem to give this impression, yet I assure you it’s moving…

Should it fall, it’s likely to cause a cascade effect inside the cave as it will land on a suspended boulder choke below. If you could pass the on the members for their own awareness that would be great.

Adam Evans

11/10/12 - Waterfall Hole (Including Crock Pot)

Cavers covered by the BCA insurance scheme are welcome to visit the cave at any time, but cars must not be parked on the track at any time. (It is just possible to tuck a couple of cars in on the left at the top of the hill towards Foolow). The land on which the cave sits will probably be sold next year but until then the access agreement stands. The owner has also asked if visiting parties will email Mark Noble at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (this email address is being protected from spambots). You need JavaScript enabled to view it. so he can let them know that cavers will be on their land.

Nettle Pot - CO2 update

On Tuesday 16/10/2012 with three other experienced cavers, and having notified DCRO's duty controller and a reliable callout person, I carefully descended Nettle in order to sample the air quality which had been previously reported as containing a high level of carbon dioxide. The meter used was DCA's Crowcon Gasman single gas monitor, and sampling was done continuously, hoping to use the logging feature of the instrument. Readings direct from the LCD display were also noted, and these are shown in the table below.

Surface 0.01%
Top of Gulley Pitch 2.08%
Foot of Gulley Pitch 2.22%
Top of Crumble 2.31%
Window to Beza 2.34%
Foot of Beza 2.41%
Foot of Shakes 2.37%
Foot of Fin Pot 2.47%

The Gasman started alarming at the foot of the Bottle Pitch, and, while descending the pitches down to base of Fin Pot, the air quality slowly deteriorated by around half a percent, but not to a dangerous level. The effects, however, were very noticeable when returning up the pitches, when symptoms similar to working at altitude were noticed - panting etc. However, having access to the meter readings, and seeing that the levels were not dangerous was reassuring, and the return journey and de-rigging was done without any major problem.

My personal conclusion looking at the readings taken on the trip is that the levels of carbon dioxide in Nettle are now not sufficiently high to cause major concern, they are considerably less than Lathkill Head upper entrance, and the latest passage discovered in Water Icicle Close Cavern.

But cavers do need to be aware that there is currently a general problem with higher than normal concentrations of carbon dioxide in some Peak District caves and mines. Cavers need to know the symptoms, the likely problems and have a preformed plan when visiting any cave in the area.

Ideally cavers should carry an oxygen meter - these are certainly cheap enough for caving clubs to purchase nowadays.

As winter approaches, and temperatures drop, we should expect to see CO2 levels decrease in caves. Knotlow, a much better ventilated system than Nettle, was already back to normal last week.

If any body drops Nettle (especially Beza and Crumble) in the next few weeks, please drop me an email and let me know your experience - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Alan Brentnall

JH (Bitch Pitch) News

Bitch Pitch was fully inspected on the 11th of September 2012. We found that nothing has changed since the last inspection and remedial work undertaken about one month ago. We descended to the bottom of the pitch, checking the p-hangers on the way down which we found to be okay. The pitch is pretty clear of debris, a large pile of collapsed material is now at the bottom of Bitch Pitch, but entry to the Workshop isn't a problem. We now consider the work on removing unstable material from Bitch Pitch to be complete, although there will never be a time when it can be regarded as completely safe, and it will be up to individual cavers to use their judgement when descending JH. It is certainly no place for novices.

Giants Hole Litter problem

Message received from Peter Knight in early June: Just letting people know. Recently at Giants a few of us from Hollowford have cleared a fair few beer bottles/cans/broken glass out of the cave. Wednesday night I did so again, this time the culprits were still in there - SH58 ULB, Vectra, 4 blokes, late 20's?! Just for you to be aware as they are parking as close to the entrance as they can get and the cave stinks of booze and fags when you walk in.

Eldon Quarry Caves

All access to the caves in the quarry is banned at present following some incidents last year which upset the tenant farmer. DCA is working to resolve the situation but, for the time being, please stay away.

Rowter Hole Lid

Dan Hibberts, the new DCA Projects Officer, has fitted a new lid which requires a 30mm or adjustable spanner to open it. The catch has been re-designed to preclude losing the locking nut. The nut just needs to be loosened and the catch rotated through 90 degrees to open the lid. There is no necessity to take it completely off the stud. Users are requested to lock down the nut after use to safeguard the public and stock. This arrangement is likely to be used on other lids and will replace the existing arrangement where the stud fits through a hole in the lid.

Carbon Dioxide excess reported in Gautries

There is a report of excess Carbon Dioxide in the lower sections of Gautries during the week leading to 18th. August. This was in the section beyond the small duck/dive, in the terminal chamber on the down climb to the lower muddy pit where the digs are. Those involved reported that after an hour in this area they experienced headaches, high heart rates and difficulty in climbing back up the in-situ ropes.

Derbyshire Cave Rescue Organisation Open Day

On Saturday 19 January we will be holding our annual open day at our base at the Fire and Rescue Centre on Staden Lane, Buxton SK17 9RZ.

The day performs a number of functions - i.e.

  1. An induction day which probationary and prospective team members are required to attend.
  2. A refresher day for existing team members but particularly those unable to attend much normal training.
  3. An opportunity for members of other cave rescue teams to come and see how we do things.
  4. An opportunity for any interested cavers to come and find out about cave rescue and what to do if faced with an emergency.

Those attending will be divided into groups and will move round a number of stations where the following subjects will be covered

  1. General session about DCRO - how it works, what is expected from team members and what to do in an emergency.
  2. Stretcher loading and manoeuvring a casualty in a stretcher around the confined space training basement.
  3. Rigging for hauling and hauling a casualty on the drill tower.
  4. First aid for cavers.
  5. Communications - use of radios, Heyphones, single wire phones, procedures etc.

A free lunch (soup and sandwich) will be provided. The day should start at 10.00 and finish about 16.00.

Last year the day was attended by fifty cavers (including organisers) and feedback was very positive. This is about the maximum we can deal with.

To help us plan the day and know how many people to cater for (food and parking etc.) please let us know in advance if you will be attending by contacting Bill Whitehouse (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 01298.871661). Thanks.

7/11/12 - Ashford Marble Mine - temporary closure Please note that Ashford Marble Mine (a.k.a. Rookery Mine) will be closed temporarily for a week while a small amount of stone is extracted for a project involving Chatsworth Estates. At the moment the proposed dates are from Thurs. 6 to Thurs. 13 December. If there is any change in these dates we will update the website.

17/9/12 - Nettle Pot - Serious CO2 problems

There are currently very serious CO2 problems in Nettle Pot. It is suggested that cavers stay away until further notice. A warning notice about the problem has been hung from the bolts immediately under the lid.

Waterfall Swallet

Following the appearance of “Keep Out” notices on the land a few weeks ago the access situation is unclear so best to stay away for the present. DCA is working to ensure that access can be maintained for cavers so we’ll keep you informed. If you do go there, please, under no circumstances block the track.