The Derbyshire Caving Association is relaunching our SSSI Cave Monitoring Scheme. This scheme is important to promote Cave Conservation within the Peak District caving community.

white river cw
White River Series © Clive Westlake

The monitoring scheme is 20 years old in 2022 as it started out in 2002 after English Nature (now Natural England) commissioned John Gunn and John Beck to produce inventories of "Special Interest Features" in each Peak District cave SSSI. Separate inventories were prepared for Northern and Southern cave SSSI as part of a country-wide programme of SSSI monitoring.

Dave Webb (DW), as DCA Conservation Officer at the time, met with what was then the English Nature Peak District Team to prepare Monitoring Forms for each cave. The forms consisted of a survey with monitoring points marked and a brief description based on the inventories but with some simplification of technical terms. Once agreed with English Nature the forms were sent to DW for distribution at a DCA meeting. Monitoring co-ordinators for the seven SSSI with multiple caves were recruited from DCA clubs. The eighth, Poole's Cavern, has a single cave.

In the first three months of 2003, seven cavers from local clubs monitored the special features in 67 caves: Ann Soulsby John Barnatt, Wayne Sheldon, Boyd Potts, Pete Wagstaff, Iain Barker & John Taylor. This resulted in the Peak District being the first region in the country to complete the monitoring of cave SSSI and Dave/DCA were given an award and a cheque for £1000.

The exercise was repeated in subsequent years, led by the Conservation Officers following Dave's retirement, Mel Milner for a few years then Christine Wilson. There is now a dedicated section on the DCA website.

The Competition

We would like to encourage cavers to complete a Cave Monitoring Form and accompanying photographs for each feature on the form, upon completion of their trips. Photographs will allow us to compare the feature over a period of time. We can then update our files to protect and preserve these special areas for future reference.

As part of our relaunch, we would like cavers to complete and submit the SSSI Cave Monitoring forms that are found on the DCA website. 

The person submitting a form and photographs will then be entered into a random draw at the end of the calendar year for a prize of a £50, Starless River voucher. Terms and Conditions apply:

Full Terms and Conditions:

  • The number of entries for the competition: One entry per person, per day, per cave.
  • A photograph needs to be submitted with each cave monitoring form to show the feature.
  • The Winner will be chosen at random in a draw. 
  • The deadline for entries is 31st December 2022. 
  • The prize will be a £50 Starless River voucher. This prize does not have any alternative.
  •  Winners will receive their prize within 30 days of the closing date.
  •  The winner will be informed by email within 7 days of the closing date, and must respond within 28 days to claim their prize.
  •  The winners name will be mentioned on the DCA website, DCA Newsletter and on ukCaving unless their objection has been notified by the DCA.
  • This competition is promoted by the Derbyshire Caving Association.