learn to cave


Frequently Asked Questions

Is caving dangerous?

Caving is an adventurous activity and caves can be a challenging environment where danger exists. However by exploring caves as part of an organised group and using the appropriate equipment it.s possible to explore caves safely. Bumps bruises and scratches are relatively common as we are crawling and wiggling through rock tunnels, but broken bones and anything more serious are very very rare.

How many people can I have in a group?

Each instructor can lead a group of up to nine people. If you have more than nine people we will have two instructors. Moving through a cave as a large group can be slow and less rewarding so in groups over nine with two instructors we would break into two groups. This offers the opportunity to have a ‘Show me where the most difficult challenge is… ‘ group and a ‘ Don’t make me squeeze through there’ group.

Am I fit enough to go caving?

Caving is a physical sport. If you are averagely fit then you will have no problems at all enjoying caving. You don’t need to be a super thin runner. You will need to be able to crawl, scramble up rocks and twist and turn. Our caving trips are tailored to you. If you are fit we will make it more physically challenging and if getting into the cave is enough of a challenge we will support you to enjoy it.

Am I going to get stuck?

No. Well maybe… Caves are full of challenges and a lot of those are squeezes. We will never make you go through a squeeze, we will offer the opportunity to have a go but we would stop you if we didn’t think you would fit through. We have more than 20 years experience guiding people in these caves.

What do I need to wear?

You will need to bring different clothes for the different caves we visit and we will let you know in more detail when you book with us. But in general for caving trips in Goatchurch you will need wellies, tracksuit type loose fitting trousers a t-shirt and a thin fleece. If you feel the cold then maybe a thick fleece.  For trips to Swildons Hole you will be getting wet so the most important thing is to have a complete change of clothes. If you visiting the upper series of Swildons old warm clothes will be enough. If you are going deeper underground down to the sump and beyond we would kit you out in a fleecy all in one suit and ask you to bring along a thermal top. And for those undertaking the round trip you will need a wetsuit.

What equipment will you provide me?

We will equip  you with some kind of oversuit.  In Goatchurch this may be a cotton boiler suit which can be more comfortable or a nylon suit that we use in Swildons Hole. We will also provide you with a helmet, light and knee pads.

Do the caves flood?

Goatchurch Cavern will not flood under any circumstances, it.s high and dry on the side of a small valley and even after very heavy rain the cave remains dry. Swildons Hole involves us following a river underground so flooding is a possibility but we understand the hydrology of the area and wouldn.t visit the cave if flooding was a possibility. The Mendip hills ahhve many other caves that are just as beautiful and challenging so we would simply move the session to one of those.

Is it cold underground?

It.s not cold but if you are particularly sensitive to the cold then you might want to bring an extra fleece. We move almost constantly when we are underground, exploring, climbing, crawling and most people find they are warm most of the time.  If you are leaving Swildons Hole you will get wet and that can start to make you cold but by then we are on our way back to the surface.

Are you qualified to take people caving?

I am qualified as part of the BCA (British Caving Association) scheme to ensure people taking people underground have the relevant experience and skills. I am a CIC (Cave Instructors Certificate) which is the highest qualification in the UK which allows me to organise caving trips, teach technical skills you might need to explore underground and to coach people who are involved in introducing people to caving as instructors or through voluntary organisations such as the scouts.  I have held the qualification for 13 years and have been an active caver all over the UK for the last thirty years.

Can people with special needs go caving?

Yes. Caving is an immensely rewarding and challenging experience for anyone. As with anyone wanting to explore underground we will tailor the caving trip to the abilities of the group. The Mendips and South Wales have caves and Mines where it.s possible to access the subterranean world whatever the ability of the group.

I want to organise a Stag or Hen do will caving work?

Yes. If you are looking for an activity during the day that will be fun and challenging caving is ideal.  The Mendips are about 30 minutes south of Bristol and 50 minutes from Bath and the Caving in South Wales is within reach of Cardiff.  We are experienced in taking hen and stag parties caving and the fun they can be. We can organise lunch in a local pub and fit in with your schedule. If you need us to we can come and pick you up and drop you back to where you are staying after the caving.