Ogof Draenen Conservation News.

Pwll Du Cave Management Group (PDCMG)

Press Release - 23/6/98

The group's attention has been drawn to the rapidly deteriorating condition of Giles' Shirt (the first major formation up Gilwern Passage). The path, which is the only means of passing the formation and continuing up Gilwern Passage, is starting to collapse into the crystal pools at the base of the formation. The PDCMG has concluded that due to the potential damage that each passing caver could do, Gilwern Passage has been taped off at that point until the needed conservation work has been completed. Needless to say, we need willing volunteers as the solution involves at least rebuilding the path, build a low retaining wall and then attempting to get as much mud out of the pools as possible. Anyone who is willing to help in this project please contact me on (01222) 454006.

As many cavers will know, back in September '97 person or persons unknown dug, for reasons unknown, a trench from the entrance gate out to the hillside. This was an extensive excavation which involved chucking cubic metres of spoil down the hillside. The path down the hill and the sides of the trench started to collapse and despite appeals for information about this bizarre act, no one came forward with any justification. It was decided at the November meeting of the PDCMG that the trench would be filled back in to return the site to its former condition and to halt deterioration. A willing band of volunteers turned out in the rain for 8 hours. They hauled rock from the spoil heap back up the slope and dry stone walled the entire trench. The section at the base of the path were cemented for additional stability and top soil was placed over the rock filled trench to encourage revegetation. We assumed this was the end of this unfortunate, time wasting matter.

Within weeks half of the trench had been chucked back down the hill, again by persons unknown. Repairs were attempted on several occasions by cavers who gave up their day's trip to lend a hand. Eventually the decision was made not to play their game and since that date the rest of the trench has been systematically destroyed, one rock every week or two! This state of affairs was reported to the June meeting of the group which unanimously condemned the actions of these individuals. The group was original set up as an open forum for issues relating to the caves in the area, and therefore again invites those involved to get in touch (anonymously) so that this matter can be resolved amicably. The group also decided that the trench will again be repaired, but this time it will be engineered to resist vandalism. The Group would like it widely known that any further vandalism, will be treated as a criminal matter and the Police will be involved. Unfortunately I have to ask if anyone is again prepared to give up a day of their time to help repair the site, I promise it'll be a laugh, BBQs and beer ready.

Ali Garman
Pwll Du Cave Management Group

Other Draenen Info