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Browns Folly update please

Posted: Wed 17 May 2006 15:58
by DaveGrosvenor
Is there any official access to Browns Folly Yet?

English nature closed it awaiting some sort of safety report.

Posted: Wed 17 May 2006 20:09
by Canda@CSCC
If you can find out what the score is at Brownes Folly I would be very interested to hear of it.

i know the way into browns folly

Posted: Sat 03 Jun 2006 12:01
by cavingcarl
i have been to browns folly several times i know a way in but it is so big underneath i still have not covered everything i think i have been about half the way around e_mail me for more details @

Posted: Mon 26 Jun 2006 09:39
by Canda@CSCC
Following consultations with HSE, Avon Wildlife Trust has gated Browns Folly Mine entrances on their land.

Posted: Mon 26 Jun 2006 11:12
by David Cooke
Canda@CSCC wrote:Following consultations with HSE, Avon Wildlife Trust has gated Browns Folly Mine entrances on their land.
Presumably without consultation with cavers and the local groups that use the mines. Why can't AWT be more like Wiltshire Wildlife Trust? WWF which has consulted over Box and arrived at a solution that is much more likely to succeed because it does its best to address the needs of all interested parties.

AWT is only interested in the wildlife, i.e. the bats. It is a single issue organisation - the clue is in the name. It is failing to appreciate the value of the resource that they manage. The interests of the speleologists, the sports cavers, the historians, the industrial archeologists and geologists, are apparently all being ignored.

On a point of safety, does anyone know if all the gated entrances are now locked?

There was an incident reported to me last week where a group went in the un-padlocked entrance nearest the car park expecting to exit from main entrance. They explored and studied the mine for some hours. When they arrived at the main entrance they found a brand new padlock in place and were forced to return to the first entrance. They did this at some speed, concerned that they were about to be locked in!

The safety issue here is that having timed their trip expecting to exit main entrance they might not have had sufficient light when force to return to the first entrance. Thereby causing a rescue.

If AWT are to put padlocks on, they need to give some thought to:
  • Consult with the relevant groups.
  • Advertise what is to be done, giving plenty of notice. Signs at all the entrances.
  • Lock all the gates, or none.
  • Check no one is in the mine before putting the padlocks on.

Posted: Mon 26 Jun 2006 14:26
by Canda@CSCC
WWF were aware that simply putting padlocks on Box would almost certainly have resulted in them being bypassed; the system of securing the gates at Box needed to be part of the design of the gates and was manufactured into them before installation - as I understand things this was not the case at BFM. HSE informed AWT that to continue "allowing" access while ensuring their liability was minimised would probably require the appointment of a site manager (beyond AWT's resources) - this is a future possibility perhaps - although the site, BFM, is listed in Mendip Underground, as it is a mine and of interest/importance to mining historians etc. my personal wish is that such groups make representations on their own behalf as frankly I'm sick to death of C&A at the moment*.

* This may pass.

Cookie, the instance mentioned above (group finding their way out blocked and concerns about dwindling batteries resulting in a "locked in" situation) was cited in conversation with AWT. The solution to this is to ensure that all ways in are barred so that's not really a solution in terms of access.

Hmm thanks for the eventual reply

Posted: Wed 28 Jun 2006 16:32
by DaveGrosvenor
So unofficial access to Browns Folly through the main entrance has been stopped.

Thanks for your efforts, although Browns Folly is a mine it is full of stalactites and formations usually found in caves. But it seems they have only been antagonised into negative action..

Several points:

1) The other entrance you mentioned has significantly more complex route finding and goes through more unstable passages. It is not to be recomended even with SMCC's awesome survey. I am glad I visited earlier.. but I gave up before I found the route through Grahams grovel.

2) I would not want the CSCC to distinguish their efforts to ensure conservation and access for either caves or mines.

3) Safety point:

There were two recent falls involving piles of deads that occured on F.P passage just north and south of where the passage from the main entrance met FP passage. There were no roof collapses, just piles of deads that moved. Although one timber support for the roof was dislodged in the southern fall.

The falls occured this winter during the bat exclusivity season.
They were not present before october and were present in march.