12 May 2023

Mongo Gill - New access requirements

New access requirements for Mongo Gill Hole

Last month we reported the discontinuation of the long-standing CNCC-facilitated agreement with the owners of Stump Cross Caverns for caver access to Mongo Gill and other nearby caves. This was simply because the wording of the agreement was very outdated.

At the start of May, our Chairman, Access Officer and representatives of the Craven Pothole Club attended a meeting with the owners at Stump Cross Caverns to discuss a future solution. The owners were understandably concerned about totally open access to the various caves around their business, partly as some connect (albeit via collapses) to the show-cave, partly for their own liability, and partly for managing the numbers of cavers on their land. However, we also explained our position that we could no longer offer to police access, and that we have now moved towards supporting simpler and more modern forms of access facilitation in such situations.

They were very understanding, friendly, and had already put considerable thought into this.

Effective immediately, access to Mongo Gill Hole is facilitated by Stump Cross Caverns and not a CNCC arrangement. They have set up an online booking form for those wishing to visit:

Mongo Gill Caver Booking System

Access is available for groups of no more than eight (for conservation reasons), all year round. 

It is a requirement that visitors possess BCA membership to ensure Stump Cross Caverns are indemnified against any claims arising from caver visits. Currently, this only needs one person in the group to be a BCA member to fulfil these insurance requirements, however, this may change as BCA amend the scope of their cover in future years.

Once your booking has been made, you can collect the key during Stump Cross Caverns opening hours (it can be returned via a post box if exiting after the show-cave has closed). The person making the booking will need to show a valid BCA card to collect the key. Parking is only permitted in a layby outside the premises, and not in the show-cave car park, as this gets very busy in peak times. Directions to this layby can be provided upon collection of the key.

This represents a significant improvement over the previous outdated agreement, as it enables all-year round access for all BCA members, not just clubs.

We must emphasise that this is not a CNCC-facilitated agreement, so if you have any questions on this arrangement, or for access to other caves or entrances in the vicinity (Hell Hole, Valentines Shaft, Great Extectations etc), please contact Stump Cross Caverns directly.

Photo: Formations in Mongo Gill Hole, by Ian Patrick

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