This Company, CCC Ltd, was formed by agreement between Mendip caving clubs to administer access to several square miles of land in the Charterhouse area on Mendip on which are located numerous cave entrances and sites of speleological and archaeological interest. The land is a nature reserve owned by the Somerset Wildlife Trust (S.W.T.). The Company administers caving access to the land by means of legal agreements with S.W.T. The Company comprises representatives of eleven caving clubs. These are the A.C.G., B.E.C., Ch.C.C., C.S.S., F.C.G. M.C.G., M.N.R.C., S.M.C.C., S.B.S.S., U.B.S.S. and the W.C.C.
The Company is a registered company limited by guarantee. It is registered at Companies House.
Having due regard for its legal obligations, the Company has made every possible effort to simplify access arrangements.
If you do not find the information you need here, check out our Frequently Asked Questions.
To comply with our legal obligations to S.W.T. caves in the area are required to be gated. However there is no difficulty in obtaining a key for the caves concerned:- G.B. Cave, Longwood and Rhino Rift. Similarly there should be no problems in obtaining a leader for a visit to Charterhouse Cave. Other small sites in the area include Timber Hole and Read’s Grotto.
No visitors may engage in any activity which is organised or undertaken (whether by him or her or another) for any commercial purpose unless written permission is obtained, in advance, from the Secretary, Charterhouse Caving Company Ltd. This applies to all the caves administered by the company.
There is no formal booking system. Cavers visiting the area as guests of a Member Club should make their own arrangements. Others are requested to give at least one month’s notice of a proposed visit to the Secretary of CCC Ltd. This will allow the necessary arrangements to be made on time.
All cavers visiting these caves require a valid permit. Permits may be issued by any one of the member clubs to their own club members and guests. Permits may also be issued by the Honorary Secretary of CCC Ltd. to cavers wishing to visit the area as guests of the Company, i.e. those who are unable to make a guest arrangement with a Member Club.
Guests may obtain a Temporary Permit which covers the duration of their visit to the area (14 days) and such permits are charged at 50p each. These charges provide revenue which helps to defray the costs of insurance and other expenses; the majority of such expenses being met by subvention from the Member Clubs.
The committee maintains a public liability insurance to indemnify both itself and SWT against claims arising out of caving activities.
CCC Ltd recommends, but does not require, for your own and your caving companions benefit that you are insured. British Caving Association (B.C.A.) member clubs are able to issue temporary public liability caving insurance to their guests for a small fee.
Applications for permits must be be made to either a Member Club or to the Honorary Secretary and be accompanied by the appropriate remittance and a returnable deposit for keys. The Secretary is currently: Graham Mullan, 38 Delvin Road, Westbury on Trym, Bristol, BS10 5EJ.
Contact the Secretary
The Company is deeply concerned that maximum regard is given to cave conservation and S.W.T. insist that activities in and around the caves do not constitute a public health hazard. All cavers are required to abide by the following regulations:-
The caves are managed under Conservation Plans that have been agreed between the Company, Somerset Wildlife Trust and Natural England. These plans were originally drawn up shortly after the Company was formed and have been subject to regular revision to keep them up to date. They have recently ( 1st June 2015) been revised for a further 10 years and the current versions can be found here for the caves under Gruffy Field (including G.B. and Charterhouse caves) and here for the caves in the Longwood Valley and Velvet Bottom (including Longwood Swallet and Rhino Rift.
On payment of a small goodwill fee, it is permissible to park cars at Charterhouse farm, the farm nearest to G.B. and Charterhouse caves. However, this must be done in such a manner as to not
obstruct to movement of farm vehicles. Appropriate parking places are shown on the map (right). Note that the parking instructions have recently changed. (Sept.2015)
Brief details of the individual cave sites and links to further information about them may be found on this page.
Updated February 2016