Charterhouse Caving Company Ltd

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


  1. Q: Why a company?
    A: When ownership of the land over G.B. and Charterhouse caves changed, cavers had an opportunity to take a long lease on it, so guaranteeing access to the caves. Legally that meant we needed either a company or trustees. A company was thought to be most appropriate for a consortium of caving clubs.

  2. Q: Why do I require a permit?
    A: The access agreements with Somerset Wildlife Trust (SWT) stipulates that cavers who wish to go into the caves must have a permit to do so.

  3. Q: Are there any regulations connected to a permit being issued?
    A: Permits are issued to cavers who have read, understood and have agreed to abide by the regulations required by our access agreements with Somerset Wildlife Trust (SWT).

  4. Q: Why do permits for 12-17 year olds (inclusive) require a second signature from a parent or guardian?
    A: The permit is a form of contract between the caver, the company and SWT. Contracts signed by those under 18 years of age are not binding under UK Law.

  5. Q: Why do I need to give my BCA number when downloading a permit?
    A: This confirms that you are covered by the BCA's indemnity insurance.

  6. Q: What if I am not a BCA member?
    A: It is still possible to obtain a permit, but you must either have a minimum of two years caving experience or be accompanied by a BCA member when visiting a cave. See FAQ 70 on this page and page two of this letter from the insurance brokers for the full explanataion.

  7. Q: Where do I obtain permits and keys?
    A: Our member clubs can supply keys. A list of the clubs can be seen here. Permits may be obtained online from here.

  8. Q: Do I need to pre-book a key?
    A: Pre-booking a key is not necessary as the caving clubs who have headquarters / cottages on Mendip are generally open at weekends and will supply a key (if there is one available.) It might be prudent to contact a club secretary before your intended days caving to ensure a key is available and there is someone who can hand it to you. They will probably charge a deposit for the loan of a key.

  9. Q: I’ve made a mistake in filling out my permit, how do I correct it?
    A: Ignore the incorrect one and simply start again.

  10. Q: I already have a paper permit. Is it still valid?
    A: All paper permits issued before the electronic scheme came into use remain valid until their expiry date. No more will be issued after the electronic scheme has started.

  11. Q: Permits include personal information. Is this information secure?
    A: CCC Ltd handles all information under its data protection policy, which can be found here.

  12. Q: Why are ‘commercial trips’ not permitted?
    A: They would be in breach of our legal agreements with Somerset Wildlife Trust (SWT) which owns the freehold on the land.

  13. Q: Can we take a larger party if we have two keys?
    A: No. Party size is limited for conservation reasons, this is just an attempt to bend the rules.

  14. Q: Why are clean oversuits required in Charterhouse Area Caves?
    A: The caves, especially Charterhouse Cave, are both well-decorated and restricted in size, in places. This rule is intended to protect the formations from muddying. In Charterhouse Cave, people on long trips beyond Portal Pool are also expected to wash-off on their return.

  15. Q: How difficult is Charterhouse Cave?
    A: The cave is long, arduous and in places quite tight. Both Portal Pool and Diesel Duck are frequently closed. No visitor should expect to reach the bottom on their first trip.

  16. Q: Can I use a drone in CCC Ltd administered caves?
    A: No. The use of a drone within the SSSI is understood to be caught by the requirement of Operations requiring Natural England's consent No. 26 which states that "Use of vehicles likely to damage or disturb features of interest." It would therefore be a criminal offence under the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act to use a drone within a SSSI without such consent. Please note that cavers wishing to fly a drone must consult the company as a sufficiently strong case would need to be made in any application by the landowner to Natural England for a Consent for such activity. Please note that a desire to simply obtain photographs is unlike to be sufficient to convince anyone that the potential benefits from any drone flights outweigh any risks to the cave and its contents..

Updated August 2023

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