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One Step Beyond – cavers reach ‘reputed’ chamber at Wookey Hole

13th June 2018

Categories: Latest News

Cavers have uncovered a lost passage connecting chambers at Wookey Hole Caves for the first time - opening up an exciting new route for adventurers.

Caving enthusiasts from the Mendip Nature Research Committee have teased out a ‘reputed’ connection between Charon’s Chamber with the adjacent Troup’s Rift -– enabling people to venture even further into the limestone labyrinth deep beneath the Mendip Hills.

Daniel Medley, Director at Wookey Hole Caves said Charon’s chamber - named after the ferryman who transported the dead across the river Styx - previously ended in a choked rift with no apparent way through.

“The latest exploratory work involved moving a quantity of rocks and gravel to reveal the connection which had only ever been reputed to exist.”

The new passage has been incorporated into the Wild Wookey caving experience which is available through the summer to adventurers aged 14 plus.

Wookey Hole - Wild Wookey Boat Group

“The three-hour expedition involves crossing the river in our iconic boat – the first time it has ever actually gone somewhere! There are stoops, crawls and two abseils not to mention a zip line over the park to finish.

Daniel Medley said: “The Wild Wookey experience is one of the best in Europe and the new connection means you can now venture further into the caves than ever before - tackling previously off-limits parts of the labyrinth.

“Until now, only professional cavers have explored these areas but we have worked hard to ensure this course is suitable for fit and healthy beginners. It’s a thrilling journey and adds yet another dimension to our offering here.”

Wookey Hole Caves Caving Instructor Chris Binding said the possibility of a connection between Charon’s chamber and the Troup’s Rift had been put forward by Stanton and Barrington in their book The Caves of Mendip in 1977.

He went on: “Becca Burne and I found the link by moving some rocks and gravel. Now, for the first time ever, it is possible to travel across the River Axe in the iconic boat and follow impressive crystal-lined passages to emerge mid-way up the cliff face above the daylight resurgence of the river. Then you get to whizz down to earth on a brand new zip line!”

Wild Wookey have extended the session timetable in light of these new features, offering After Dark sessions to those brave enough to bear the cave without its show lighting:

“You will get the chance to walk in the footsteps of prehistoric men and women and experience the cave system as our ancestors once did - in its entirely natural form without the public and without the lights.”

Just 13 of the unique Wild Wookey After Dark sessions are available this summer, and early booking is advised. 

Qualified and experienced instructors will equip adventurers with all the gear including suits, helmets, harnesses, lights and gloves.

All equipment and overalls provided but pre-booking is essential. A minimum of four participants is required to run the experience. For further details see the website at www.wildwookey.co.uk

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