Conditions of Issue
Permit holders are deemed to have read and understood the following:-
Permits are necessary for the use of the Charterhouse Caving Areas on which caves including Longwood Swallet, Rhino Rift, Charterhouse, G.B. Cave, etc. are situated. A Permit subject to the conditions and regulations stated below must be issued to any person to use firstly, the caves including Longwood Swallet and Rhino Rift as defined in the Licence granted by the Somerset Wildlife Trust to the Charterhouse Caving Company Ltd. and secondly, the caves including Charterhouse Cave and G.B. Cave as defined in the Lease granted by the Somerset Wildlife Trust to the Charterhouse Caving Company Ltd.
The holder of the permit undertakes that:-
- In using the Charterhouse Caving Areas for caving or archaeological purposes under the permit from Charterhouse Caving Company Ltd. they do so at their own risk.
- The Somerset Wildlife Trust and the Charterhouse Caving Company Ltd. shall not be under any liability for any damage the holder may suffer crossing land to, in the caves or archaeological sites.
- The holder acknowledges that any permission to use the Charterhouse Caving Areas may be revoked at any time without prior notice and that the permit issued will be surrendered on demand. The permit is not transferable and is liable to cancellation at any time without prior notice.
- This permit shall be produced to any Servant or other authorised agent of the Somerset Wildlife Trust or the Charterhouse Caving Company Ltd. or their tenants on demand. No person is permitted in the caving areas who is unable to produce a permit unless on a public highway.
- This permit is granted by the Company on the understanding that its issue shall be subject to the Regulations of the Company in respect of the caving areas. A copy of these regulations is in the possession of all member clubs of the Company.
- No material, geological or biological sample, is to be removed from the cave without express written permission of the Company.
- No-one under the age of 12 years is permitted in the caves. For particular conditions relating to 12 to 17 year olds (inclusive), see this page.
- Novices must not be introduced to caving in the Charterhouse area caves. By way of guidance, the Company considers that cavers who have done less than 4 previous trips are likely to be still novices, as are all cavers who feel the need for professional leadership.
- Caves should be kept locked at all times.
- The party size in any cave is restricted to 6, except in Charterhouse Cave where it is 3 plus a leader. Please note that carrying more than one key does NOT allow a group larger than six to claim to be more than one party. Rules should be obeyed in the spirit as well as the letter.
- No digging is allowed nor are fixed aids to be placed without the express permission of the Company.
- No carbide lamps are to be used.
- These caves are on Nature Reserves, respect the regulations governing these, as shown on the signs at the gates, both above and below ground.
Additional conditions for access to Longwood Valley for Cavers following the closure of the permissive path
- Helmets must be worn at all times whilst in the reserve.
- Cavers must not enter the reserve when winds are expected to be gusting at approximately 35mph and over. Cavers should check a reliable weather source for the area when planning a visit if high winds seem likely. The Met Office forecast for Cheddar can be found here.
- Access to the reserve will ONLY be from the north end and NOT from Black Rock/Velvet Bottom.
- To enable SWT to assess any risks from continued caver access, clubs will be asked to keep a note of the number of visiting cavers to the reserve eg number in party and date visited. This information will be collated by CCC Ltd and passed to SWT.
- Visiting cavers are expected to play an active role in conserving and managing the sites, as they do now, by immediately reporting any of the following safety and conservation concerns to the CCC Ltd secretary.
a) Inside the cave
- Unusual hazards eg very high CO2
- Issues with locks/gates/blockhouses
- Issues with any fixed aids/bolts
b) Outside the cave
- Obvious tree safety issues
- Blocked sinks/grilles eg a tree trunk or large chunks of wood in Top Sink and any build-up of leaves and sticks over the grille at Longwood Valley Sink.
- Broken stal or other damage to formations
- Broken or out of place tape
- Cleaning needed
- Damage to sediment banks or other features of SSSI interest
If members of the public ask why cavers are still using the permissive path, please explain that access to the reserve for cavers is governed by a specific licence agreement entered into with SWT and that cavers are playing an important role in conserving and monitoring these SSSIs.
The permit holder is assumed to have read and understood these conditions and regulations in full.
Conditions updated 02/06/2023 19:00