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Peak District Caving News November 2004

Gautries Hole Conservation Work

Report FromWayne Sheldon.
Report Date11/2004.

Work has begun on the tidying up of the shakeholes of Gautries Hole and Car Pot, as generations of rubbish has collected in these shakeholes. This has come about as a result of the English Nature's SSSI Cave Monitoring work and is being carried out by volunteer cavers who are removing all of this rubbish to return the shakehole to a more natural state.

This work is being funded by English Nature and DCA who are paying for the disposal of the rubbish using a variety of methods which mainly involves skips and a disposal company who will be collecting all of the tyres. The rubbish that is in the shakehole consists of timber, steel, plastic, tyres and other various pieces of junk.

On the 30th October 2004, ten cavers from two local Derbyshire Clubs gathered at Gautries to begin the process. It's a large job so the plan is to break the work down over three weekends. The first day was spent gathering all of the rubbish together into a couple of piles. To do this many pieces had to be dug out, especially the tyres that had sunk in the quagmire of liquid mud that lines the shakeholes.

This rubbish will be winched out of the shakehole next weekend and put into skips. The tyres will be removed from the site the following weekend.

There's a lot to do and the work is ongoing, anybody who can help out should contact Dave Webb on 01158401109.

One small part of the debris in the Gautries shakehole before work began.

Photo: Wayne Sheldon 30/10/2004

The growing piles of rubbish.

Photo: Wayne Sheldon 30/10/2004

Update, 15th November 2004

The conservation work at Gautries Hole continued on the 6th November when a group of twelve cavers gathered together to continue with the clean up.

Previous efforts had produced two huge piles of rubbish and scrap which was to be dragged by winch out of the shakehole but it looked like there was too much to clear in a day. The fence on the rim of the shakehole was removed and what was left of the drystone wall was taken down to give us a continuous slope from the bottom to the field top. Once the preparation was complete a vehicle based winch was brought in.

The group was split into two teams, one at the bottom fastening the tyres and filling the rubble bags and one at the top to load the trailer which was towed by tractor to a skip by the road. The groups rotated during the day so everybody did a bit of everything and after six hours the shakehole was clear and the wall rebuilt.

We will be returning on the 20th November to clear some more debris from the nearby Sheepwash Swallet to complete the job.

The winch truck brought in to haul the collected debris out of the Gautries shakehole.

Photo: Wayne Sheldon 06/11/2004

Winching in progress.

Photo: Wayne Sheldon 06/11/2004

The tractor and trailer used to transport the debris to the roadside skip.

Photo: Wayne Sheldon 06/11/2004

The end result, Gautries Hole and Car Pot cleared of decades of rubbish.

Photo: Wayne Sheldon 06/11/2004

Update, 20th November 2004

The conservation work as Gautries Hole was finally completed on the 20th November 2004 when five cavers gathered to finish several small jobs.

The skip wagon came early to take away the full skip, leaving us an empty one. There was some stacked ribbish left from the previous week week and there was a bit from Sheepwash Swallet, mainly buckets and timber that surrounded the entrance. Two cavers went into Sheepwash to collect debris from the entrance chamber. Several members of the party spent a little bit of time photographing the nearby mining culverts for research purposes.

The only remaining jobs are for the tyre disposal company to come and collect the tyres, and the skip to be removed from site. This will conclude the Gautries Hole Conservation Work.

Loading the last skip.

Photo: Wayne Sheldon 20/11/2004

The last of the tyres waiting for collection.

Photo: Wayne Sheldon 20/11/2004

Sheffield University Speleoligical Society

a statement from the committee.

Report FromBen Stevens (SUSS Safety and Training Officer).
Report Date11/2004.

After trying to close some sports clubs at the university Usport has admitted them back into the union but without funding. As a result they have to finance their own high risk safety advice (a condition of admition). Sheffield University Speleological Society (SUSS) would therefore have to pay a minimum of 200 for safety advice through a provider appointed by Usport despite the fact that they have already organised their own high risk advice through Nigel Atkins CIC (Derbyshire Caving Assosciation training officer). The committee believe this is too dangerous a precedent to set for all universities and sports clubs and as such they are refusing to pay for this high risk advice when it is available free of charge through the DCA. If you would like to support SUSS the vice chancellors details can be found at:

previous related report 09/2004