Huge underground cave found in Somerset village

PUBLISHED: 14:10 10 September 2012 | UPDATED: 12:29 11 September 2012

A shot from within the cave

A shot from within the cave

Archant

A GIANT underground cavern has been discovered in Somerset.

Some of the calcite formations found in the caveSome of the calcite formations found in the cave

The chamber, nicknamed The Frozen Deep by the six-strong team which discovered it in Cheddar Gorge, is thought to be the largest find in the South West for more than 60 years.

The cave, located about 150 metres east of the gorge’s peak, is estimated to measure about 60 metres in diameter and 30 metres high.

It contains some of the most stunning calcite formations ever found under the Mendips, including two five-metres tall pure white columns of calcite.

The discovery was made by a group of experienced cavers known as the Tuesday Diggers, a group of local experienced cavers which includes a retired teacher and two retired GPs.

The cavers Martin Grass, Alison Moody, Dr.Pete Glanvill, Dr. Tony Boycott, Nigel Cox and Nick Chipchase made the find after digging for four years.

The diggers were given exclusive access by Longleat Enterprises, which owns Cheddar Gorge, for the past four years to dig a reservoir hole.

Removing a large slab enabled them to crawl a further 15 metres into another chamber, 25m high and 20m long, which they named the resurrection chamber.

This led them to a loose boulder slope, which ended in a 12m vertical pitch.

Returning on September 4 they descended into the largest chamber yet discovered under the Mendip Hills.

Cheddar Gorge & Caves Director, Hugh Cornwell, said: “This is a truly significant discovery by the diggers and the discovery opens up a fascinating new chapter in the history of Mendip cave exploration.

“The question already emerging is whether the diggers can now find a connection from The Frozen Deep to continue the exploration.

“For the moment, however, cavers across Mendip will celebrate the courage, endurance and spectacular achievements of the diggers.

“They will now consolidate their find by taping out walkways to protect the calcite formations from damage and carry out laser surveys of all the chambers, before allowing a limited number of cavers under their supervision to visit The Frozen Deep.”

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