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 Ogof Hen Ffynnonau (Poachers Cave)

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Ian
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PostSubject: Ogof Hen Ffynnonau (Poachers Cave)   Mon 19 Jan 2009, 2:57 pm

Location
SJ 191 655 Cilcain, Flintshire

Directions
From the car park at the Cilcain Bridge over the River Alyn, walk up the hill towards Pantymwyn (away from Cilcain) until you see a public footpath sign heading down a steep hill on the left. Follow this down to the River Alyn (skimming the side of a caravan park) and follow the footpath for around 300 metres where you will see an obvious entrance (hands & knees) in the rock face on the right.

Access
Un-gated / no permissions required

Suggested Equipment
Electron Ladder

Length
3000ft (estimated)

Flood risk
The cave can flood to ceiling height in very heavy rain fall although it would not be possible to access these parts of the cave in such conditions.

Cave Attributes
15ft vertical descent by the entrance, 3 levels of cave, part underground stream way, part dry, mostly walking passageways with plenty of (optional) off shooting crawls, a chamber of fossils, a rare isosceles passage, some nice decorations, a waterfall within the lower series and the “Boss Stalagmite” in the Boss chamber.

Description
Entering the cave on “hands and knees”, you will quickly find yourself on top of the 15ft vertical entrance to the first level series. Passing over this into the cave at the entrance level will take you into a passageway adorned with calcite flow. At the end of this passage are some black cave drawings – the authenticity of which are left to your judgement. Additionally, there is a small hole at the very back of this passage which takes you below the glacial floor into a small crawl.

On entering the 15ft vertical entrance to the first series, you find yourself in an adit, (the entrance to which was once by the River Alyn but is now sealed) where you will find some evidence of past mining. The adit itself becomes blind within 100ft. Heading in towards the cave, you will pass over a hole with a crawl inside leading to a very muddy chamber and also a tight crawl between a rift with an abandoned dig at the end.

Returning to the main passage, you will follow the main (now dry) stream passage for perhaps 1500ft with many crawls (some to collapsed chambers) on either side (mostly on the right). At one point you will find there are two routes leading to a continuation of the main passage.

When you meet up with the stream, as you descend to meet it, there is a crawl on the left which takes you down a “helter skelter” type passage to the lower series – down here you will find the waterfall (at the furthest point). It is interesting to note that there are difficult scrambles both up and down the passage of the waterfall. There is also a further muddy crawl here leading to another, not well travelled, part of the cave.

Passing beyond the “Helter Skelter”, you find yourself walking against the stream. Initially you are in a large chamber but the ceiling ducks and dives and at two points you will find yourself on “hands and knees” in the stream (this is the flood risk of the cave – ie. being on the wrong side in a flash flood).

Along this passageway, there is a high crawl to the left which takes you to the chamber of fossils which is believed to have been found in summer 2008. There is a very tight dry sump to pass under to access this chamber.

Heading back into and along the main passageway you will enter the main Boss chamber which hosts the spectacle of North Wales – the Big Boss Stalagmite. This is essentially a calcite flow over the boulders formed over years from a dripping chandelier of calcite which can be seen immediately above it. Also in this chamber is another cave painting, the authenticity of which is, again, left to your judgement.

Proceeding beyond the Boss chamber, the cave gives away it’s better decorations until the passageway becomes a little tighter with a fork to a passable sump and a fork to the terminal chamber which is around 50 feet beyond the car park by the bridge at Cilcain.

Unexplored Passages
1) An Aven within the early stages of the streamway has a flat crawl around 10feet up which requires proper investigation

2) Two left hand turns along the streamway where running water joins the main stream require proper investigation (one of which has a small sump)

3) Halfway between the “helter skelter” (leading to the lower series) and the waterfall, a squeeze hole has appeared on the left leading into a now dry but tight phreatic passage which is crawlable upwards but is blocked by a passage sized boulder

4) The end of the flat crawl leading to the waterwall has a passage leading back beneath itself leading to a very muddy crawl area – this requires proper investigation

5) Above the waterfall are passages that require proper investigation

6) Below the waterfall there is an apparent “U” tube that is passable in dry weather, this requires investigation

Digs
1) Fossil Alley is clearly a silted chamber with a totally choked passage beyond. Until Mid 2008, this was totally virgin.

2) Old Springs passage has been previously dug by persons unknown and remains incomplete. This appears to be somewhat dangerous and is possibly best left.

3) Almost immediately upon entering the cave after dropping down the entrance electron, there is a hole in the floor with a crawl leading to a drop to a muddy chamber. Passing over this drop (instead of going down) there is a tight passage with an abandoned dig at the end (digging equipment still in situ).

4) The boulder blocking the phreatic passage in the lower series could be broken allowing access to the passage.

5) Virtually at the end of the streamway (upper series) there is an apparent ongoing dig which can be reached by climbing over the muddy bank before the terminal chamber and slipping into another chamber

Links
icNorthWales

Wirral Caving Club

NPC Journal

Chris Cowdry

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Last edited by Ian on Wed 21 Jan 2009, 12:10 pm; edited 3 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Ogof Hen Ffynnonau (Poachers Cave)   Mon 19 Jan 2009, 3:13 pm



The Entrance To Poachers Cave




A Cave Painting? (Upper Level)




The Entrance Pitch




The Isoceles Passage

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PostSubject: Re: Ogof Hen Ffynnonau (Poachers Cave)   Mon 19 Jan 2009, 3:22 pm



One of the two areas where you are forced on your hands & knees in the water




The entrance to "Fossil Alley" from the main streamway




Some fossils in "Fossil Alley"



The Big Boss

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PostSubject: Re: Ogof Hen Ffynnonau (Poachers Cave)   Mon 19 Jan 2009, 3:32 pm



One of the passable ducks/sumps (weather dependant)




The petrified alligator




One of the sporting crawls




The tight squeeze into "Fossil Chamber"

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PostSubject: Re: Ogof Hen Ffynnonau (Poachers Cave)   Fri 13 Aug 2010, 7:21 am


















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PostSubject: Re: Ogof Hen Ffynnonau (Poachers Cave)   Fri 13 Aug 2010, 7:26 am


















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