The Mendip Cave Registry (MCR) was originally formed in 1956 and in 1994 it was reformed following its demise in the late 1960s. It is manned by volunteer Registrars who form the membership of the group. The MCR receives no financial aid from clubs, regional or national bodies.
As an independent organisation it can operate without constraint and works upon internal policies subscribed by its members. The aim of MCR is to record all available information relating to the caves and stone mines of the three counties from whatever source, and make it available to bone-fide cavers and caving organisations including related bodies. At the moment the group is compiling a complete register of sites of speleological interest in the counties of Bristol, Somerset and Wiltshire in addition to comprehensive bibliographies of published works/articles and surveys all of which are compiled in separate databases.
In 2008, after an extensive data consolidation and migration effort, a copy of the complete Mendip Cave Registry database was first made available for general access via the MCRA website. The registry search website offers several ways to query and browse the data, including by name, by location and by using interactive maps.
Then, in 2009 the registrars' reliance on individual databases and spreadsheets was replaced by a single, centralised on-line database hosted on the MCRA web server. This offers facilities for the registrars to log in and manage the registry entries directly, and has the advantage that the results of changes are instantly available via the public web site.
» Go to the MCRA Registry Search website to interactively search and browse the entire on-line Mendip Cave Registry database.
As an additional method of making the registry data available, we have created our new Google Earth interface to provide an exciting and interactive way to visualise and explore the caves and cave hydrology of Mendip.
You will need the superb Google Earth application installed to use this service.
» To start browsing the registry in Google Earth follow this link: Mendip Cave Registry Browser KML.
[If you are prompted to save or open a file after clicking the link then choose “open” to load it into Google Earth.]
It is only necessary to download the above KML file once - answer “Yes” when prompted to save it to “My Places” when closing Google Earth and then it will be available every time Google Earth is run, automatically keeping up to date with any changes to the registry data and adding any new information that becomes available, so there's no need to keep revisiting this link!
In 2005 the Registry published a bibliography relating to caves and other sites in the counties of Bristol, Somerset and Wiltshire.
Work by registrars is ongoing. The register contains well over 2000 entries for sites including alternative names for known sites. The registrars have recorded the following information relating to caves, mines, rock shelters and other sites of speleological interest –
Site Name, Location, Classification (e.g. cave, Mine), NGR, Altitude, Length, Depth, Description, Notes and Reference.
A survey catalogue is being prepared which lists all surveys published in a number of caving club publications. Each survey will be represented by a thumb-nail reproduction and full bibliographical details.
The survey catalogue has now been cross-referenced with the cave registry, and so the details of surveys available for a cave are listed on the on-line registry search website.
During the 1960s the Mendip Cave Registry arranged with the librarian of the Central Library, Bristol to augment their caving material. Several clubs sent their publications to the registry for bibliographical recording and onward transmission to the Central Library. A catalogue of all caving material held at the library was published later.
Following the demise of the Registry some clubs still forwarded material via Ray Mansfield for details to be included in the then annual Cave Titles in Speleology (published by Manol Publications and, later, BCRA). The publication has now been superseded by Speleological Abstracts since 1993.
At the moment several clubs are contributing copies of their publications to the Central Library via the Registry.
Clubs submitting their publications for Central Library caving collection are: Axbridge Caving Group, Bristol Exploration Club, Mendip Nature Research Club, Shepton Mallet Cave Club, University of Bristol Spelaeological Society, Wealdon Cave and Mine Society, Wessex Cave Club, Westminster Speleological Group.
Registrars are always willing to accept help collecting information relating to each known site; details too are also needed for new digs and explored caves. Please contact Tony Boycott or any of the registrars.