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Balch Erratic Passage - 1  Balch Erratic Passage - 2  Spectacles Hole  Balch Main Chamber  Balch Pool Passage  Un-named Hole - 2  Conning Tower Cave  Plummer's Hole  Hobgoblin Hole  Christmas Hole  W/L Cave  Un-named Hole - 1  Balch Aven Chamber  Garlick's Rift  Elf Crack  Balch Coral Grotto  Un-named Hole - 3  Shatter Cave  Bunny Hole  Duck's Pot  Gnome Rift  Fairy Cave Quarry  Pixie Grotto  Clay Pit  Fernhill Cave  New Year Hole  Rumble Tumble Hole  Great Shaft  Rose's Rift  Weekend Rift  Culdesac Pot  Un-named Hole - 4  Short Life Pot  Un-named Hole - 6  Hillier's Cave  Fairy Cave  Snare Hole  Buddleia Hole  Blow Hole  Withyhill Cave  Price's Purgatory  Hillwithy Cave  Tucking Fight Rift  Withyhill Flood Rising  Quarter Way Up Hole  Half Way Up Hole  St. Dunstan's Well Cave  St. Dunstan's Well West  St. Dunstan's Well East  Hyatt's Hill Cave  St. Dunstan's Well North  Stoke House Garden Tunnel  Parfitt's Cave  Frog Lane Dig  Withybrook Slocker 

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Balch Cave

Fairy Cave Quarry, Stoke St.Michael.

NGR:ST 6575 4760
WGS84:51.22656, -2.49186
Length:641 m
Depth:44 m
Altitude:192 m

Once one of Britain's most beautifully decorated caves. Unfortunately it was severely damaged during quarrying operations in the 1960s, when a significant portion of the cave was completely destroyed. However, much of the system remains intact, which today is split into four distinct sections. The largest surviving remnant can be entered either via Pool Passage, or the two Erratic entrances, to achieve a short but entertaining round trip. There is also a third, very low entrance into this section of the cave, Hobgoblin Hole, which is often blocked. Part of the original streamway can be accessed through Conning Tower Cave (Fairy Cave 10), a hole in the floor of the quarry located immediately in front of W/L Cave. Two further sections of the cave, Coral Grotto and Aven Series are accessible from the top of the steep bank immediately above W/L Cave. Aven Series contains the best surviving formations and a large chamber.

Alternate Names: Balch's Hole, Fairy Cave 6, Guy Fawkes Cave

Notes: The cave was discovered during quarrying operations in 1961 and explored by CSS members, who named it in honour of H. E. Balch. The central portion of the cave was destroyed by quarrying in 1966. CSS reopened Conning Tower Cave in 1967 and Aven Chamber Series in 1970. The original entrance series and much of Balch Cave Great Chamber were destroyed by quarrying as operations came to a close in the late 1970s. The round trip linking Pool Passage (Gour End) with Erratic Passage via JW Passage was engineered by ATLAS in 2006. The cave is an important hibernacula for Greater Horseshoe bats.

Hydrographic Feeds: Withybrook Slocker (CSS 1975 - 2 hours)

Hydrographic Resurgences: St.Dunstan's Well West (CSS 1975 - 1.5 hours)

Rough Plan of Balch's Cave, Rollason, Jill, 1961
Balch's Cave, Fairy Cave Quarry, Anon, 1961
Balch Cave, Surrall, A., et al, 1962

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This entry was last updated: 2014-06-01 11:09:21

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