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Stoke Lane Slocker

Stoke Lane Valley, Stoke St.Michael.

NGR:ST 6687 4744
WGS84:51.22518, -2.47581
Length:2250 m
Depth:40 m
Altitude:171 m

This major stream cave comprises a long crawl in the stream to a short, infamous sump, beyond which a series of large and finely decorated chambers can be explored. Several more sumps follow before the streamway finally terminates in a narrow rift filled with unstable boulders. The stream, which is Mendip's largest swallet stream, resurges at St. Dunstan's Well East, 20m below the altitude of the entrance and nearly 0.5 km away (8 hours). There is a second tight entrance at Stoke Quarry Cave 9 and an aural connection between nearby Stock's Hole and Tributary Passage. Unusually for Mendip it appears that the cave was always open. The first recorded descent was made in 1905, but it was not until 1947 that a group of Frome cavers led by P. M. Browne passed the then terminal choke at Corkscrew Chamber to reach Cairn Chamber and Sump 1. Later that year, D. A. Coase, F. G. Balcombe and T. H. Stanbury free-dived Sump 1 to discover Stoke Two, hailed as 'the finest cave in the West Country'. Human bones, along with ash and charcoal deposits and bones of red deer and other animals were discovered in Bone Chamber indicating the existence of an alternative entrance. Now blocked, this was possibly the site marked on OS maps as Pit (disused) and logged as Stoke Lane Depression. CDG members passed Sumps 2 and 3 in 1962 and Sump 4 in 1963. In 1965 ICDG dived Sump 5 and pushed exploration as far as Stoke Seven, and then CDG passed Sump 7 to enter Stoke Eight in the same year. The Bailey-Ward Series was discovered by AvCG in 1971 and WLCC added the West London Extension in 1973. The connection with Stoke Quarry Cave 9 was opened up by WLCC in 1993. Surprisingly, this very wet cave was probably once dry, with the stream sinking at an unknown point closer to the village. However following the construction of the nearby iron works in the early 19th century, the stream was artificially diverted to an adjacent settling pond until it was finally allowed to sink at its present location.

Alternate Names: None recorded.

Stoke Lane Slocker, Ford, D.C., Warburton, D., Davies, P., 1957
Stoke Lane Slocker, Ford, D., Warburton, D., Davies, P., 1957
Stoke Lane Slocker, Davies, P., 1959
Stoke Lane Slocker, Wells, O.C. (drawn from divers survey), 1959
Sump II - Stoke Lane Slocker., CDG, 1961

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This entry was last updated: 2014-06-06 10:48:23

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