Access restored to Singing River Mine, Shipham, Mendip

The new gate on Singing River Mine entrance. Photo: Wayne Starsmore

Access has been restored to a popular Mendip mine.

The Council of Southern Caving Clubs (CSCC) has negotiated a new access agreement to Singing River Mine in Shipham, Somerset. The mine has not been accessible for a while, following a change of ownership as the new owners were anxious to avoid the possibility of access at antisocial hours. Discussions with CSCC’s Conservation and Access Officer, Wayne Starsmore, allayed their fears about liability and worked out a satisfactory access scheme to the mine, situated in the garden of their property.

As a result, a new gate has been fitted to the shaft, and trips can now resume. The access agreement is designed to ensure that visits are properly managed and monitored. Cavers are urged to follow the rules to ensure access continues and that the owners are not inconvenienced.

Singing River Mine Access Agreement (September 2023)

  1. Access will be controlled by the Council of Southern Caving Clubs on behalf of the landowner.
  2. The access procedure is:-
    a) Access is strictly by prior booking only
    b) Bookings can be made by emailing [email protected], giving at least 1 week’s notice
    c) The booking email must contain:
    – the name and contact details of the trip leader,
    – confirmation the trip leader has BCA Insurance,
    – the date and time of the proposed trip,
    – the party size.
    d) The C&A Officer will check the mine is available (only one trip at a time is allowed) and enter the booking on a calendar shared with the Landowner
    e) 24 hours before the trip, the C&A Officer will contact the trip leader to confirm the booking is still OK (and that the landowner has not asked for the booking to be changed\cancelled) and will confirm the padlock combination code.
    f) The entrance gate must be kept closed at all times, including while the party is in the mine.
    g) Trips can only take place between 9:00am and 9:30pm.
    h) Cars should be parked in the village centre and not on Folly Lane.
    i) Please do not change into caving kit in the garden or the adjoining lane.
    j) A trespass fee of £2 per head should be deposited in the collection tin by the entrance.
    k) Please only belay from the belay bar built into the gate. Do not use the landowner’s trees, fence posts etc.
    l) Please be quiet whilst in the garden and comply with any requests made by the landowner and their family.
  3. CSCC have replaced the lid (as the old one was unsafe and had no secure belay points) and will maintain it whilst the access agreement is in place.
  4. The operation of the access agreement will be reviewed after the first 12 months and may be subject to changes.

Thanks to Wayne Starsmore, (CSCC Conservation and Access Officer) for this information.