We at DB Towers were rather surprised that one of our number, on hearing of the new and very impressive Derbyshire Cave Registry and Access Guide said that he “thought there was something similar for Mendip.” Indeed there is and the Mendip Cave Registry and Archive is a wonderful resource that has been online for quite a few years now. The MCRA is a charity whose aims are:
- The maintenance of a registry of all caves on Mendip and in the surrounding regions.
- The compilation of additional information on these caves including but not limited to photographs, surveys and bibliographies.
- Making the information collected and compiled by the MCRA available to interested parties and to the general public.
In addition to maintaining the online registry, it is also involved in maintaining a vast archive of other material and also commissions and publishes books. The latter include the latest edition of Mendip Underground, the comprehensive caving guide to Mendip and, more recently, Peter Burr’s Mines and Minerals of the Mendip Hills. All this activity is carried out by a small group of dedicated Mendip cavers.
The second oldest online registry is the Cambrian Cave Registry. This, also, has been online for some time now and, owing to much hard work by Registrar Martin Laverty, has grown into an equally useful and comprehensive resource. Unlike the MCRA, which is privately owned and run, but like the new DCA site, the Cambrian Registry is managed by the local council, the Cambrian Caving Council.
Taken together, these sites show us that much of the UK must have among the best documented caves in the world. We believe that some other areas of the country are also working on putting their information online, some are also using Matt Voysey’s excellent software package, originally written for the MCRA and now in use by DCA as well.
Correspondent: Graham Mullan
Editor’s note: As a Northern caver I’m lucky enough to have more caves within an hour or two than I could ever visit, hence my ignorance re the MCRA. (TB)