Charterhouse goes Paperless.

Formations in GB Cave Charterhouse-on-Mendip. Photo © Linda Wilson

The Charterhouse Caving Co. Ltd. has gone paperless, exchanging the old paper permits for new electronic ones. And they’re free.

Since the Dawn of Time (the early 1950s), access to caves in the Charterhouse area of Mendip, including GB Cave and Longwood Swallet, has been managed by cavers for cavers on behalf of successive landowners. This long and occasionally tedious work is carried out by the Charterhouse Caving Company Ltd (CCC Ltd) for Somerset Wildlife Trust (SWT).

It is a condition of access that each visitor to the land/caves must hold a permit acknowledging that they’ve read and agree to comply with the regulations. These permits are currently issued as slips of paper, familiar to most cavers who visit Mendip.

However, to save trees, bureaucratic hassle, and cavers’ pocket money, CCC Ltd is introducing a paperless system! The new system will be up and running from the 1st September and then cavers will be able to obtain their permits online ✨for free directly from this page on the CCC Ltd website. This system has the further advantage of enabling us to keep access information up to date. This was a lesson learnt from the evolving situation surrounding the problem of ash dieback, especially as that affects Longwood Valley.

Permits will be downloadable to be printed out (or saved to your phone) and must be shown by all party members when you collect your key. Permits will be valid for up to 12 months for both visitors and CCC club members – they run to the end of the calendar year. Paper permits are no longer available from caving clubs, though those that are valid when the system goes live will remain usable until the end of 2023, unless they expire earlier.

It speeds up the process if you download your permit well in advance of your trip. Don’t forget that you will need your BCA number in order to do this.

So don’t forget yours when you want to borrow a key!

This information has been published on behalf of the Charterhouse Caving Company Ltd.

Grateful thanks to Dave Cooke for writing the software.