Conservation Progress in Dan yr Ogof
Wardens who have visited the cave recently have noticed a significant conservation facelift in areas of DYO 1937 series, August Series and DYO 2. There has been an entirely positive response to the significant work done by dozens of cavers. A few of the many successes are as follows:
- Signs to encourage slow movement through fragile areas, to request non-entry into specific protected areas and general clarification of the status of the cave as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) have been located at key positions. Some wardens have become aware of and have appreciated the live worm colony in Worm Way for the first time!
- An uneven stone next to the crystal floor under the Boulder Chamber has has been removed and this has stopped a tendency for cavers to use the edge of the pool as a foothold. The crystals are remaining clean.
- Mud and crystal areas, previously untaped, have been remarked on as 'never noticed before' - an interesting consequence of identifying and protecting against unguarded footfall.
The pure white column above Corbel's Chamber has now been 100% recovered from its distressing mud hand prints. Careful taping has created a viewing area allowed better access to see the blue stalactite but protecting the crowded formations in the chamber.
- The Flabbergasm area has been re-taped, with pathways to protect the Crystal Pool and formations. Caution notices have been added. High rope loops and a rock causeway provide an admittedly athletic way for cavers to pass the pool without disturbing the water. This has had a dramatic affect. The water is now crystal clear and hundreds of calcite rafts have formed. In addition some pure white calcite granular cones are forming quickly under drip points into the pool. In theory, these could grow and break the surface in time. Please point them out to your groups. They are real evidence of the benefits of active conservation.
- The route through Grand Canyon to Cloud Chamber has benefited from pathway demarcation, with cleaning of rock areas beyond the tapes. Some of the magic of the initial discovery is now apparent in areas like Candlewax and Monk Hall. Please continue to ensure that your parties respect the tapes, including when taking photographs!
The focus for conservation is now moving to DYO 3 and a new protected path has been taped, but not yet finalized, at the Mostest. Very careful restoration cleaning is needed from Pinnacle Chamber northwards , hopefully to take place in August 2015. Volunteers would be greatly appreciated for this work and to extend the recovery and long term conservation right up to the Far North.
Dan Yr Ogof Conservation Advisory Panel is formed
There are changes to the way Dan Yr Ogof - The National Showcaves Centre for Wales intends to manage, and conserve the caves that extend beyond the showcaves.
Dan Yr Ogof’s Chairman, Ashford Price said :-
“I have been at Dan Yr Ogof for over forty years, and have always tried to ensure that cavers from all over the world enjoy their visit to one of the finest caves in Europe. The fact that the caves are so well preserved is due to the South Wales Caving Club, and also the Dan Yr Ogof Cave Advisory Committee that has administered access for cavers for the past 20 years.
However, I now want to move on from a committee style approach to caving. I have selected six cavers with various speleological skills to form the Dan Yr Ogof Conservation Advisory Panel. (DYOCAP).
- This body will also have direct access to the main DYO Board when necessary.The Panel will also have representatives from the Brecon Beacons National Park, and Natural Resources Wales.
- The Board of Dan Yr Ogof wants this Panel to have full control of both access, and all conservation issues.
- The DYO Boards aspirations for this panel will lead to long term benefits for the future of this great Welsh cave system.
- The Panels main role will be to consider the best conservation measures for Dan Yr Ogof.
- Conservation will be at the heart of all the decisions the Panel makes. There are within the caves so many amazing formations, and geological features. However, their long term future depends on the Panel getting right the delicate balance between exploration, digging etc.,and the need to conserve what we already have.
- Achieving the above aims will be no easy task, and will need all the innovative skills that the Panel can come up with. However, cave conservation only works when you have the full cooperation of the cavers that cave at Dan Yr Ogof.
- In a nutshell there are no access changes.
- Cavers in future may be asked to help with conservation measures, and will also be encouraged to come up with conservation ideas.
The long term future for Dan Yr Ogof depends on the cooperation of all cavers. If everyone works together future generations of cavers will also be able to marvel at the splendours Dan Yr Ogof offers”.
- Access arrangements for cavers to remain unchanged.
- Management activity to be focussed on conservation of the cave. Conservation will take precedence over all other considerations.
- The new panel will be hand-picked for their specialist skills and knowledge of the system.
- Panel members will have direct access to the DYO Showcave Board.
Contact: Ashford Price firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01639 730284