United Cavers Exploration Team – Feb 10th 2020

What a presentation – spellbound for 75 minutes – brilliant!!!

Tim watts ( vice chair UCET) and Ian Adams (Secretary UCET) addressed members and friends at our Monday meeting – Tim talking through the presentation and Ian providing technical backup.

As background – from the UCET web site:

U.C.E.T. was formed in 2003 by a few experienced cavers who wanted to push the boundaries a little further. We are based in North Wales where we’re lucky enough to have a wide selection of caves and mines. Easy “training grounds” through to more technical and sustained cave and mine systems. With plenty of scope for finding more and more ‘new ground’.

Caving keeps you fit and (depending how far you want to go) can involves a fair bit of walking, crawling, climbing and dangling on ropes. It also demand a high degree of team spirit, problem solving and planning to make progress into previously un-explored areas.

We continually welcome new members and pride ourselves on being a friendly and welcoming bunch! We meet on Thursday evenings for local trips and generally aim to be back to the Glan Y Afon Pub in plenty of time for a pint or two although sometimes we head to alternative pubs depending on the time and geographics of the trip! Longer trips and trips further afield take part most weekends.

The club has equipment to lend to new members and has a dedicated training officer who can run through all the relevant training as and when you want to progress. But remember, there are as many walk in walk out trips available as technical trips so there really is something for everyone!

Feel free to have browse and join our web forum. We are a very open club and welcome input from members and non-members alike.


Their presentation majored on the N E Wales geo-structures and in particular the Milwr tunnel – from construction in 1897 to closure in 1987 – information on the tunnel can be be found on the Wikepedia web site at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milwr_Tunnel.

It is impossible for me to condense their presentation on this site suffice it to say – one of the most interesting talks ever given to members – sincere thanks – more to come ?? – i think so

President Jim Reid, Tim Watts & Ian Adams

A vote of thanks was expressed by Rotarian Paul Islip


PRESS RELEASE  – courtesy of D  Pearse (Press Officer)


A packed meeting of The Flint & Holywell Rotary Club at The Springfield Hotel in Pentre Halkyn sat spell bound as local caver Tim Watts from Pantymwyn described in great detail, the vast network of caves that exists under Flintshire. Tim who is the vice chairman of The United Cavers Exploration Team (UCET) aided by Club Secretary, Ian Adams brought with him plans of the mine workings some of which go back to Roman times. Whilst the knowledge of old limestone coal and lead mining is already well known to most members, many were surprised to hear the extent of some of these workings and one of the Rotarians was particularly shocked to find that some of the very deep early workings extended directly under his own farm buildings!

Some of the photographs and video clips also showed the presence of a huge underground chamber near Holywell, whose depth has never been determined, but which extends well over 300ft below sea level, Apparently when this vast chamber was discovered in the early 19th century, many local miners were killed when they broke through into the previously unknown underground lake, which engulfed all the surrounding workings, creating one of the biggest disasters in the history off local lead mining.

Many were also surprised that lead working was still taking place until the mid 1980s and photographs showed some of the Caving Club’s recent initiatives undertaken to ensure that further unknown workings can be discovered and investigated. This includes the design and construction of a purpose built motorised unit which has been manufactured by Club Members themselves, specifically to utilise existing railway lines left in the old workings.

Rotary members had recently been invited to view the old wartime tunnels at Rhydymwyn, but were surprised to here that there were even deeper  mine workings extending almost 600 ft below the surface close by, which had been constructed to provide some of the purest limestone available for use by Pilkingtons in St Asaph for the production of glass. Further photographs were shown which demonstrated the massive chambers created by these old workings, some of which had been used in wartime to store not only strategic food supplies, but also the country’s gold reserves.

The meeting went on far longer than usual and the UCET members agreed to return to the Club at a later date to continue with their talk. In the meantime The Rotary Club Members were invited to join the cavers in a trip down one of the “easier” local caves, an invitation which interested many members.




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