Caving club history

Archaeologists were the first people to examine our local caves in a methodical manner, in the early 1800s. But it wasn't until the 1930s that some of those interested in bones, also began to look at caves from a different perspective. Amongst them was Peter Wild
who moved into the area in 1936. He was a member of both the Rucksack Club and Dyserth and District Field Club, and may have been one of the first people to actively seek out sporting caves in North Wales. At that time however, there were no clubs specific to caving in North Wales.

During the 1950s a number of small caving groups were formed who started to examine both caves and mines. Amongst these were
Denbighshire Speleological Group, Wrexham & East Denbighshire Speleological Group (who discovered ODB in 1964), Wrexham Caving Club , East Denbighshire Caving Club and the Shrewsbury Caving Club .

The 1960s saw a burst of caving activity largely due to the first major cave discovery in 1964 of Ogof Dydd Byraf at Gwynfryn, Minera. During this period new clubs were formed, such as the Cundy Potholing Group (CPG) and North Wales Mines Exploration Group (NEWMEG) , both from Merseyside. A 'cundy' is Yorkshire (and Scottish) dialect for a drain (pers. comm with founder member Terry Stringer in 2015). The CPG no longer exists, but had a mere 5 members or so, who later joined Liverpool University Caving Club . Several clubs from beyond the borders also began taking an interest in the area. The Sh ropshire Mining Club (now Shropshire Caving & Mining Club ) and the Shepton Mallet Caving Club both did work in the 1960s, particularly in the Denbigh and Cefn areas and several reports were published detailing their work.

Also concentrating on caves and mines, Robin Griffiths established Gwynedd Caving & Pothole Club in 1993. It ran for about 7 years but no longer exists.

Another small, but keen, group which spent much of its time caving or digging in north-east Wales was the Wirral Caving Club (WCC). It was based on Merseyside from around 1986 until 2018 when its remaining members wound it down and joined UCET.
Currently active clubs

north Wales clubs welcome new faces. If interested in having a go, they are more than happy to take new people along whenever they have suitably-easy underground trip. Try one of the contacts below......

At the end of 1972 several local groups and individuals amalgamated to form North Wales Caving Club. . NWCC dominated caving in North Wales for a number of years after their discovery in 1973 of Ogof Hesp Alyn. This rekindled enthusiasm in excavation projects throughout the area. The club currently control access to north Wales' largest cave Ogof Pool Parc near Minera. See Homepage for contact information.

In 1982 a large section of NWCC split off to form Grosvenor Caving Club (GCC) . Initially the brain-child of Tony Murray, Jerry Dobby and the late Mike Gannon, the club was established to promote a minimum of red tape and an open approach to caving. This has served them well and the club has steadily grown in numbers. In 1995, GCC negotiated an access agreement for Halkyn Mines resulting in the exploration of 26 miles of workings. GCC spend much of their time on engineering projects in mines and have reopened many in the area.
Secretary: Nick Carter. Phone: 01352-712657.

In 1985 the Great Orme Exploration Society (GOES) was created. They have an interesting website, and although they chiefly explore mines, one or two members also have an interest in caves of their area.

United Cavers Exploration Team (UCET) was formed in 2003. They have a busy website, an on-line forum and are active throughout North Wales.

A little further afield is Aberystwyth Caving Club :

The most recent group formed in 2014 under the name of the DDDWHCC (Deep Dark Dirty Wet Holes Caving Club). It appears they are a small group mainly active in the Minera area.
Their secretary is Ali (email: and their website is:


Local village pubs

If in the area, call in to one of our great locals......

The Sun Inn, Eryrys :

The Royal Oak, Hendre:
Does not currently appear to have a website

The Raven Inn,
Llanarmon-yn-ial :

The Rose & Crown Inn,
Graianrhyd :

The Miners Arms, Maeshafn: Does not currently appear to have a website

All offer a warm welcome and top-notch guest ales
Check out those with a website for their food menus