Cave systems often take thousands of years or more to develop and evolve, with the resulting underground passages, caves, and rock formations a unique part of the natural world. Take part in caving, and you’ll be experiencing exploration at its best.
Caving is however a sport that comes with health and safety risks, so it is rare that anyone outside the caving community will gain access to this environment. Anyone interested in caving, either as a sport or leisure activity can join a reputable caving club. Clubs are open to beginners, with caving trips and events organised to suit different ability levels. Joining a club, or society at university will ensure you are learning with experienced guides/leaders.
If you’re thinking of going caving in South Wales, then you will find a number of cave systems, most of which need little introduction to the caving community. The reputation of these caves precedes them, with one cave in particular proving popular on caving websites.
The Llethryd Tooth Cave in Gower, South Wales, is the longest cave along the peninsula at 1550m long, and provides varied terrain to explore. Located near a clearing at the base of a small cliff, you’ll find Llethryd Tooth Cave if you walk down Green Valley by the Llethryd Bridge.
This cave was one of many in use during the Bronze Age, when local people would shelter in the cave, or bury the dead there. The discovery of funeral urns, pottery, and human remains are evidence of this activity. The cave and access to it, is now under control of the South Wales Caving Club, who first explore it, way back in 1961.
Cavers are advised to visit the cave only in settled weather, as the passages and chambers are vulnerable to rapid flooding when it rains. Keys are available from the South Wales Caving Club, which has its headquarters and some accommodation available to club members and other cavers. You can find the building in the Upper Swansea Valley.
The cave itself has chambers and passages with intriguing names, such as Christmas Cake Chamber and Bone Chamber, along with a rock formation called Elephant Legs. During your time in the cave you could be walking over mud floors, climbing up boulders, crawling down passages, or going along a sump, which is a passage in a cave that’s submerged underwater. The length of this cave and the varied environments within it, is what makes Llenthryd Tooth Cave so special.
To find out more about the fascinating caving experiences in this area, contact the South Wales Caving Club, or a reputable caving/adventure break operator.