Barry Burn, Huw Durban and Nick de Gare-Pitt
By Barry Burn
Photos by Barry Burn
Wondering what to do, we decided to have a nice easy trip to Bridge Cave in the Nedd Fechan valley. This cave is a nice easy trip, frequented by outdoor pursuits groups and consists of a short section of passages before reaching a short choke and then dropping into a stream passage that opens up into a large impressive passage where following the stream past another inlet, under the bridge that gives the cave its name and will then to the end of the cave and the sump that was the original way into Little Neath River Cave. Despite apocryphal stories of scouts freediving this sump, the way on from here is only for the experienced cave divers.
We passed the entrance series quickly and entered the main passage and then had a look around and continued on to the end of the cave. I then got out the camera and we set up and shot a few pictures on the way back upstream.
Vyvyan and Bevita
Two of Tom’s work colleagues had expressed an interest in seeing what this caving lark is all about and so we agreed to take them to Bridge Cave for an evening trip.
Bridge Cave is relatively short but has a large and impressive stream passage as well as some formations. It is part of the larger Little Neath River Cave system that was originally discovered by divers when they passed the sump at the end of the cave.
We all met up at the car park near Blan Nedd Isaf farm and paid our parking fee before changing and heading off to the cave. Another nice feature of this cave is the very short walk, a hop over the style and it’s just around the corner.
The cave starts out a ‘bit crawly’ and leads to the small boulder choke where it isn’t a good idea to stop and ponder how long the bit of wood has been there holding it up before dropping down and through a narrow bit into the stream where you then shortly pop out into the large stream passage.
None of this fazed Vyvyan or Bevita and they were soon admiring what Bridge Cave has to offer. I’m not sure what they expected, maybe a lot of crawling and mud but were very pleasantly surprised at just how nice this caving thing could be.
We spent a good while exploring the stream passage, heading down the side passage where Tom explained where the water comes from and then down to the end and under the bridge, the span of rock that has been left from the cave formation and which gives the cave its name. The sump was visited and the formations admired while Tom crawled off to have a closer look at the sump whilst Huw and I explained where the sump leads and how caves and formations are formed.
After Tom rejoined us we climbed up by the bridge to view the grotto that can be found there before heading back upstream and out of the cave.
Vyvyan and Brevita definitely enjoyed the trip and I hope that they will join us again sometime soon.
Vickey Blumel, Barry Burn, Huw Durban, Helen John, Tom Williams and Andrew Zerbino
Photos – Barry Burn and Huw Durban
On Sunday 17th January 2016, Ground covered in snow and the Thermometer reading 1 degree – We decided to take a little trip into Bridge Cave, Ystradfellte.
As expected it was cold… very cold and we were thoroughly looking forward to getting changed in temperature that would make penguins jealous.
Bridge Cave starts as a low but short crawl until you reach a small boulder choke which opens up into the impressive streamway beyond. With two relatively tight squeezes before and after the choke – It is ideal for first timers and children.
Pwll y Rhyd
Huw with his new camera
Huw ready for a dip
Hels near Pwll y Rhyd
Shoring in the choke
Although a small cave – it has impressive formations, a waterfall and some climbs that are easily accessible even for myself (I am short) We thoroughly enjoyed the belly crawl to the sump in possibly the coldest water I have experienced!
Helen led us up the rocky walls above the waterfall, across a shelf which overlooks the streamway and onto a pretty little grotto. The grotto entrance is just wide enough to fit your helmet through and snake your way in. Inside it is beautifully decorated from waterbed to roof – definitely a must see if you’re visiting.
Huw’s photos :-
Zen near entrance
Vicky & Hels
The Main Passage
Barry taking photos
Our exit from the cave wasn’t as simple as the entry – Tom was adamant that we had taken a wrong route up the choke and that we were going the wrong way. A woman is always right and once again my sense of direction kicked in to prove we were actually right on track.
Huw and Barry captured some amazing photographs of our little trip – Zeb was happy to pose for them.
The day was rounded off with a small snowball fight, a brush with death thanks to black ice and a Pint (Hot coffee for us drivers).
Note to self for next visit – Invest in some wetsocks!