Caves of South Wales Dragon

Bridge Cave

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Overview
Bridge Cave starts as a low crawl, but after a short distance having passed through a boulder choke opens out into an impressive section of streamway. This then quickly reduces in size and reaching a sump less than 300m from the entrance.
Length 311m
Altitude 300m
Grid SN 91170 13990
History
The cave was first recorded by T.A.J. Braithwaite in Caves and Caving Volume 1 1938. In 1947 the South Wales Caving Club dug through the boulder choke 45m into the cave to discover 150 of main stream passage leading to sump 1. In January 1967 members of the University of Bristol Spelaeological Society dived sump 1 to discover Little Neath River Cave.
Location
The cave is located in the Nedd Fechan valley beside a bridge near the start of the Sarn Helen road. Visit Blaen Nedd Isaf Farm first to obtain permission. A parking area is available beside Bridge Cave. A stile by the parking area just before the bridge over the Afon Nedd Fechan leads into a wooded depression where on the right a wide low arched entrance can be found at the base.
Ystradfellte Google map showing the location of Bridge Cave and other caves in the area.
Location map - click marker to show entrance photo
Access
Permission to visit the cave must be obtained from Blaen Nedd Isaf farm, where a 1 pound per person trespass fee will be charged.
Description
The entrance passage to Bridge Cave starts as a low dry stoop and crawl in a small phreatic passage often with cobbles on the floor until the boulder choke is reached. In this first section of cave there are a couple of oxbow passages giving an option of routes, but all rejoin the main route. The boulder choke is entered between large boulders on the left and as the stream is reached the boulders become smaller. There has been movement in this choke previously on the side where the stream is reached and although work has been carried out to stabilise this choke, care should be taken when going through to meet the streamway at the other side. This meandering streamway leads after 20m to the large and impressive Main Passage. On the right is West Passage which leads to a choke and an inlet from one of the high water flow sinks in the bed of the Nedd Fechan. The large river flows across the whole width of the Main Passage and heads down towards The Rock Bridge, a climb up on the right hand wall just before The Bridge gives access to it. Leading from the ledge beside The Bridge is a low passage that can be followed for about 20m before it becomes too small to progress. Below in the Main Passage the roof height becomes lower until it reaches the 18m long sump that links through to Little Neath River Cave. This sump is not freediveable. In the main passage before The Bridge is reached, a high level inlet passage on the right can be followed for about 30m before a duck and a series of sumps are encountered.
Tackle
No tackle is required.
References
Cambrian Cave Registry for Bridge Cave
UBSS Second Report on the Little Neath River Cave - includes Bridge Cave information and survey
Caves of South Wales | Tim Stratford | ISBN: 1-871890-03-9 | Published by Cordee
Selected Caves of Britain and Ireland | Des Marshall - Donald Rust | ISBN: 1-871890-43-8 | Cordee
The Caves the Little Neath Valley | Tony Oldham
Warnings
In wet weather a large portion of the Nedd Fechan flows through the cave, the water is deep and fast flowing.
The boulder choke should be treated with care as you pass through it.
Disclaimer
The photographs and information of this page has been provided to help cavers planning trips. Caving can be a dangerous activity, if you are interested in exploring caves please join a caving club so you can enjoy a safe introduction to this sport. Local caving clubs are listed on the links page or you can visit try caving for more options.
If you feel that any of the information is incorrect or should be updated please contact us.