Caves of South Wales Dragon

Cribarth Sink

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Cribarth Sink (Ogof Sinc Y Cribarth) is a significant section of cave on Cribarth Mountain. The cave is formed in beds of limestone containing vast quantities of chert which combined with large amounts of mud in the low crawls make this a quite distinctive cave.
Length 210m
Altitude 367m
Grid SN 83170 14668
The sink in a shakehole had been dug in the 70s by Steve West and Bob Radcliffe, but was abandoned when the shaft collapsed after a couple of metres. In 1998 Tony Donovan, Bernie Woodley and Martin Groves took up the project, constructing a scaffold shaft against the rock face exposed at the bottom of the shakehole. After nine trips Tony, Bernie and Clive Jones broke through into the Main Chamber. Further digs within the cave revealed over 210 metres of passage. The majority of the cave was surveyed by Jules Carter, Chris Rayner and Martin Groves with the exclusion of some inlet passages in the lower series off the rift passage.
The cave is located in a shakehole containing a small hawthorn bush in a shallow valley on the northern flank of the Cribarth mountain.
Eastern Black Mountain Google map showing the location of Cribarth Sink Cave and other caves in the area.
Location map - click marker to show entrance photo
No known access restrictions.
The scaffolded entrance shaft drops down about 10 metres against the rock face in the bottom of the shakehole. This opens out onto a boulder slope in the Main Chamber. A passage on the opposite side of the chamber closes down after a few metres, the way on being to drop down a hole in the centre of the chamber. This leads to a descending passage that becomes too tight ahead. The way on is to follow a flat out crawl to the left at the lowest point of the passage. This crawl proceeds for a few metres before reaching a liquid mud duck, just after the small flow of water disappears down a too tight passage on the right. An unpleasant 3 metres through the mud duck brings you into a larger but still low stream passage. To the left takes you upstream to a choke below the Main Chamber. Following the passage downstream takes you past a choked cross passage and leads to the large rift passage. To the right are some taped off formations, while climbing up the chert ledges leads to a squeeze through boulders. From this point a choice of routes can be taken. A climb up to the top of the rift leads to a high level traverse to the meet a choke at the end of the rift passage. Dropping down to the bottom of the rift passage leads to a low crawl off that reaches a T junction after about 10 metres. Lots of routes lead off from this passage, many not shown on the survey. In the floor of the passage two pots can be descended, both being blind, choked with chert and too narrow for progress. Leading off from this passage are a series of low sandy floored crawls, all appearing to be inlets to this passage with the exception of one on the left as you enter the passage. This descends until it is too low, but interestingly must terminate somewhere under the large rift passage.
No tackle is required.
Cambrian Cave Registry for Cribarth Sink
The scaffolded entrance shaft should be treated with care.
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 the 'New To Caving' website for more options.
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