Caves of South Wales Dragon

Llanelly Quarry Pot

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Llanelly Quarry Pot has a notoriously tight and arduous entrance rift which first leads to a small streamway that then enters a chamber at the top of a pitch. At the bottom of the pitch a scaffolded climb down through boulders leads to a tube that can be followed to enter the middle of a 1200m long streamway.
Length 1705m
Altitude 270m
Grid SO 22468 12408
Llanelly Quarry Pot was first discovered by the BNSSS in 1963. After two years of digging in 1988 the Llanelli Diggers forged a route through the chamber below the main pitch to enter the main streamway.
Llanelly Quarry Pot is located in a disused quarry by an old viaduct on the south side of the Clydach Gorge. The cave entrance is at the base of the quarry face and is often buried by rocks that peel off the quarry face following weathering by the winter frosts.
Clydach Gorge Google map showing the location of Llanelly Quarry Pot and other caves in the area.
Location map - click marker to show entrance photo
No known access restrictions.
The entrance is below the quarry face and may need to be dug out and cleared of loose rock to make a safe entry to the cave. The entrance leads to a small chamber formed by timbers across the roof of a scaffold cage to protect the tight entry beyond to the entrance rift. A 'P hanger' allows for the rigging of a handline, quite useful on the return as there are few foot or hand holds in the tight rift beyond. Exit from the top of the rift is very difficult due to the lack of any footholds at the top to push your way out against, a handline rigged from the scaffold will help tired cavers pull themselves out. Take care on the way down the rift as any loose rock (and there is plenty of it) will fall down on anyone below. At the bottom of the rift a pleasant section of passage carrying a small stream is followed as it meanders to a chamber with a very steep boulder descent to the top of the Main Pitch. 'P hangers' allow the descent of the boulders to be protected, while large ledges below the boulder descent allow the 25m pitch to be rigged easily from the 'P hangers' in place. The pitch, that can be wet at times, drops into the large boulder floored rift below. A descent down the rift finds a scaffolded shaft at the lowest point which leads down via a flat out crawl into a rift passage that ends as a phreatic tube with the sound of the streamway enticing you through. This small tube pops out in the middle of the 1200m long streamway, it is worth making a mental note of the location of this passage as it can be easy to walk past on the return.
Upstream from the entry point the narrow passage with fine rock shelves can be followed for about 100m at stream level with the occasional need to traverse above until an inlet can be seen on the right. The passage continues past the inlet for another 100m until a 2m waterfall is met, which can be passed by climbing up before you reach it. Beyond The waterfall the stream meanders pleasantly for a further 100m reaching a low wet passage named The Adit by the Llanelli Diggers. Beyond this is the Midsummer Night's Dream streamway which is more lofty. Some distance later and in an alcove on the left a formation known as the Totem Pole is reached.
Above this section of streamway is the Totem Aven Series, where a 17m freeclimb leads up to the bottom of a 5m pitch, above which are two sections of horizontal passages on two levels separated by two 6m pitches.
A few metres beyond the Totem Pole, Ryan's Duck is encountered which requires crawling in water for 30m to enter the Fault Series. Here the obvious route through boulders leads to a chamber floored with boulders in the lower part and thick mud near the top. at a point above where the stream emerges in this chamber is a flat out muddy crawl which passes through a muddy duck to reach a final muddy chamber with a muddy ascent to reach a static sump with deep clear blue water.
Heading downstream from the point the streamway is entered starts as a pleasant meander through finely scalloped passage. As progress is made a waterfall is passed and the passage becomes more rift like and tighter. Hammer passage marks a change in the nature of the cave with a climb down to the stream leading to low wet crawls, the 5m Guillotine Climb and then degenerates into the tight Midsummer Night's Nightmare Streamway. This eventually ends at a tight impenetrable sump which is close to the sump at the end of Shakespeare's Cave.
Entrance Rift 10m handline is useful - P hanger is in place.
Pitch 1 25m - Descent to the pitch head and pitch are P hangered (4 in total).
Totem Aven Series 17m free climbable pitch followed by a 5m pitch up and two 6m pitches up.
An SRT Topo rigging guide is available from the references below.
Cambrian Cave Registry for Llanelly Quarry Pot
Adrian Fawcett's South Wales SRT Topo Guide Including Lanelly Quarry Pot (PDF)
Adrian Fawcett's South Wales SRT Guide Home Page (MS Word)
Descent 85 Article p20-23 on Llanelly Quarry Pot Breakthrough | P. Checketts - A. Dickenson - M. Green
Descent 87 Article p18-19 on Totem Aven Extensions | Ashley Dickenson
Caves of South Wales | Tim Stratford | ISBN: 1-871890-03-9 | Published by Cordee
The Caves of Clydach | Tony Oldham |
The entrance is located in a disused quarry face, there is danger of falling rocks and there are occasions when the entrance is buried under fallen rock.
The entrance rift is very tight with few foot and hand holds, so not passable to cavers above average size.
Loose rock disturbed in the entrance will fall down the rift onto the cavers below.
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.
If you feel that any of the information is incorrect or should be updated please contact us.