Caves of South Wales Dragon

Llygad Llwchwr

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Overview
Llygad Llwchwr means the Eye of the Loughor and is the major resurgence for water at the western end of the Black Mountain, forming the source of the river Loughor. The water that disgorges from the cave travels from as far away as Herbert's Quarry some four miles distant and over 300m higher. A notched weir constructed outside the resurgence once facilitated the extraction of water but now the water is obtained from boreholes nearby.
Length 915m
Altitude 229m
Grid SN 66900 17820
History
This cave is a major resurgence and will have always been known of. The first recorded exploration of the cave was by Thomas Jenkins in 1841.
In 2002 Martyn Farr temporarily dug out a gravel filled sump in Chamber 5 and dived through to reach Llygad Llwchwr II, with some 300m of passage discovered. The sump refilled with gravel and it was only in 2010 following a surface dig in a large shakehole by Tony Donovan that this section of cave was re-entered.
Location
The cave is located about two kilometres from the village of Trap at the start of the River Loughor on land owned by the Brecon Beacons Natural Water Company and is fenced off with a stile in one corner of the enclosure.
Black Mountain Western Google map showing the location of Llygad Llwchwr and other caves in the area.
Location map - click marker to show entrance photo
Access
The cave is on land owned by the Beacons Natural Water Company who do not give permission to enter the cave. The cave should be approached by parking in the layby of the nearby road, further up the road is a stile leading to a field with two large shakeholes in. Cross this field, pass between the two shakeholes and follow the footpath to the left. This heads gradually downhill towards the sound of the water emerging from the cave. The path leads to the fenced off resurgence with a stile in the bottom corner.
Description
Above the resurgence high up on the left a small opening exists at the top of a walled up entrance. Climbing up this leads into a complex series of dry high level passages that intersect four magnificent river chambers that can be entered from above. The entrance crawl soon becomes a narrow rift and continues for about 50m before holes in the floor of the passage on the left lead to the First River Chamber. Here a traverse around the side of the chamber leads to some decorated high level passage, while following the water upstream reaches Sump 1. Back in the high level passages following the route leads to a boulder floored chamber and the Parting Of The Ways. To the right here leads to the Maze, a series of tubes and tight rifts that lead to high level windows above the Third River Chamber. To the left a larger passage leads to a balcony where an exposed climb on the left of 4m or a pitch rigged from naturals drops you down into the impressive Second River Chamber. In this chamber going downstream leads to a fine roofed passage that ends at Sump 1 and a climb up into the Roof Series where a connection can be made with the First River Chamber, while going upstream leads to Sump 2. From the Parting Of The Ways a second passage leads to the Third River Chamber where a ladder can be rigged with a long belay from natural threads for the 5m pitch to give access to the chamber. An alternative route into Chamber Three is to take the passage on the right before the slope down to the ladder pitch, which leads down to the Third River Chamber without tackle. Continuing straight ahead from the Parting of the Ways leads to a slope down to the Fourth River Chamber with Sump Three found downstream and Sump Four upstream, which marks the end of the cave for the non diver.
Tackle
Pitch into Second River Chamber 4m ladder Belay Short sling to natural rock thread and 5m rope to large pillar
A wetsuit is advised for exploring the River Chambers
References
Llygad Llwchwr Survey - For Historical Interest Only
Cambrian Cave Registry for Llygad Llwchwr
UK Caving Wiki Entry for Llygad Llwchwr
Descent 164 Article p20-22 Through the Eye of the Llwchwr | Martyn Farr
Descent 165 Article p20-21 Beyond the Llwchwr's Eye | Martyn Farr
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 of Carmarthen | Tony Oldham
Warnings
The cave carries a considerable flow of water and the river chambers have large sections of out of depth water. Care should be taken in these sections. Do not try to free dive the sumps. There are no official fixed aids in this cave.
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.