Updated 18th, 29th November 2009; 31st October 2010; 18th May 2011; 4th October 2015; 18th April 2016; 4th January 2018; 5th June, 25th July 2019
The cave was mainly explored over Whit 2009, then pushed and fully surveyed in the summer. A draughting hole found and then dug out into a labyrinth-type cave. The cave is developed under a thin sandstone bed and consists mainly of infilled and reworked fossil passages under this bed.
The name says it all - Maze Cave. The 300m of passage would fit under half a football pitch and it would be hanging about to take more than 15 minutes to get out from any point in the cave. Throughout the cave there are passages completely choked with shaley sediments (marked C on the survey) and others, partly choked, that may dig. The survey (drawn and the survex file) and reality gives the impression that digging in most places would give an extension.
The excavated entrance is in a wooded shakehole at the top edge of a field. A crawl enters a low chamber with a number of holes. Ahead is a group of formations and the main way on is down to the left past egg shells (possibly brought in by a fox?) and then a descending rift where a small flow comes in during wet weather. A run-in and possible digs lie up to the left, while on the right is a shale slope that is taped off. (The floor is unusual consisting of shale-type material off the roof.) The small flow disappears into a small passage under the lefthand wall that can be followed for a few metres to where it is too small. Up and out of the rift, straight ahead, a T-junction is met where the 2 main areas of the cave are reached.
The north east sector is entered to the left, bypassing a group of formations and entering walking-size, flakey-roofed passage to the north east. Looking back views the other side of the grotto. Where the passage swings 90 degrees to the right, a small hole in a rift links to a passage beyond and a similar situation occurs when the passage turns right again (2 places marked F on the survey). The head of a small, 3.5m pitch is reached after a short crawl. To the right is a open, bouldery aven.
At the base of the pitch, the passage heads north east and, at a short climb up, a window through to a parallel rift on the right is reached. The route here heads back to the bouldery pitch area with bouldery sinks and possible digs en-route. Up to the left (south) appears to close in. Back in the main passage, the rift closes in with a tiny hole down on the right. Above this, on the southeast wall, a bolted climb entered a completely choked passage that has been excavated to about 4m. In October 2017, a slurry slump had occured at the end of the dug passage. However, there was a draught to encourage clearance operations, so two and a half hours later the digger could stand up within a small, partly empty chamber with the draught coming in between spoil and the far wall.
A 4m climb up on the north west wall (best laddered for those that follow) enters another series of passages. The straight walking route to the north west has holes in the left wall that communicate with a parallel, often deep, rift. Passages meet up at a large run-in that appears to truncate all the routes in this area. Digs to the north east here may bypass the chokes and find continuing passage.
The south sector is entered to the right, where walking passage lowers, passing the top of the taped-off shale slope and then encountering a T-junction. To the right, crawls choke up except for one that links back to the entrance chamber. To the left (east), a nice group of stal and thick straws is met on the left with another junction. To the north, passages choke, but the southern passage continues walking-size to a 4-way junction. To the right (west), crawling is required to enter a larger continuation that chokes ahead. To the south, a step over a 3m deep hole and a slope up to a T-junction has a choke to the right and a squeeze and short drop into a decorated, choked rift to the left.
Back at the 4-way junction, the eastern passage passes under a small collapse to enter a small chamber with a very low, wide passage back on the left and a crawl out past formations straight ahead. A squeeze down enters larger passage with a couple of digs (one near a small group of calcited gravel / cave pearls that was excavated in the autumn, 2009) and to the west a small, draughting cross rift that links back to the 4-way junction.
At Easter 2011, three draughting digs were worked at. In the summer 2015, a short time was spent digging at the northwest corner: in November 2015 the dig "requires a snapper".
One visit occurred in April 2019 when the sand-choked, high-level passage off the big rift was worked at. After less than a metre, this led to the base of a hading rift where one end sloped up to jammed calcited boulders and the other closed down beyond a small grotto (batch 3268-19-02). A dig in the roof has "all the hallmarks of a long-term dig". The cave was cleared and "case closed" for Maze Cave.
References: anon., 2009b (Whit logbook); anon., 2009c (summer logbook); anon., 2009d (autumn logbook); Corrin Juan, 2010 (survey); anon., 2010c (summer logbook); anon., 2011b (Easter logbook); Corrin Juan, 2013a; anon., 2015c (summer logbook); anon., 2016b (Easter logbook) (November 2015 logbook account pasted here); anon., 2017d (autumn logbook); anon., 2019b (Easter logbook); anon., 2019c (Whit logbook)
Entrance pictures: yes
Underground pictures : yes
Video : 2010 - wmv file, 12Mb or mpg file, 149Mb
Detailed Survey : yes (2019 extension hot shown; see Survex 3d file, batch 19-01)
Line Survey :
On area survey :
Survex file : 2019 (Amended magnetic declination December 2013 to align with Eur79 grid and coordinates altered to fit ETRS89 datum, April 2014.)