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Matienzo Caves Project & Minutes

Summary statistics

4666 cave sites with descriptions, surveys and photographs.
Updated: Feb 2018
Updated: Feb 2018

Cave search
Updated: January 2018

Logbook search
Updated: January 2018

Matienzo docs, maps and aerial photos

Archaeological remains in over 110 caves.

Cantabrian government site.


Cave exploration around Matienzo.

Matienzo flowers, trees (ppt file) & gastropods

Matienzo 50 Years logo
50 years : The Book

Cave conservation

Matienzo environment
Castellano : English

Selected photos of
cave passage and formations
around Matienzo

Links to scientific work

Resources for Spain and Cantabria.

Surface photos from around Matienzo

Travel, accommodation
& Matienzo weather

Other caving pages

Matienzo bibliography and Spanish-English caving dictionary

The Google Group for Matienzo Caves

Expedition details

Background reading & general interest

Matienzo Neighbourhood Board

Quarry / cantera
Wind farms / parques eólicos


Speleology in Matienzo - updated February 2018
   The 26km2 enclosed depression of Matienzo is about 30km south east of Santander in northern Spain. The imperviously-floored valley is surrounded by limestone hills with water resurging into the basin at a number of points and sinking at the northern end. Notable caves are included in the 4638 documented sites, e.g. The Four Valleys System (59.1km long), Cueva Vallina (34.2km) and the almost-linked South Vega System (34.3km). There are also numerous sites of archaeological interest, with extensive Iron Age deposits. Ongoing scientific work by staff and students from Lancaster University is revealing past climates with possible links to the Neanderthal demise.
   A major Spanish caving expedition took place in the summer of 1964 and British-led caving expeditions have been occuring up to 3 or 4 times a year since the late 60‘s. The length of known cave passage in the area has risen from some five or six km to over 386.6km (February 2018). On average, three to five kilometres of cave are found each year, although in 1989, 2008 and 2009 over 15km, 13km and 14.8km respectively was surveyed. Collaboration with Spanish groups has resulted in new cave exploration. An area map shows the major caves. 
   Permission to explore is given by the Cantabrian government and Spanish speleological authorities within both geographical (about 94km2) and time limits. Good relations are kept with the villagers, the caving authorities, and other spanish caving groups. We have had the support of the Ghar Parau Foundation which recommended grants for many years. Recent grants to the Matienzo Caves Expeditions can be seen here.
   During the expeditions, many cavers camp in the field behind German's Bar. The restaurant is a computing and drawing up area.
Hostel accommodation is available at La Taberna in the village, at Casa Tomás in Ogarrio, at the Restaurante Pension Anjana near Ramales and in La Cavada at the Posada Restaurante Carlos III.

If you have photos, cave descriptions or other information to contribute please get in touch.
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