M a t i e n z o   C a v e s   P r o j e c t
Explorations during 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and more, including logbooks www.matienzocaves.org.uk hosted at One.com    

Web site intro

Matienzo Caves Project & Minutes

Summary statistics

5045 cave sites with descriptions, surveys and photographs.
Updated: Sept 2020
Updated: Sept 2020

Cave search
Updated: Sept 2020

Logbook search
Updated: Sept 2020

Matienzo docs, maps and aerial photos

Archaeological remains in over 120 caves.

Cantabrian government site.


Cave exploration around Matienzo.

Matienzo flowers & gastropods

50 years : The Book

Matienzo 60 Years logo
60 years

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
  • L A T E S T   U P D A T E S  •

Due to Covid-19 and restrictions in both the UK and Spain, there is currently very little caving activity by the MCP.

Matienzo Speleology - updated September 2020

   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 5045 documented sites, e.g. The Four Valleys System (67.1km long), Cueva Vallina (35.3km) and the almost-linked South Vega System (34.6km). There are also numerous sites of archaeological interest, with extensive Iron Age deposits. Scientific work by staff and students from Lancaster University has revealed 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 398.3km (September 2019). 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 Project Expeditions can be seen here.

   During the expeditions, many cavers camp in the field behind German's Bar. The restaurant here is also the HQ - a computing and drawing up area. Hostel accommodation is available at La Taberna in the village, at Casa Tomás in Ogarrio and at the Restaurante Pension Anjana near Ramales. There are also a number of self-catering facilities within a few miles of Matienzo.

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

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© Matienzo Caves Project 2020 : Photograph copyright remains with the photographers : Website by Juan Corrin