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The Matienzo Caves Project

Caving in Matienzo since 1974 has evolved from being stand-alone speleological expeditions. Nowadays, cavers use information from the Matienzo Caves web site and archive to inform future explorations and, in return, provide expertise, data (survey, photos, write-ups, etc) and funds to keep the whole project running. The 4 strands of the Project (Expedition, Web Site, Cavers and Archive) and the interactions are shown in the diagram.

Matienzo Caves Project – the over-arching and inclusive title for all activities. This is run by Juan Corrin, Steve Martin, Phil Papard and Peter Smith (liaison with the Cantabrian caving federation) who decide matters of Project policy. Project Finances are administered by Susan Martin (Current Account, including expedition) and Juan Corrin (Reserve Account).

Project Elements
The expedition gathers speleological information for the report. The day-to-day running, permit application and report production is coordinated by Phil Papard. with Steve Martin as the expedition Tackle Master.
The Matienzo web site is run and updated by Juan Corrin. The archive (survey notes, hand drawings, books etc) is stored and updated by Juan Corrin. Cavers are shown contributing to all sections of the Project. The Project also interacts with external organisations.

The structure shows clear leadership and responsibilities, and allows everyone to participate in the whole enterprise. Project activities are carried out by the named individuals who take the needed decisions and actions. These include, for example, buying equipment, grant and permit applications, web site updates and collecting donations. Where appropriate, cavers are consulted and suggestions are considered. At least one open meeting for expedition members is held each year. Most expedition members seem to be happy to see the background work carried out for them, allowing them to find, explore and record new caving finds. (Updated December 2014)


The Matienzo Caves Project aims to explore and publically document the caves, shafts and other sites of speleological interest in and around the Matienzo depression.


  • Obtain an annual permit to explore from Cultura.
  • Coordinate cave exploration and documentation through major expeditions (at Easter and summer) and smaller expeditions at other times.
  • Produce a mandatory annual written report to Cultura detailing the explorations.
  • Maintain an archive of survey notes (on paper, digital) and hand-drawn and final surveys (both digital and on paper) along with a library of Matienzo log books, Matienzo publications and publications from elsewhere that reference the caves of Matienzo.
  • Make available to both British and Spanish audiences all expedition reports, the site descriptions, surveys, photographs and other data in an up-to-date, searchable and user-friendly form.
  • Retain sufficient funds (generated from grants and cavers’ donations) to run the Project.
  • Encourage, teach and aid less experienced cavers in expedition caving techniques.
  • Encourage and assist scientific projects including possible funding.
  • Inform specialist audiences of speleological activities, eg Hidden Earth.

To help achieve the Matienzo Caves Project objectives:

  • The constituent parts of the project are caving expeditions, a web site, an archive and cavers.
  • The Project depends upon an annual permit given by the Department of Education, Culture and Sport of the Cantabrian Government (Cultura) which in turn depends on a good quality annual feedback report – one with descriptions, surveys and photographs.
  • During expeditions, priority will be given to those underground trips which are in line with the project and expedition objectives and utilise cavers’ abilities – those that are likely to contribute to area knowledge and the report. Other trips and (near) surface digging should not interfere with these specific caving trips or remove competent pushing cavers from underground objectives.
  • The headquarters / base for the expeditions is Bar Germán, in particular the “Matienzo Caves Office” set up in the back of the restaurant where computers, maps, surveys and publications can be consulted, photos and data downloaded, log book entries written up, and new surveys drawn.
  • It is expected that expedition members based in the Matienzo depression will spend most of their planning time in and around Bar Germán, allowing everyone to be appraised of what is happening on the expedition. Long term expedition members should encourage the active participation of less experienced members in these planning and documentation activities at headquarters.
  • Some of the project / expedition objectives will be fulfilled by groups based in far-flung locations. These groups will keep the expedition coordinator informed of planned trips and vice-versa. From time-to-time these groups will pass on logbook entries and other information either by email or in person.

Juan Corrin, Phil Papard, Steve Martin, Sue Martin, Peter Smith
February, December 2014


17/2/2024: Planning Meeting Agenda
18/2/2023: Planning Meeting Agenda, Minutes, notes for 2022 and website, 2023 objectives (video), 2023 objectives (list)
4/12/2021: Planning Meeting Agenda and attachment.
7/3/2020 : Planning Meeting Agenda (Meeting cancelled)
9/3/2019 : Planning Meeting Agenda; Phil's PowerPoint text; Juan's PowerPoint; Facebook webcast of the meeting
3/3/2018  : Notes from planning meeting & meeting, live on FaceBook
11/3/2017: Agenda for planning meeting & meeting, live on FaceBook
11/7/2015: Minutes from July meeting
11/7/2015: Updated approach to documenting sites and activities for July meeting
11/7/2015: Agenda for July planning meeting
30/3/2015: Minutes from March planning meeting.
7/3/2015 : Agenda for 2015 planning meeting. Item 4 report.
7/6/2014 : Minutes of the meeting to plan 2014 Summer Expedition objectives and explain the Project structure.
16/3/2014 : Minutes of the meeting to plan 2014 Easter Expedition objectives.