Cambrian Cave Registry -  Underground Wales   - A Database

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The Cambrian Cave Registry was initiated in 1966 to "record, index and make available information on the sites of speleological interest and the metalliferous mines of Wales and of certain related areas". It was to be made available in two forms: "typed, loose-leaf master copies, to be tucked away in Libraries"; and "a postal information service will be provided by a punched-card index, on which all the data will also be recorded". It comprised a mixture of bibliographic references and field observations of NGR, description, and access information.[1] Development was extensive during the 1970’s and 1980’s, but it then fell into a state of neglect and faltering restarts until a concentrated effort began in 2004 to transfer the existing hard copy Registry (it is not clear whether cards were ever punched) to a computerised database. This "turned out to be extremely time consuming with almost all the 1200 entries having to be manually copied". In addition to the existing Registry data, a considerable number of new and additional sites were added from guidebooks and other cave data research projects, especially the Brecon Beacons National Park Black Mountain Survey Project (which provided a map-based register of caves and digs, mostly with entrance photographs, for several years inn the late 1990's).

Covering eight areas [Black Mountain; Central Beacons; Eastern Beacons; North Wales; Gower; West Wales; Southeast Wales; and Mid Wales (with an excursion into the Marches of Shropshire and Herefordshire)], there were around 1400 entries by July 2008 when "Underground Wales" first went online, rising to 1877 (although not all published) by July 2014, and 1937 early in January 2015.

The online interface now allows entry via a search by any part of a name which has been recorded for an entrance or other feature of interest. English, Welsh, hybrids, and the common shorthand initials may be used; hyphens are ignored for the benefit of those who don't appreciate their meaning in Welsh orthography. Locations are also shown on a variety of maps with optional geological and hydrological information.

Sites are classified by

  • morphology: Cave; Pothole; Sea Cave; Rock Shelter; Doline; Other;
  • hydrology: Sink; Rising; Active

The addition of information for mines (other than coal) is in progress...

Ref: [1] Christopher, N.S.J. (1971) Cave Registries. Cambridge University Caving Club Journal, 2(1), pp 13-14

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If you have any suggested additions or changes, or have spotted any errors, then please contact the Cambrian Cave Registrar, at
We would also greatly appreciate any information you have regarding new sites in order to ensure that the Registry remains up to date on a ongoing basis.

Thanks to Martyn Farr for permission to use the name of a book he published in 2001, Underground Wales



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