University of Bristol Spelæological Society

Travels Beneath the Earth

Celebrating the UBSS Centenary

Elaine in Clearwater Cave, Mulu

In 2019, The University of Bristol Spelaeological Society (UBSS) celebrates 100 years of cave exploration and research. To mark the occasion, the society is hosting a weekend of diverse presentations and fieldtrips celebrating its past, present and future. Dr Rick Schulting will give a keynote lecture entitled: “The darker angels of our nature: a butchered prehistoric human bone assemblage from Charterhouse Warren, Somerset“, and there will be talks on archaeology, history, exploration, speleogenesis and palaeoclimate research. Poster presentations are welcome from students, members and friends on research, both speleological and archaeological and on exploration topics.

For all queries and to pre-register a place or book a poster slot, please email the organisers.


School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol, University Road,Bristol, BS8 1SS


Saturday 9th November 2019. There will also be a series of field trips on Mendip on Sunday 10th November.


During the Drinks Reception we will be launching The Caves of Mid-West Ireland. Copies will available at a special launch price.

Sunday Field Trips

Places on all trips are limited to symposium attendees only. Unless otherwise stated, all trips are for experienced cavers only, who must bring their own equipment.

To reserve your place on a trip, please email Linda Wilson. Places will be allocated on a "first come first served" basis.

Shute Shelve Cavern: History and Geology

Led by Alan Gray. Places limited to 10. Start time 10:00. Meet in the car park behind the large boulders on the Axbridge bypass.

Aveline's Hole: Archaeology and History

Led by Graham Mullan. Places limited to 10. Start time 11.00. Meet in the small car park just up-combe from the cave entrance.

Non-cavers welcome, but please wear sensible footwear and bring your own torch.

G.B. Cavern

Led by Dr Andy Farrant. Start Time 10.30am. This field trip will examine the geology, geomorphology and hydrology of what is one of the finest, and most intensively studied caves in the country. Much of the research in the cave has been done by UBSS members over the past 50 years. Numbers are limited to 5 in the first instance, but if there is sufficient demand, a second trip can be run on the same day. Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis. This will be a 2-2.5 hour caving trip. Full caving clothing including helmet, boots and lights will be required for this trip. A CCC permit is also required which can be arranged on the day. No novices (minimum experience of four caving trips required) and no carbide. Participants aged 16 and 17 will need to bring a signed parental consent form as well as signing a permit.

Grebe Swallet

Led by Chris Binding. Start time 11.00am. This field trip will look at the history and geology of this unusual cave/lead mine including the historic signatures left in the mud by members of the Young and Clark families in 1753. Numbers limited to 3 in the first instance but If there is sufficient demand, a second trip can be run at 2.30pm.

Upcoming Events

21st Sep 2019:
South Wales leader training weekend

12th Oct 2019:
Freshers' Weekend

25th Oct 2019:
SUICRO Symposium

2nd Nov 2019:
Bonfire Weekend

9th Nov 2019:
UBSS Centenary Symposium

View all events

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