Daren Cilau / Ogof Cnwc

There are no formal access restrictions to this cave other than its notorious 550 metre entrance series. Nevertheless, please do not smoke or use carbide, and do not cross tapes or cause any unnecessary damage or disturbance to the cave environment. Take special care in Crystal Oxbow, where the crystals and calcite floor are especially vulnerable.

Ogof Cnwc / Old Prices Dig is an alternative entrance to the cave system, and is gated. Exit is possible without a key.
A key may be obtained from Whitewalls from a member of Chelsea Spelaeological Society. A 10 deposit is required. Bona fide caving clubs may also apply for a permanent loan key from Adrian Fawcett on payment of a 10 pound deposit.
Due to a number of rescue callouts in which groups have failed to find the way out from Busmans Holiday via Ogof Cnwc, there is now a reflective sign at the junction in Prices Prophecy.

Please enter trip details either in the log book which can be found in an alcove just inside the Ogof Cnwc entrance or in the log book at Big Chamber nowhere near the Entrance.

Fixed Aids

Fixed aids are installed at the main places where they are needed, but note that lifelines are not provided for all the ladder pitches. Ladders have now been installed on Eastern Flyover giving an alternative route between Bonsai Streamway and the Time Machine via Half Mile Passage. Be aware that there is officially no ladder on the Western Flyover connection.
Although the fixed aids on the main routes are inspected periodically their integrity is not guaranteed and you use them at your own risk! Do not climb the 65-foot ladder in Preliminary Passage without a lifeline - and make sure you use the lifeline and not the hauling line.

Tackle Requirements

No tackle needs to be carried for the main routes, although some cavers may prefer to take a ladder for the Antler Passage climbs. There are chain ladders at various places on the main routes through the cave.

Approximate Trip Times

These are for guidance, and are for fit, experienced cavers and do not include any allowance for route finding.

The White Company and Antlers5 hours
Daren Cilau - Busmans - Ogof Cnwc through trip5 hoursNote 1
Time Machine6 hours
Bonsai Streamway and Half Mile Passage via E Flyover7 hours
Frog Street and Helibeds8 hours
Kings Road and the Sumps8 hours
The Restaurant and Blue Greenies12 hoursNote 2
The end of the cave18 hoursNote 2

Note 1: See Ogof Cnwc information above
Note 2: Day trips to the Restaurant and beyond are a very strenuous undertaking and cavers should not over-estimate their capabilities when considering such trips.


Most trips in Daren Cilau are possible in wet weather, although one short section of Bonsai Streamway can become neck deep! However, Ankle Grinder Bypass and Borrowed Boots Streamway do become impassable. Ankle Grinder Bypass floods without warning when the water backs up at the sump which usually takes the whole streamway.

For logistical reasons, there are two underground camps in the cave, known as Hard Rock Cafe and the Restaurant at the End of the Universe which are used on a regular basis. If you have not camped in Daren Cilau before but would like to do so, please contact Adrian Fawcett, Mark Lumley, or Charles Bailey for further information about HRC; Phil Rowsell regarding REU.
Please do not use camp equipment or supplies without prior arrangement, as most of it is personal property. However, please do feel free to write in either camp log book if you are passing through.

Most of the cave is still in a good state of preservation, but careless footsteps have taken their toll in Jigsaw Passage. Please respect the tapes.
Also, please take care not to disturb the permanent telephone wire in the entrance series. Report any damage to Adrian Fawcett.
AF's email address