Larkshall is situated on east Mendip, between
Oakhill & Stoke St Michael close to Fairy Cave Quarry. The area has much
speleological and other interest but is less visited than central or western Mendip. For
those a little more adventurous the following information may be helpful.
Major caves in the area include Stoke Lane Slocker & Thrupe Lane which offer excellent trips for the experienced caver. Smaller, but a challenging prospect, is St Dunstans Well Cave. For beginners the entrance series of Brownes' Hole is excellent. Perhaps the most important caves in the area are the caves of Fairy Cave Quarry, with which the club had a major involvement for many years. There are also many minor caves in the area, perhaps Great Elm Cave or Stock' s Hole could be worth a visit. If you fancy a bit of ladder work or even SRT practice, try Hunting Lodge Slocker which was a major club dig for some years. If you're a record collector you could even visit Vallis Vale Quarry Cave, the most easterly Mendip cave. There is plenty to do. Although a little out of date the clubs Occasional Bulletin 'CAVES AND AREAS FOR SPELEOLOGICAL RESEARCH IN THE EASTERN MENDIPS' lists many sites. If that's not enough for you Central Mendip is only a ten minute drive away.
Access details for caves on
Mendip and elsewhere is available on the
CaveInfo web site.
Most of the climbing in the area is only a short drive away - Cheddar Gorge, Avon Gorge, Goblin Combe etc are all covered in the Avon & Cheddar climbing guide book. There are no major climbing sites on East Mendip although there are a few minor crags in the immediate area, which can give hours of fun and some serious climbing with possibilities of first accents.
Fairy Cave Quarry. There is no access to the quarry for climbing. Security fencing has recently been erected around the site. It is understood that the BMC are trying to arrange access. (Info current as of September 2009)
Ashwick Grove has a few small cliffs with some short but interesting routes.
Wadbury Valley - ST746490 and ST734489, where bouldering is possible with some quite strenuous moves on the second.
Holcombe - A small disused quarry ST682479, named "curious holes" giving various entertaining 20ft climbs, an ideal top rope location.
Bector Wood / Cooks Wood Quarries. In recent years a number of routes have been climbed in these abandoned quarries and a privately published guide is available.
The new Cheddar and Avon Climbers
Club guide was published in 2004 and includes these are other sites in
the area. An essential reference.
There are plenty of enjoyable walks on East
Mendip, too many to mention here. There are a number of walkers guides available
a few of which are listed below. Some suggested places include, Ashwick Grove, which is just across fields from Larkshall, and Mells to Great
Elm via the river, taking in ruins of Fussells Iron Works, and on to Vallis Vale
up the Edford Brook.
Not normally known for diving activities surprisingly Vobster Quay is an excellent inland diving centre based at the site of an old quarry. Whether you're a certified diver wanting to experience the thrills and excitement of fresh water inland diving or you're completely new to the sport of subaqua diving, Vobster Quay has something to offer. Check out their website for more information.
Vobster is only a few miles
If you want a change
you could try paintballing.
Hamburger Hill is a
good place to go and is only 10 miles from Larkshall. They also offer Quad
Although there are no 'cavers' pubs on east Mendip there are some good drinking and eating places.
There are three pubs within a mile of the Larkshall. The Oakhill Inn is the most accessible located on the crossroads in Oakhill. This is the usual club haunt and has its moments! They have an excellent selection of beers and a good menu, but is expensive for food. The Wagon and Horses at the top of the hill behind Larkshall has a reasonably priced menu. Finally the Knatchbull Inn to the east in the centre of Stoke St. Michael is mainly used by locals.
Pubs worth a visit but a bit too far for walking back include:
Poachers Pocket 2.5 miles (Chelynch), primarily an eating place that used to have an excellent reputation but subjectively not so good at the moment. Duke of Cumberland at Holcombe is now closed. Ring of Roses, 3 miles (Holcombe), open all day. Downside Inn, 2 miles (Downside near Shepton Mallet) good food. Horse and Jockey 3 miles (Binegar). Talbot 6 miles (Mells) old pub with good food and beer. George Inn at Nettlebridge, 1.5 miles (Nr.Oakhill) - not been there since it changed hands a while back.
Further afield is the traditional cavers pub,
the Hunters Lodge, on the way to Priddy, and the Queen Vic and New Inn in Priddy
Emergencies: The nearest Hospital with a 24hr. A&E Dept is Shepton Mallet. It is well signposted. There is a phone at Larkshall (01749 841072) , but if this is out of order there are pay phones at Stoke St Michael outside the Knatchbull and at Oakhill in the High Street by the old brewery.
Shops: There is a general store/paper shop in both Gurney Slade (on the A37) & Stoke St Michael, both of which are open Sunday mornings. There are major supermarkets in Shepton Mallet, Wells and Midsomer Norton.
Cafes: Tesco's in Shepton Mallet and Midsomer Norton have cafe / restaurant facilities. There is a Little Chef at Nunney Catch on the A361 on route to Frome.
Takeaways: There are Chinese Takeaways / Chip Shops in Coleford, Radstock, Shepton Mallet and Wells, all of which close soon after normal pub closing times. There are now Kebab shops in Shepton and Wells but if a Big Mac is your desire you will have to go to Bath!
Petrol: Garages in Shepton Mallet and Wells open
until late evening. There is a petrol station at Tesco in Shepton Mallet
which has card facilities.
Page last updated 190909
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