Eglwys Faen

An easy cave suitable for novices with a particularly impressive main chamber and a choice of routes to explore. Much of the passages near the entrance are walking sized, but there are also plenty of opportunities for crawling, climbing and exploring. The Upper Series is very different to that found below, so combining the two makes for an interesting varied outing without any major difficulties.


NGR: SO 19285 15684 - what3words: ///total.captures.flamingo - Length: 1340m

From Whitewalls take the tramroad in the direction of Agen Allwedd to reach a large left-hand bend with an information board (‘Windy Corner’) then continue onwards until a bend to the right. The many entrances to Eglwys Faen are distributed around this bend, from the Waterfall Entrance on the left to the Main Entrance up the slope on the right. The obvious entrance 2m above the tramroad in the middle is the Oval Entrance.


No access restrictions.


To get to the Main Entrance take the obvious zig zag path heading uphill about 15 metres beyond the Oval Entrance. Though not obvious from below, this is the largest entrance into the cave. This takes you directly into the sizeable and impressive Main Chamber; up to 10m wide and 4m high and running for 75m.

Halfway along are two side passages, the Eastern Series on the left and the Western Series to the right. The Main Chamber continues onwards, passing a couple of avens connecting to the Upper Series, before lowering to a bedding plane. A short section of belly crawling then follows before emerging into a passage of more sizable proportions leading to the Inner Chamber, at the far end of which is a fixed metal ladder leading to the Upper Series – this is somewhat hidden from view and not obvious until you’re there. The hole below and to the left of this can get very wet and soon ends in a boulder choke.

Upper Series (The Warren)

This part of the cave features a series of small rifts and crawling sized passages, very much like a rabbit warren. As many of the junctions are similar, it can best be described as three main branches. The left-hand branch heads in the same direction as Glump Sump and the Western Series below, and ends in chokes and a too tight rift.

To the right of this, the next branch heads back towards the entrance where a descent can be made back to Main Chamber via a traverse, a squeeze and a choice of two ways down. This is a 7m drop, so you’ll need to bring a rope or ladder if you opt to descend here.

The third branch runs eastward over St Patrick’s Passage to a series of chokes beyond, ultimately ending in the Hereford Dig which is easily recognised by the scaffolding there. Many of the chokes in this area have been dug, but the way on is still elusive.

Western Series

The Western Series follows a small stream round several bends until it is lost under collapse after a low section. To the left the passage continues past two digs on the left. After the second of these digs the passage drops to a crawl before emerging in walking sized passage with Glump Sump on the left.

To the right of this is a concrete dam, beyond which the passage continues into a more bouldery area. An aven rises up on the right but ends in a small draughting tube, and on the left there’s a too-tight rift and a low oxbow. The passage ends at a boulder choke after some distance.

Eastern Series

From the Main Chamber, the walking-sized passage on the left leads to a junction. Heading left here reaches the Oval Entrance and the two smaller entrances either side of it, while the right-hand route passes beneath the Aven Entrance where daylight can be seen. Beyond this a selection of crawls, squeezes and a short climb reach another junction. Left here involves more crawling and emerges by the Waterfall Entrance.

Heading right is easier and leads to the start of a canal, with another route heading left to reach the Waterfall Entrance. Heading right, what used to be a canal is now dry and the sump to St Patrick’s Passage is easily passable. The passage then continues to reach CO2 dig on the left and a bailable sump to the right. Beyond this is an extensive choke with digs at various points.

Survey (click for larger version)
Photos by Steve Sharp, Dewi Lloyd and Matt Voysey

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