Book Reviews - CSS Records, DTT

Caves & Tunnels in South-East England - Part 7

Chelsea Spelological Society Records Volume 15 1987
Ed. Harry Pearman, £2.40 42pp

After a gap of three years, yet another of this long running series from CSS has appeared covering the mines, tunnels and underground obscura of South-East England.

The first in the series, 'Secret Tunnels in Surrey' appeared no less than 24 years ago and the fact that it is still in print today is a measure of the great popularity of the series and its importance as a source on this otherwise unrecorded topic.

These books are in demand not only from cave explorers but also local historians, municipal engineers and the merely curious who want to know about the underworld of the South East. Because of their success Harry Pearman, has become the undisputed expert on the subject.

The sporting caver will find little to interest him in the latest volume, consisting as it does of a hotch potch of entries: mainly small tunnels, often lost, private, sealed up or just rumour. The inclusion of sites where the location is kept secret seems to be of little value to anyone and the quality of production also leaves a lot be desired. But this is small criticism of an otherwise worthwhile, unique, document.

A good brouse for £2.00 odd.

Allan Ockendon

Depth Through Thought

Proceedings no. 12
Oxford University Cave and Pothole Club

The latest in a long line of OUCC Proceedings gives accounts of exploration in the Picos in Northern Spain, from 1984 - 1986. It is produced in the quality which has become a trademark of OUCC publications. The photographs are clear and relevant and the illustrations are also good. The style combines factual accounts of the caves and the hydrology of the area with a wealth of anecdotal accounts dotted here and there. The effect is a very readable account. The delectable surveys are of superb quality, and will grace anyone's wall. There is also quite alot of information which would be useful to anyone organising a foreign expedition for the first time. In addition there are a number of "in" jokes, more relevant to Picos cavers (including a handy little Spanish phrase book.)

Despite the lack of any discoveries to compare with the glory of Xitu, OUCC have managed to produce an excellent publication which gives an insight into what Picos caving is REALLY like. The amount of work which went into the production is well reflected in the resulting quality. My only complaint about OUCC 12 is that it is too bloody good I For a mere £2.50 (3 pints-worth), I think every coffee table should have one.

Guy Jackson

Allan Ockendon
Guy Jackson