Ogof Draenen Picture Gallery

The photographs in this gallery were taken by:

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  1. Abergavenny to the left, then the mountains; The Blorenge, Gilwern Hill, and Mynydd Llangatwg, as seen from the Sugar Loaf. Between The Blorenge and Gilwern Hill is Cwm Llanwenarth, ending at the ridge of Pwll Du. Between Gilwern Hill and Mynydd Llangatwg is the Clydach Gorge. The Clydach Gorge is home to many small caves including Llanelly Quarry Pot. Mynydd Llangatwg is home to many large systems, including Agen Allwedd, Daren Cilau, and Craig A Ffynnon.
  2. Gilwern Hill (ahead) as seen from Llanelly Hill, above the Clydach Gorge. The tip of Saint Giles series almost makes it to the edge of the escarpment. The stream that flows North through Gilwern Passage, Galeria Garimpeiros and Saint Giles, resurges at the base of the quarry in the picture.
  3. Clydach South Resurgences No 1, the resurgence for Ogof Draenen's North flowing stream.
  4. Gilwern Hill as seen from the road between Crickhowell and Abergavenny. Waterfall Series ends under the radio mast on its left side (almost meeting Ogof Ddwy Sir, which starts in the obvious quarry near the mast). Galaria Garimpeiros and Saint Giles series take up the middle and right side, a little lower than the quarries.
  5. Gilwern Hill (ahead) and Pwll Du (left). On the far left is the Lamb and Fox pub, and the white building is the Pwll Du Adventure Centre, above the entrance. Waterfall Series ends under the radio mast on Gilwern Hill, The Nunnery ends near the tree line on Pwll Du, and the camera is situated over the top end of Big Country.
  6. Pwll Du as seen from The Blorenge. On the right, the prominent white building is the Pwll Du Adventure Centre, with the entrance at the tree line on the slope below it. The white building to its left is the Lamb and Fox pub, with Lamb and Fox chamber approximately below it. Megadrive runs behind the quarry, with Canyon, Raiders, The Score and Beyond a Choke Streamway behind it. The Nunnery, Players Tunnel, and Erection Series end in the green patch to the left of the quarry. The little valley to the left (The Tumble) is on top of The Wyvern Extensions. Big Country starts at the left edge of the picture.
  7. The top of The Blorenge, with the camera on top of Life On Mars. The Keeper's Pond is at the left edge of the picture, and is on top of the end of The Wyvern Extensions. Big Country spans the area beyond Keeper's Pond, and also ends under it. Lucky 13 is beyond Keeper's Pond. War Of The Worlds spans the area in the distance, with the largest parts under the radio masts. Hexamine Highways ends under the road on the way to the masts. Dollimore Series takes up most of the area to the right of that road, ending in the indented part of the valley to the right. Beyond A Choke Streamway ends further to the right in the same valley.
  8. The ridge of tips above Pwll Du, seen from The Blorenge, over the top of War Of The Worlds. Beyond A Choke Streamway runs under the ridge. Gilwern Hill is barely visible to the right. The Keeper's Pond can be seen in the middle, and Big Country is under the area between that and the camera.
  9. Mynydd y Garn-fawr on the far side of The Blorenge. Prisoners Of War nearly reaches the surface here.
  10. Blaenavon, seen from Big Pit. Beyond A Choke Streamway runs under the ridge on the left, and ends under the housing estate (not the industrial estate) slightly to the right of the middle of the picture. The largest part of War Of The Worlds South is under the two masts on the left of the picture, and Luck Of The Draw ends under the green fields above the houses on the right side of the picture.
  11. Rifleman's Arms pub. Rifleman's chamber, the end of Beyond A Choke Streamway, ends under the housing estate just behind it. In the distance on the Right are the fields which are over the top of the end of Luck Of The Draw in Dollimore Series, the furthest point of the cave.
  12. Rifleman's Arms pub. Rifleman's chamber, the end of Beyond A Choke Streamway, ends under the housing estate just behind it. In the distance on the Right are the fields which are over the top of the end of Luck Of The Draw in Dollimore Series, the furthest point of the cave.
  13. Abersychan, in front of the Victoria Village primary school, overlooking the Nant Ffrwd stream valley. Ogof Pwll Maelor lies in the Nant Maelor valley up the main valley from here (to the left, behind the camera), and has been die traced to the Snatchwood Bridge Risings.
  14. The Nant Ffrwd valley. As of 2015, the stream started sinking just upstream of the concrete conduit seen on the right here. The conduit is a sewer, and not related to the sink.
  15. The Nant Ffrwd sink. The water probably joins the Ogof Draenen flow.
  16. In the main valley just downstream of mouth of the Nant Ffrwd valley is a flood overflow resurgence, in a private field next to the Afon Lwyd river. Seen here as a clump of trees surrounded by a fence.
  17. One of the choked resurgence holes in the clump of trees.
  18. The surface of the field next to the flood overflow resurgence (away from the river) rises up under hydrological pressure during extreme floods, like a water cushion that you can walk on - an almost unique feature. This is known as The Bouncing Field.
  19. The funeral parlour in Snatchwood. The footbridge beside this is Snatchwood bridge.
  20. Upstream (on the right bank as seen here) is the entrance to Ogof Ysbyty Pontypool, one of the Ogof Draenen resurgences.
  21. Snatchwood Bridge Risings line the downstream side of the bridge, across the whole width of the river.
  22. The Pontnewynydd tower block. Under the foundations of one corner of the tower block is the "bottomless pit" of Pontnewynydd Risings, discovered while the tower block was being built. The smaller building on its left is the pumphouse, which extracts water that rises through sand and gravel. This is the main Pontnewynydd Risings, one of the main resurgences for Ogof Draenen. The water is used to flush the local sewers.
  23. Outflow in the main river next to the tower block. This is the overflow from the main risings.

Entrance Series

Spare Rib and Darling Rifts

  1. Stream crawl
  2. Wet climb
  3. Mouse skeleton
  4. Chert banded cascade
  5. With human for scale
  6. Darling Rifts
  7. 4 m roped climb
  8. 4 m roped climb


  1. Ctenacanthus dorsal spine
  2. Larger ctenacanthus spine
  3. Ctenacanthus spine detail
  4. Another spine
  5. Psammodus Passage fossil
  6. Fossil detail

Strawberry Passage

  1. Undercut stal
  2. The Strawberries pool
  3. The Strawberries
  4. Popplers?
  5. Strawberry crystals
  6. KFC popcorn?

Waterfall Series

  1. Gypsum flowers
  2. Long gypsum flower
  3. 360 ° curl
  4. Knees Up Mother Brown
  5. Scalloped wall
  6. 6th Heaven Chamber
  7. Mud splash formation
  8. Anthodite collection
  9. Aragonite urchins
  10. Large anthodites
  11. Anthodites and helictites
  12. Anthodites on flowstone
  13. Urchins
  14. Anthodites
  15. Aragonite anthodites
  16. Aragonite end
  17. Lost River stal
  18. Lost River stal
  19. Lost River
  20. Knees Up Mother Brown - right
  21. Getting lower
  22. Padlock Passage
  23. End of Padlock

Beyond A Choke

  1. Upstream Passage grotto
  2. Cracked mud
  3. Wonderbra slab
  4. Before Tea Junction
  5. Tea Junction
  6. Balcony flowstone
  7. White stal

The North West

Gilwern Passage

  1. Stalagmite flow
  2. Giles' Shirt
  3. Giles' Shirt flow
  4. Flow closeup
  5. Giles' Shirt crystal pool
  6. 150 metre straight section
  7. Largest section
  8. Inlet waterfall
  9. Protected formation
  10. Blistered calcite floor
  11. Old Illtydian's Chamber
  12. Old Illtydian's stal

Galeria Garimpeiros

  1. Forever Changed
  2. Hearts of Olden Glory
  3. Another World column
  4. Another World arch
  5. Another World carrots
  6. Phreatic tube
  7. Phreatic tube (2)

Tea Junction to Fault Chambers

The Score

  1. The White Wormery

Lamb and Fox Chamber

  1. Lamb and Fox lower part
  2. Lamb and Fox upper part

Indiana Highway

  1. Early traverse
  2. Over Raiders
  3. Before the main traverse
  4. The main traverse
  5. Wider section
  6. Fossil shells
  7. Swirling shell
  8. Crawl
  9. Over Lost Crusade
  10. Junction with Megadrive

Raiders Passage

  1. Fossil spine
  2. Spiked ceiling
  3. Side passage guano
  4. Botryoids
  5. Ctenacanthus dorsal spine
  6. Ctenacanthus spines
  7. Nonconformity
  8. Spine texture
  9. Swirling shell
  10. Nonconformity
  11. Calcite crystals
  12. Ctenacanthus spine
  13. Geodes
  14. Spine cross section
  15. Long spine
  16. Swirling shell
  17. Spine with guano
  18. Tooth plate section
  19. Guano pile
  20. Guano pile
  21. Textured fossil
  22. Alcove fossil
  23. Spine blood vessel
  24. Spine cross section
  25. Smaller cross section
  26. Psammodus tooth plate
  27. Spine fibres
  28. Protruding spine
  29. Spine ridges
  30. Bedding fossil
  31. Ctenacanthus dorsal spine
  32. Gypsum crystals
  33. Underwater calcite
  34. Gypsum crystal
  35. Spine fragment
  36. Large ctenacanthus spine
  37. Spine detail
  38. Raiders Passage fault
  39. Textured spine
  40. Fossil tooth plate
  41. Long dorsal spine

Megadrive North

  1. Route to Canyon
  2. Mud patterns
  3. Anastomosis


  1. Siambre Ddu Passage mud
  2. Selenite crystal
  3. Selenite Crystal (2)
  4. Megadrive
  5. Megadrive diamond
  6. Megadrive (2)


  1. Perseverance II
  2. Arms Park

Fault Chambers

  1. Jammed boulder
  2. Upper Fault Chambers
  3. Rift Chamber
  4. Elliptic Passage

Wyvern Extensions


  1. Wyvern entrance
  2. The Whitehouse boss
  3. The Whitehouse anthodite
  4. Looks painful
  5. Coldfingers
  6. The longest of the blue
  7. Coldfingers stalagmite

Land Down Under

  1. Straw grotto
  2. Prize winning photo
  3. From the other side
  4. Straw columns
  5. Heart-shaped drip pocket

Republican Plot

  1. Ice Cold in Alex
  2. Stalagmite group
  3. Fluted mud
  4. Reclining man
  5. Unentered oxbow
  6. Presidential Mayhem traverse
  7. Gore Blimey

Lucky 13

Midwinter Chambers and Snowball

  1. Big Beauty Junction
  2. Gypsum crystals
  3. Gypsum crystals closeup
  4. Gypsum snow
  5. Crystal covered
  6. Rock patterns
  7. Eye pattern
  8. Oval rock patterns
  9. Irregular pattern
  10. The Snowball

Hexamine Highways

  1. Leaning Tower of Piza
  2. Walls Too Good to be True
  3. Death by Kangadile
  4. Drip pockets
  5. Gypsum
  6. Upbeat
  7. Gypsum snow
  8. Downbeat
  9. Camp Coffee, Downbeat
  10. Camp Coffee
  11. Draebridge Rift
  12. Anastomosis

Sleepcrawler Series and War Of The Worlds

Sleepcrawler Series

  1. Gypsum drift
  2. Lost In Space helictite

Cold Fusion Passage

  1. Dribbling stal
  2. Stal overhang
  3. Camberwell Carrots
  4. The Washing Machine

The Reactor

  1. Copper stained stal
  2. Copper stal closeup

War Of The Worlds

  1. High Camp Treasures
  2. Closeup treasures
  3. More treasures
  4. Beaded helictite
  5. Fat v. thin
  6. Exposed drip pocket
  7. Exposed drip pocket (2)
  8. Spilled chocolate
  9. Stalagmites

Sendero Luminoso

  1. Main helictite group
  2. Helictite
  3. Split helictite
  4. Closeup helictite group
  5. Split helictite
  6. Almost-normal stalactite
  7. Heligmites
  8. Aragonite urchin

Dollimore Series

The reasons for placing these photographs on the Web are twofold; first, the trip to these locations involved almost four hours of steady caving, so to visit this area and to do the place justice would involve a round trip of ten hours or more. Should cavers who might not feel up to such a trip be deprived of the opportunity to see these wonderfully intricate formations? Second, these photgraphs form a record of one of the most valuable conservation areas in the whole cave. Taking some of the pictures required the utmost care in extreme proximity to these delicate masterpieces of nature. On one occasion, we had our boots off for a period of three hours - by which time our feet were totally numb! By making these pictures available for all to see, we sincerely hope that subsequent visitors will respect the conservation areas, view from an appropriate distance and use these pictures to enhance their enjoyment of the place.

Ian Wilton-Jones

For the technically minded, Ian used a Nikon EM with a 50mm Nikon E lens for all the close-up work and a Hoya 28mm wide angle lens for the "chamber" shots, with a moderately powerful electronic flash for direct aiming and a weaker flash for fill-in. This enabled any subject closer than about 3m to be taken at f16, giving a good depth of focus. The film was 400 ASA Kodak Gold Ultra.

Upstream MSAD, near the boulder choke below The Reactor

  1. Flowstone
  2. Snowy Christmas Tree

Out Of The Blue

  1. Main straw display
  2. Helictites
  3. Flute levers
  4. Stalactite cluster
  5. Helictite wind vanes
  6. Carrot

Nicola's Grotto

  1. Nicola's Grotto
  2. Nicola's Grotto (2)
  3. Grotto Passage columns
  4. Helictite closeup

Into The Black from the entrance to Dog-Leg

  1. Dogleg's entrance slope

Chamber off of the passage before Circus Maximus

  1. Restricted chamber
  2. Far side
  3. Far side closeup
  4. Side wall
  5. Column display
  6. Column head
  7. Column base
  8. Stalagmite
  9. Anthodite urchin
  10. Helictite bunch
  11. Anthodite
  12. Aragonite
  13. Aragonite bunch
  14. Aragonite tree
  15. Helictite cluster
  16. Helictite group
  17. Decorated club
  18. Helictites on a fracture
  19. Helictite row
  20. Helictite ranks
  21. Helictite second rank
  22. Helictite mass
  23. From the side
  24. Isle of Man
  25. Side view
  26. Undercut
  27. Crossing the chamber
  28. Far side
  29. Small cluster
  30. Medium cluster
  31. Large cluster
  32. Bunch of grapes

Circus Maximus

  1. Mutated stalactite
  2. Stalagmites
  3. Left wall
  4. Left wall (2)
  5. Left wall frill
  6. Forked tongue
  7. Anthodites
  8. Aragonite
  9. Main collection
  10. Aragonite pom pom
  11. Baobab
  12. Fracture formation
  13. Triangular
  14. Bidirectional
  15. Split ranks
  16. Small cluster
  17. Large cluster

Grotto beyond Circus Maximus

  1. Oxbow wall
  2. Flowstone waterfall
  3. The undercut
  4. In the undercut
  5. Undercut detail
  6. Pigeon's Foot
  7. Water Sprinkler
  8. Loop wall
  9. Upper wall
  10. Upper wall (2)
  11. Upper wall detail
  12. Overhang
  13. Main wall

Luck of the Draw

  1. Selenite needles
  2. Selenite needle
  3. Medusa's Children chamber
  4. Medusa's Children stalagmites
  5. Medusa's Children
  6. Medusa's Children (2)
  7. With human for scale

Cantankerous Surveyors' Passage

  1. Scallops
  2. Main passage
  3. The Geryon
  4. The three heads of The Geryon
  5. Father and baby
  6. Mother and unbilical cord
  7. Catherine wheel
  8. The Geryon's Lair
  9. Anthodite closeup