Draenen Access


Access to Draenen is only allowed through the main entrance on Gilwern Hill above Blaenavon. The entrance is at Grid Reference SO 2467:1176, Altitude: 362m (shown on the map below). The cave should be approached by the path from the road by the Pwll Du Adventure Centre.

The car park opposite the (sadly now closed) Lamb and Fox pub has been blocked off. Please park sensibly elsewhere and do not block access to the farm or the adventure centre.


The cave is gated and padlocked and requires a key to get in. Keys are held by several of the member clubs of the PDCMG, so if you are member of one of these getting a key should be straightforward. Multi-club trips are also allowed as long as one of the members is from a key-holding club, so this may be another option if you know someone from such a club.

Caving clubs can also request a temporary key from the Permit Secretary at email address permits@pdcmg.org.

You may need to send to the address below:

  • The name of the club you are applying on behalf of
  • The address you would like a key sent to
  • A large letter stamp
PDCMG Permit Secretary
10 Danygrug

Conditions of Access

It is a requirement of access to the cave that all trips in the cave are logged; there is a logbook installed at Cairn Junction within the cave for this purpose. Please report any shortages of pencils or paper to the Secretary. Please also follow the Code of Conduct.

Entrance Politics

The political controversy surrounding Draenen entrances has been possibly the most contentious issue in British caving politics over the past decade.

Although Draenen currently has several physical entrances, using any of them except the official gated one (or digging a new one!) is against the current Access Licence agreed between the PDCMG member clubs and the landowner (Pwlldu Conservation Ltd). Contravening this could bring you into conflict with the landowner, or get you involved in some contentious politics. As an example of how seriously people take the issue, the police have been called in at times by national bodies and other interested parties.

After a review and vote in October 2022, the PDCMG entrance policy has been updated. The PDCMG has agreed to consider new entrances on a case-by-case basis, and welcomes proposals to adopt other entrances. To date, no new entrance proposals have been received.

New entrance proposals would be voted on at a PDCMG meeting, and then recommended to the landowner if successful. The landowner would then consider the recommendation and the new entrance would become official if they were persuaded.

We are optimistic that future entrance controversies can be resolved amicably. In the meantime, please don’t exacerbate the situation, and don’t let the politics put you off visiting one of the UK’s greatest caves.