Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Instagram influencers blamed for ‘disgusting’ rubbish in Welsh cave

Organiser of a major clean-up has slammed the littering as ‘really disheartening’

Lydia Patrick
Wednesday 03 April 2024 13:23
Comments
The cave has become sullied with dinghies and graffiti
The cave has become sullied with dinghies and graffiti (Underground Explorer UK/YouTube)

Social media influencers are ruining beauty spots with litter, says a caver who helped in the clean-up mission of a 19th-century mine.

Anthony Taylor, 42, blamed video footage of old cars dumped in the Gwynedd quarry gaining traction on YouTube and social media for the influx of littering visitors to the cave.

The landmark has become known as a “car grave” which has become the subject of various Instagram posts.

“They are beautiful places, and a lot of people don’t want them to be ruined,” said Mr Taylor, 42, from Aberystwyth, west Wales.

“Instagram seems to be the killer of a lot of things,” he added. “People turn up, take a picture and then leave [a mess].”

The cave was tagged with spray paint (Underground Explorer UK/YouTube)

Gaewern slate mine is on private land near Corris Uchaf. The mine opened in 1820 and closed in the 1970s.

The site then became used as a dumping ground, as people threw old cars and televisions into one of the mine’s two principal chambers above a lake – creating an odd vision of a rusting scrap metal heap that is lit up by shafts of sunshine at varying points in the day.

More graffiti defacing the ‘car grave’ (Underground Explorer UK/YouTube)

The caver described the sight as “one of the oddest places in the world” as hundreds of cars underground are lit up by the sun.

Since gaining in popularity, revellers have flocked to the historic site to tarnish it with spray paint, glow sticks and even human faeces, Mr Taylor told the BBC.

He added: “It’s just disgusting, really sad and disheartening.”

In response to the trashing of the site, Mr Taylor gathered a team of fellow cavers to work on cleaning up the area – making way for a bigger clean-up with six volunteers on 22 March.

The team estimated 30 rubber dinghies had been abandoned.

Now, the caver hopes to educate others about the importance of caring for these important sites, which risk being sealed off forever if they are not looked after.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in