A group of die-hard fans are exploring a labyrinth of caverns 100-150m down known as the Three Counties System, which is already regarded as one of the premier caving areas in the UK.
They hope to link two – Long John's Cave and Notts Pot – by excavating collapsed caves, a move which, if successful, could create 100km of stomach-churning shafts and routes deep underground.
Tim Allen, a caver with 35 years experience, said: "We've lost a sense of adventure in a world where safety is everything so caving is one of the few true adventure sports you can do and there are often times you can be the very first person to go through a certain area.
"Over the last 50 years or so people have been exploring right across the hillside when there would've been a number of isolated caves.
"One caver years ago, who was a bit of an amateur geologist, thought one day you would be able to connect them all. People mostly laughed but since that time those caves have been extended and we got to the point where we think there is only one gap left. That's the final link that will make the system 100km long. There are longer caves in the world but this is still a very long cave system, it is significant."
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