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Ogof Draenen is recognised as a site of great scientific importance because of its size, location and time of discovery. It has a chapter in the Caves and Karst of Great Britain, and a special edition of Caves and Karst Science was devoted to papers about Draenon.


Bats have been noted, but guano appears to indicate that there has been a significant decline in populations. Parts of the cave have accumulations of guano unmatched in other British caves, and studies indicate that this was a summer roost of Lesser Horseshoe bats. A radiocarbon date of around 1883 years before 1950 (ie 67AD) has been obtained by Prof Suzanne Leroy when at Queen's University, Belfast.

Records are kept of current residents and of fossil finds, some of which are now in museum collections.

There have been suggestions, backed up by the finding of bear teeth and bones, that some depressions in the sediment of passsage floors represent bear nests.

Rhian Hicks has contributed Biology - a geologist's view and there is a paper in Cave and Karst Science (2011)

From 2012-2015, Lee Knight has undertaken extensive and detailed work on the invertebrate fauna of aquatic habitats from pools to active streams (poster presentation), and plans to continue with investigations of the overlying epikarst.


Rare fossilised fish bones have been noted in the entrance series strata, as reported in a paper by Andy Kendall and Rhian Hicks in Cave and Karst Science (2003). Andy Farrant (of the British Geological Survey) has contributed Lithostratigraphy, Structure, and Mineralisation and presented a paper at the 2003 BCRA Cave Science Symposium.


Flow markings on sediment indicate that the direction of drainage has changed during the course of the cave's history. This has led to an understanding of several episodes of flow-switching and has a significant bearing on the understanding of the relative timing of the development of the Clydach Gorge, and the River Usk. The oldest parts of the system are older than the 500Ka limit of U-Th dating and, through comparison with calculated incision rates for the Yorkshire dales and Cheddar Gorge, may be 2-3Ma old. Mike Simms presented a paper at the 2003 BCRA Cave Science Symposium, in 2011, and he and Andy Farrant contributed two papers to Cave and Karst Science (2011)

Chris Smith has used U-Pb isotope techniques to show that some speleothems in the upper levels of Draenen are more than a million year old.

Sediment structure and content has been investigated in an University of Bristol undergraduate project by John Pash. There has been a suggestion that subglacial drainage is responsible for some of the sediment this project has not disagreed with this.


Water tracing has proved that the resurgence is at Pontnewydd. A program of tracing was undertaken in 2002 by Lou Maurice which indicated fast flow through times from Rifleman's Choke, Big Country, and Dollimore's. Full details are given in a paper in Cave and Karst Science (2011)