Why is everything in Devon locked?


Apart from Pridhamsleigh are there any other caves in Devon that aren't locked? I'm currently working in the area and would like to get underground more but most of the caves are locked. What is the reason for locking most of them? I can see why Radcliff has a locked entrance but why does afton red rift? Unless it is for bat conservation I don't see the point since it is fairly tucked away.

Les W

Active member
Afton Red Rift is locked because the land owner requires it. Which is the reason most of the locked caves are locked.
You also need to park in the right place and use the approved route to the entrance.
The key is readily available if you wanted to go there, just ask DCUC or DSS.
Mind out for the spiders.


New member
There's a few small caves round Chudleigh Rock, ask at the garden centre. Pixies Hole is also there, but that's closed seasonally for the furry flying meeses.


Yes at Chudliegh there are a few open caves.  On the far side of the Kate brook Cliffords is well worth a look and you should also have a look down Skullcap.  On the other side Pixies is an important bat roost so gated but Bruces rift is open and good fun.
Not far away is Kerswells, this is open, but fairly small.  As Les said keys for Bakers, Afton and Radford can all be sourced from DCUC (they will post them to you).  Those 3 are all locked due to land owner requirements, and for the first 2 DCUC has tenancy agreement with the landowners (we actually pay rent for Afton) to enable caver access to be allowed.  Reeds is controlled by the Pengelly and is owned by a wildlife trust, is an important bat roost so once again, is locked and a leader is needed, but its not difficult to get one.  Dog Hole again needs a key.  I'm not acutally sure what the reasoning is behind locking it, but DCUC can supply a key. 
Anyway I can see the fustration but if you do have a bit of notice there is no reason why you cant get access to nearly every where.


FastBuckLee said:
Dog Hole again needs a key.  I'm not acutally sure what the reasoning is behind locking it, but DCUC can supply a key. 
Only the Dog Leg Extension is gated. There is a still a nice little trip if you continue down past the gate into the 'large' bit and then through some crawls to little chambers.


Well-known member
If you do visit Skullcap please respect it. It is just inside a SSSI and has some important bone deposits in it. When a team including Pete Rose and myself dug it open 20 years ago we gated it to protect the formations. The key was available from myself as advertised at the time. Somebody removed the gate some years ago  :mad:. This is the only major cave discover to be made in Devon in the last 30 years and I didn't want it damaged as has happened to Dog Hole, Bakers Pit Extension and parts of Pridhamsleigh Cavern. Bonal fide cavers can get keys if they search hard enough. I managed to do so in the 60's when the caves were less well known.

OK guys mini rant over :read:


Well-known member
FastBuckLee said:
YDog Hole again needs a key.  I'm not actutally sure what the reasoning is behind locking it, but DCUC can supply a key. 

Because as you can see from my last post the extension was trashed. I have photos of the Main Chamber in Dog Hole when it was first discovered. The floor was a beautiful glittering mass of crystal dominated by a pristine beehive formation. I have a photo of it with my wife looking at it. She was appalled when I returned to the extension to find the floor had been completed buggered up by ignorant gits who don't use their eyes. Some of the original explorers decided to gate it to protect the remaining formations. If you look at my web site you can see Prid 2 which can only be reached by divers. I am dure Prid and Dog Hole once looked like this!

Afton also would probably be in  a bad state if it wasn't for a gate.