Author Topic: Brixham caves?  (Read 9399 times)

Offline bagpuss

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Brixham caves?
« on: August 20, 2011, 02:14:36 pm »
Hi,
We are going to be staying down in Devon in October halfterm. Relying on public transport so any visit to Buckfastleigh or Chudleigh would be out of the question due to the not so good bus service. Last time we visited Brixham I'm sure I remember one of the people in the museum mentioning that there were caves in Brixham. Has anyone ever visited them?

So far I've found this page, but it doesn't give grid refs or photos:
http://www.torbytes.co.uk/op/tm4/lv2/item1408.htm

Offline Les W

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Re: Brixham caves?
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2011, 03:15:12 pm »
Where in Devon will you be?
I'm a very busy person

Offline bagpuss

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Re: Brixham caves?
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2011, 03:16:44 pm »
Not booked up, but likely to be nr to Brixham - close to Churston.

Offline Les W

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Re: Brixham caves?
« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2011, 03:29:42 pm »
Ther are a few caves down at Berry Head some accesible only at low tide. There are some in the quarry but be warned, the whole area is a country park and nature reserve. Parts of the clifts are completely out of bounds (important bird reserve) There are known bat roosts and wardens.
That said there is also access to some of the caves there. You need to contact local cavers.

There is some info on the DCUC web site but not sure what at the moment.

I presume you have been to Kents Cavern (a show cave but worth a look even so).

Mr Oldhams book (Concise caves of Devon) will give you more info...

I'm a very busy person

Offline bagpuss

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Re: Brixham caves?
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2011, 03:33:56 pm »
Thanks Les. We've visited Kents Cavern before when my little un was small.

The DCUC lists the caves, but no locations. Will work my way through the lists to see what is nr by.

Offline Les W

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Re: Brixham caves?
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2011, 03:43:21 pm »
Why not get hold of Mr Oldhams book?
It will tell you everything you need to know.
Pretty sure he will be only too happy to sell you one...
I'm a very busy person

Offline The Old Ruminator

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Re: Brixham caves?
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2011, 06:15:56 pm »
I went in Brixham " Cavern "many years ago. It was sort of a show cave then and must have been singularly unexciting as I cant remember a darn thing about it other than it was on the side of a hill behind a house.

Must have been Windmill Hill Cave closed 1977.

During the Victorian period Brixham’s three principal fossil “bone” caverns (Windmill Hill Cavern, Ash Hole Cavern and Bench Cavern) attracted much scientific attention, but are now largely forgotten, especially since the closure of the Windmill Hill Cavern in 1977 (a very popular show cave with locals and visitors alike). The Museum exhibition therefore aims to “reinstate” the importance of the caverns, explaining the circumstances of how each cavern was discovered, explored and the  how fossil discoveries made in them contributed to our knowledge of extinct prehistoric animals that once roamed Brixham (including woolly rhinoceros, cave bear and spotted hyaena) during the last ice age. It was during pioneering scientific excavations at Windmill Hill Cavern (also known as The Brixham Bone Cavern and Philp’s Cavern) carried out by the eminent palaeontologist William Pengelly in 1858 that irrefutable evidence was uncovered proving the great antiquity of man, a contentious question in Victorian times.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2011, 06:37:55 pm by The Old Ruminator »

Offline The Old Ruminator

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Re: Brixham caves?
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2011, 06:48:36 pm »
Here is an early view of Windmill Hill Cave entrance.




Brixham Museum may have further details.

BRIXHAM HERITAGE MUSEUM
The Old Police Station
New Road
Brixham
Devon
TQ5 8LZ
Telephone: 01803 856267


E-Mail: mail@brixhamheritage.org.uk


Online Roger W

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Re: Brixham caves?
« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2011, 08:14:24 pm »
I can vaguely remember visiting Windmill Hill Cave - must have been back in the early 1950's.  Like TOR, I too must have found it singularly uninteresting.  We were on holiday in Torquay at the time and had visited Kent's Cavern - an altogether more memorable place - and had a day out to Brixham.  Had a look at the "show cave" there but can only remember the disappointment, nowt about the cave itself - though if I was able to visit it again, a few memories might come back...
"That, of course, is the dangerous part about caves:  you don't know how far they go back, sometimes... or what is waiting for you inside."   JRR Tolkein: "The Hobbit"

Offline graham

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Re: Brixham caves?
« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2011, 09:36:05 pm »
Don't remember the details but I seem to remember someone at the BM telling me that Windmill Hill Cave had been bought a few years back. It has an interesting place in the history of archaeology.
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Offline mrodoc

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Re: Brixham caves?
« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2011, 05:13:03 pm »
Currently access to the caves on Berry Head is restricted to the summer months (bats) and there are approved leaders.  There is probably something like 600 metres of cave if it is all added together. There is an excellent Berry Head Atlas containing all the caves but whether it is still available from Chris Proctor I do not know. The owners of Brixham Cavern are not responding to my emails at present although intimated 18 months ago that the cave would be open again. I think the house above it is a holiday let. You can find the entrance on Google Earth if you know the number of the house which is in Mount Pleasant Street. Not far from Brixham is, of course, Afton Red Rift Cave, which is a very sporting trip. Key controlled by DCUC and in the other direction is Radford Cave at Plymouth.  Hope this helps and if you need more detailed info PM me.

Offline bagpuss

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Re: Brixham caves?
« Reply #11 on: August 22, 2011, 09:39:33 pm »
Thank you mrodoc. It's a shame Brixham Cavern is no longer open, although it doesn't sound hugely exciting, like Graham said it's got some interesting archeological history. We will be visiting in October so will be outside of the summer period so no visit to Berryhead do-able - no doubt we will take a stroll up there anyway and will be able to look into one of them via 'the batcam' as advertised on the Berryhead website.

Will have my 7 year old with me so Afton Red Rift Cave sounds a little too sporting for us as we'd probably only have room in our cases for our helmets! It's a shame as it sounds like an interesting cave, will have to come back for a visit another time.

Offline rhychydwr1

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Re: Brixham caves?
« Reply #12 on: August 23, 2011, 07:27:57 am »
For a seven year old, I would recommend Ash Hole at Brixham.  Google it for more details.

Offline mrodoc

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Re: Brixham caves?
« Reply #13 on: August 23, 2011, 07:30:59 pm »
Durl Head Cave is also worth a visit although involves a bit of a scramble down the cliff. It has a huge underground beach opening down a rift to the sea but the landward side is open so you can climb in and watch the sea crashing on the beach.

Offline bagpuss

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Re: Brixham caves?
« Reply #14 on: August 23, 2011, 08:44:11 pm »
Durl Head Cave is also worth a visit although involves a bit of a scramble down the cliff. It has a huge underground beach opening down a rift to the sea but the landward side is open so you can climb in and watch the sea crashing on the beach.

Thanks again for all the info. That one looks to be a bit too much of a scramble for the little one from the photos, also read that the local rangers take issue if birds are nesting.

Offline The Old Ruminator

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Re: Brixham caves?
« Reply #15 on: August 26, 2011, 10:14:40 am »
From the cave guide book.







Offline langcliffe

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Re: Brixham caves?
« Reply #16 on: August 26, 2011, 11:28:24 am »
Thanks for that, Old Ruminator.

I remember going in there in about 1964 when it was a show cave, and getting excited about the relatively unexplored "Steep Slide Hole", wishing that I could have a go at pushing it. I didn't actually start caving for another three years.

Offline rhychydwr1

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Re: Brixham caves?
« Reply #17 on: August 27, 2011, 02:17:39 pm »
Couple of Brixham Guide for sale on fleabay.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/400238175796?ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1426.l2649

Will be interested to see what they go for.  They are just pamphlets

Offline mrodoc

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Re: Brixham caves?
« Reply #18 on: September 18, 2011, 07:27:14 am »
For interest here is a short video I made very recently of one of the Brixham Caves. Do not expect Spielberg!



and also the JCB age has reached Devon see:

Offline rhychydwr1

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Re: Brixham caves?
« Reply #19 on: September 18, 2011, 10:51:01 am »
Couple of Brixham Guide for sale on fleabay.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/400238175796?ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1426.l2649

Will be interested to see what they go for.  They are just pamphlets

Went for an eye watering £17.33 + £1.00 post