Kent's Cavern

These caves are of internatonal importance and are the closest visitor attraction to The Muntham Apartments and Town House. It is possible to walk to them in about ten minutes as they lie at the heart of The Wellswood area of Torquay.

Kents Cavern

Kent's Cavern - A Fascination Subterranean World

The story of the caves began about 2 million years ago when water seeped through cracks in the rock and began to carve out chambers below. For 1.6 million years the Earth went through enormous changes including repeated ice ages that could last for up to 100,000 years. These periods were then followed by periods of warmer climate.

During the ice ages sea levels dropped by up to 120 meters meaning that England was effectively joined to Europe and where the channel now is there were once vast forests.The remains of these are now submerged beneath the sea but at low tides it is possible to glimpse fossilised remains of trees along the coast.

The actual ice sheet never reached Devon (it stopped somewhere near Somerset) but the area around Devon would have resembled a frozen Tundra. A consequence of the repeated Ice Ages was that there was free movement of beasts back and forth between England and Europe and these animals thrived in the warmer periods when vegetation and animal life was in abundance. 

It is amazing to think that on the land upon which we now stand wild and exotic animals lived and hunted.

Kents Cavern

Evidence of Life In The Caves

Cave Bears are the oldest remains found in the caves at 500,000 years old. The bears used the caves as a place of hibernation & it is likely that some died in the winter. Remains of Cave Lions have also been found. They are larger counterparts to modern African Lions & lived in the caves between 20,000 & 50,000 years ago.

Amongst some of the more dramtic animals to leave remains in the caves are Woolly Mammoths & Woolly Rhinos. Remain of Mammoths ended up in the caves probably because they were the prey of hyeanas that lived in the caves & who dragged parts of them back there and this is probably true also of the Rhinos. The Hyenas that lived in the caves were larger than their modern counterparts and scavenged what they could find just like their modern equivalents. Chillingly, they also hunted at night in packs of up to 30 attacking the Rhinos and Mammoths but also creatures like dear, bison and horses.

Evidence of human existence around the caves goes back as far as 500,000 years as there are tools which are thought to have been washed into the caves. Actual human remains of a jaw bone & teeth were found in the 1920's & are now believed to be about 40,000 years old making them the earliest human remains found in north western Europe. These remains date from a period when there was not just one species of human around but several.

There is also evidence of Roman visitors to the caves and votive offerings have been found. 

Kents Cavern

Kent's Cavern today

At the end of the Victorian period and beginning of twentieth century the caves became what we would recognise today as a visitor attraction. It is likely that Agatha Christie would have been amongst these early visitors as the caves make an appearance in one of her books - The Man in The Brown Suit.

For 21st century visitors, there are timed tours of the caves in the company of a guide. It is strongly recommened that visitors book their visit in advance. On site there is a gift shop as well as cafe and toilets.

Throughout the year there are a number of events set in the caves including at Christmas when there are Carols in the Caves and at Halloween.

Click Here To Visit The Kent's Cavern Website

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