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Home > Caves > Joint Mitnor

Joint Mitnor Cave

GR - SX 7434 6644

River Scene Talus Higer Kiln Quarry

Click pictures to see larger versions.

This cave discovered by Joint, Mitchel and Northey has a total length of 50m.

Just inside the entrance is a fair sized chamber to the left of which a talus cone of earth, boulders and bones covered by stalagmite slopes steeply upwards to form a rift. This talus once extended across the floor of the chamber but has since been excavated to reveal over 4000 bones of animals such as hippopotamus, bison, hyaena, and straight-tusked elephants dated to the lpswichian stage of the Pleistocene period.

The cave contains the richest deposit of mammalian remains of the Last Interglacial age (probably about l00,000 years old) yet found in a British cave. These animals had apparently fallen down a shaft in the roof of the cave, since blocked, and their remains were buried below in a talus cone of earth and stones.

Extensive excavations were carried out in 1939-41 by the Torquay Natural History Society, who found remains of the hippopotamus and other warm climate animals, that are now preserved in the Torquay Museum. In 1960 Leslie Neale, Deputy Head Keeper of Paignton Zoological Gardens, began setting up the cave as a scientific demonstration site and,with the aid of grants from the Nature Conservancy.

Straight ahead some steps lead into an excavated tunnel that leads into a low stream passage. To the right of the chamber a promising passage goes for a few metres but it soon deteriorates into a low, wide bedding plane.

Joint Mitnor is a show cave opened at specific times to the public by the William Pengelly Cave Studies Trust. Admittance at other times can only be made with the prior arrangement of the Trust.