Pengelly Logo

WILLIAM PENGELLY CAVE STUDIES TRUST


Home
Trust
Centre
Caves
Museum
Contacts
Publications
Library
News
History
Events
Studies
Home > Caves > Rift

RIFT CAVE

GR - SX 7432 6647

AmphipodRift Cave Higher Kiln Quarry

Click pictures to see larger versions.

Between Reed's Cave and Joint Mitnor Cave is the entrance to Rift Cave, a short narrow cave of considerable height formed along a fault traversing the limestone. This cave, which, together with some of the other caves in Higher Kiln Quarry, is commonly inhabited in the winter by Horseshoe Bats. At the end of rift cave is a small pool containing the blind amphipod Niphargus Glenniei, described as a new species as recently as 1951, and not yet recorded outside Devon.

Rift Cave has two entrances. The northern entrance is 4m wide and 2m high and leads, via a climb, to Right Hand Chamber. This entrance has been gated and is no longer accessible. Access to the cave is through the southern entrance which is a rift about 3m high.

Just inside this entrance a climb over a bank of stalagmite leads into Right Hand Chamber; a low platform of calcite formed along the bedding plane.

The way on to the rift is a passage to the left just inside the entrance. This passage is only a metre or so wide but in many places it reaches 7m in height. The walls here are frequently covered in red flowstone. This ends in a small chamber some 3m high which has a large pool on its floor. To the left it is possible to climb over the calcite to a further rift some 5m high which ends in a small chamber. The cave has a total length of 15Om.

The main rift continues from the entrance passageway and is reached by a climb up the right hand wall and onto a ledge. The rift can be followed to a small hole, through which it is possible to wriggle, that leads into a further rift that soon becomes tight.

Much of the early work on Greater Horseshoe bats was carried out in this cave and access is strictly limited. Access is controlled by the William Pengelly Cave Studies Trust.