Higher Kiln Quarry Caves

We are fortunate to have access to several caves in the quarry next door to the centre.

On the eastern side of Buckfastleigh Hill this disused quarry contains a number of cave entrances. It is approached from the main Buckfastleigh to Ashburton road by taking the turn marked Russets Lane.

The caves in Higher Kiln Quarry are an important winter hibernating site for Greater and Lesser Horseshoe Bats. The caves are therefore closed over the winter from mid September until after Easter.

The site is not sutable for pushchairs and we suggest the use of baby carriers. Wheelchair access to the quarry floor is not currently possible but can be used on the causeway to the Joint Mitnor Cave. Full assistance can be given to enter the cave if required.

Joint Mitnor Cave (also known as Bone Cave)

GR: SX 7434 6644

In which there is a most important and extensive deposit of bones of animals such as hyena, bison and elephants which lived in the Buckfastleigh area, during the Last Interglacial Period of about 125 000 years ago.


The cave may be visited by the general public as a part of the Guided Walks scheme on Wednesdays and Thursdays in August every year at 11am and 2pm. There is a charge for these walks.

Joint Mitnor Cave is open to groups of 10-15 people by arrangement between Easter and mid September. For contact information please go to out contact page.

Reeds Cave

GR: SX 7437 6642

One of the most richly decorated Devon caves, though only accessible to cavers; there are other important recreational caves close to the Centre.


Reeds Cave is open to bona fide members of caving clubs between Easter and mid September. The number of groups is limited to just 25 during this period and each group must not exceed 6 persons who must not be novice cavers, carry BCA insurance (or equivalent) and have clean caving gear with electric lighting. A leader is required for this cave. For contact information please go to our contact page.

Partition Cave

GR: SX 7434 6654

This small cave which has a length of about 25m is situated on the eastern side of the Reed’s Cave entrance. The entrance to Partition Cave is a low opening some 2m above ground level that leads into a low bedding plane chamber.

Disappointment Cave

GR: SX 7431 6650

The entrance is a small opening at the bottom of the quarry face a few metres to the south of Reed’s Cave. Just inside, the cave passage opens out. A small crawl leads off to the left parallel with the quarry face. The main passage continues until a small chamber, 3m high, is reached. There are some calcite formations in this chamber. The passages have a total length of 50m.

Rift Cave

GR: SX 7432 6650

Houses an important bat colony, and has been grilled with the assistance of the Worldwide Fund for Nature.

Spiders’ Hole

GR: SX 7437 6642

The entrance to this cave is at the southern end of Higher Kiln Quarry. Situated 2m above the quarry floor the entrance is a tube some 1.5m in diameter from which a tunnel slopes up to the right for 5m. This tunnel forks, the left hand branch opening into a small chamber but going no further. The way on is through a narrow opening in the floor with a 2.5m drop onto a ledge and a further 3m drop into a chamber. This bedding chamber is about 12m long and 6m wide but only about 1.5m high. The cave has a total length of 50m.