The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian


Banwell Bone Caves

Cave / Rock Shelter

<b>Banwell Bone Caves</b>Posted by vulcanImage © vulcan
Nearest Town:Weston-Super-Mare (7km W)
OS Ref (GB):   ST383588 / Sheet: 182
Latitude:51° 19' 27.84" N
Longitude:   2° 53' 8.09" W

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<b>Banwell Bone Caves</b>Posted by vulcan <b>Banwell Bone Caves</b>Posted by vulcan <b>Banwell Bone Caves</b>Posted by vulcan <b>Banwell Bone Caves</b>Posted by vulcan


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Visited 11.9.11

We really enjoyed our time here. The site is only open to the public a couple of weekends per year and I would certainly recommend a visit if you are able.

The surrounding roads were well sign posted (off Well Lane) and the parking area was in a field near the caves. Admission was free.

There are two caves (the stalagmite cave is not open) a 'druids temple', folly tower and a couple of other quirky buildings in the process of being re-built. There are also nice woodland walks and refreshments were available from the main house – lovely views to be had from the patio area.

The Bone Caves themselves is obviously the highlight of the day. The cave being much bigger than I expected. Access is via a set of steep slipper steps. Lit by candles in jam jars – no electricity here!

Once in the cave there were many nooks and crannies also lit by candle which gave the place a nice atmosphere despite lots of people being present. There are several information boards and guides at hand to ask questions. It is odd to see so many bones still stacked up in piles around the cave. Of particular interest were the whale ribs you walk through when descending the steps – it's not every day you do that!

A guide book is available to buy at £5.00 which looked a bit steep although all proceeds go towards the upkeep and development of the site.
All in all a great way to spend a few hours and a place I would heartily recommend visiting.

The site will be open in 2012 on the following dates:
Sunday 27th May – 10.30am to 4.30pm
Saturday and Sunday 8th and 9th September – 10.30am to 4.30pm

I forgot to mention the 'mock' ancient stones also found at the caves. The path through the woods towards the tower has pairs of standing stones about 30 metres apart - now largely covered in ivy. Also, the mound on which the tower stands has a row of standing stones all around its base. Looks like a recreated ring cairn?
Interesting to see, the stone blocks are very large and must have taken a bit of shifting!

Posted by CARL
12th September 2011ce
Edited 14th September 2011ce

This place is quite an astonishing curiosity. It lies underneath a house called, unsurprisingly, "The Caves" and was open to the paying public until about 1840. As you walk down the steps into the main chamber you are presented with the sight of thousands of bones stacked neatly from floor to roof, bones of bear, ox, wolf & deer. Apparently loads more of the more interesting ones were taken away(where to ?). Later the cave belonged to a Bishop Law who reckoned that the bones were proof of the Biblical Flood and put several monuments/ grottos in the garden above to put across his point! Worth a visit although the garden was a bit overgrown when I went there. Access is only granted a couple of times a year, generally on those days when all sorts of other, usually private, places are open. Local newspaper would have the dates. jimit Posted by jimit
28th April 2003ce


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The cave was discovered in 1824/5 when miners digging a tunnel in the nearby Stalactite Cave, broke into the Bone Chamber to find that it was completly choked with cave earth and countless Late Pleistcene animal bones. It's thought that the cave roof was open for thousands of years and the animals just fell in.
William Beard excavated here until about 1840 but no new explorations were done until the Axbridge Caving Group started again in the 1950s and extended the cave to its present length.
jimit Posted by jimit
28th April 2003ce