Kents Cavern

About this route

Kents Cavern is fascinating for both its geology and human history. It boasts beautiful and spectacular geological formations and significant prehistoric finds, including flint hand-axes dating from over 450,000 years ago. Indeed, it is one of the oldest recognisable human occupation sites in Britain.

The oldest human bone ever found in Britain was discovered in Kents Cavern, a jawbone dated at 37-40,000 years old. Scientific research is ongoing to discover if the bone is from a Neanderthal or a modern human.

Getting Around

On foot: leave the South West Coast Path near The Palace Hotel.

By bus: services run between Exeter and Wellswood in Torquay, visit the Travel Devon website for more information.

By road: follow the A380 to Torquay harbour and then follow the brown tourist signs to Kents Cavern.

Visit the Kents Cavern website for opening times and admission charges.

Restaurant, shop, licensed bar and guided tours available.
Relatively flat with just 9 steps, some narrow sections.

Interesting information

The caves are within the Devonian limestone and were formed by water erosion over millions of years. Interestingly, although the limestone is naturally white, much of Kents Cavern appears reddish-brown due to the iron oxide contained in the material above (similar to the south Devon soil).

Some of the most notable geological features are formations of calcium carbonate also known as calcite. These include impressive stalagmites (growing from the floor). Kents Cavern has yielded some important fossil remains including such remarkable creatures as sabre-toothed cat, cave bear, mammoth and woolly rhinoceros. Many of the larger bones clearly show the marks of hyena teeth.

Photo inside Kents Cavern showing stalactites and stalagmites
Kents Cavern by Sarah Charlesworth

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