Mendips header
 Overview maps
 Locality areas
  Cheddar Gorge
 Burrington Combe
 Shipham & Rowberrow
 Crook Peak & Axbridge
 Banwell to Churchill
 Harptree & Smitham Hill
 Draycott & Westbury-sub
 Wookey Hole & Ebbor
 Great Elm & Vallis Vale
 Mells & the Wadbury Valley
 The Vobster area
 The Whatley area
 Torr Works & Asham Wood
 Beacon Hill
 Stoke St Michael & Oakhill
 Holwell & Nunney
 Shepton Mallet & Maesbury
 Gurney Slade & Emborough
 The Nettlebridge valley
 Rocks of Mendips
 Geological timescale
 Ancient environments
 Geological structure
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  Minerals and mines
 Industrial archaeology
  Stone as a resource
 Employment & the economy
 Quarrying & geodiversity
 Quarrying & the environment
 History of quarrying
 Caves and karst
 How caves form
 Dry valleys and gorges
 Dolines and sinkholes
 Mendip caves
 Going caving
  Flora and fauna
 Typical Mendip habitats
 Special Mendip habitats
 Horseshoe bats
 Appendix of names
 Biodiversity of western
 Biodiversity of eastern
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 Detailed site information
  Coal mining
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  East Mendip quarries
 Biodiversity of eastern
  West Mendip quarries
 Biodiversity of western
 Site map
Mendip caves
Introduction | Cheddar catchment | Wookey catchment | Burrington area | Eastern Mendip | Western Mendip

Western Mendip

Several old relict caves occur on western Mendip, the largest being Shute Shelve Cavern on Axbridge Hill. Originally discovered by ochre miners, the cave is a large old phreatic passage with much red and yellow ochre. On the western end of Banwell Hill are the Banwell Bone and Stalactite Caves. Discovered by miners in 1757, the Stalactite Cavern was open to the public for a while. The Bone Cave was discovered much later in 1824 and contained vast numbers of animal bones dating back from the early part of the last glaciation about 80 000 years ago. Many other small relict caves occur, some of which have been investigated by ochre miners.

Several caves occur on Sandford Hill, the largest being Mangle Hole. The bottom of this cave intersects the underground river feeding Banwell Risings.
  Banwell Bone Cave
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