Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Cow Cave, Chudleigh Rocks

A Scheduled Monument in Chudleigh, Devon

We don't have any photos of this monument yet. Why don't you be the first to send us one?

Upload Photo »

Approximate Location Map
Large Map »

If Google Street View is available, the image is from the best available vantage point looking, if possible, towards the location of the monument. Where it is not available, the satellite view is shown instead.


Latitude: 50.5967 / 50°35'48"N

Longitude: -3.6054 / 3°36'19"W

OS Eastings: 286469.79442

OS Northings: 78668.860881

OS Grid: SX864786

Mapcode National: GBR QR.1WXK

Mapcode Global: FRA 37BH.97H

Entry Name: Cow Cave, Chudleigh Rocks

Scheduled Date: 6 February 1992

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010726

English Heritage Legacy ID: 10720

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Chudleigh

Built-Up Area: Chudleigh

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Chudleigh St Martin and St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


Cow Cave lies on the north side of the Kate Brook Valley, about 60m west of
Pixie's Hole and at a similar level. It consists of an arched entrance, c.5m
wide and 4.5m high, and a passage which leads north for about 13m before
turning eastwards and westwards in a `T'-configuration. There is a weak active
spring at the back of the cave which keeps the floor waterlogged. The eastern
arm of the `T' is choked with sediment and, as it lies only 12m from the
westernmost extension of Pixie's Hole, the two are believed to connect.
Outside the entrance of Cow Cave is a wide platform which contains spoil
resulting from excavations in the inter-war period. These produced possible
Middle Palaeolithic finds as well as artefacts and faunal material of Upper
Palaeolithic age. Deposits on the cave wall and in the choked passage are
believed to contain further archaeological evidence of these periods. The
monument includes the main `T'-shaped passage and its deposits and also
deposits within a radius of 5m in front of the cave mouth.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Palaeolithic caves and rock shelters provide some of the earliest evidence of
human activity in the period from about 400,000 to 10,000 years ago. The
sites, all natural topographic features, occur mainly in hard limestone in the
north and west of the country, although examples also exist in the softer
rocks of south-east England. Evidence for human occupation is often located
near the cave entrances, close to the rock walls or on the exterior platforms.
The interiors sometimes served as special areas for disposal and storage or
were places where material naturally accumulated from the outside. Because of
the special conditions of deposition and preservation, organic and other
fragile materials often survive well and in stratigraphic association. Caves
and rock shelters are therefore of major importance for understanding this
period. Due to their comparative rarity, their considerable age and their
longevity as a monument type, all examples with good survival of deposits are
considered to be nationally important.

Cow Cave is one of three caves in the valley known to contain significant
Palaeolithic deposits. Although partly excavated the cave retains considerable
potential for archaeological and environmental evidence and, importantly, for
preserving evidence of rare Middle Palaeolithic contexts.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Alexander, J J, 'Transactions of the Torquay Natural History Society' in Reports of the Committee, , Vol. 7.1, (1935), 73-74
SX87NE-063, REF SX87NE-063,

Source: Historic England

Other nearby scheduled monuments is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact for any queries related to any individual ancient or schedued monument, planning permission related to scheduled monuments or the scheduling process itself. is a Good Stuff website.