The Rock Gardens

The Rock - Chudleigh Rocks - Chudleigh Cavern - Pixies Cave

Useful Information

cave entrance.
© Anne Oldham, with kind permission.
Location: Chudleigh. A38 towards Plymouth, at the end of the village turn off, 300 m. (NGR SX 8649/7877)
Open: Easter to SEP daily 9:30-16:30. [2005]
Fee: Adults GBP 3, Children GBP 1.50, OAPs GBP 1.50, Family (2+2) GBP 7.50. [2005]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: A=58 m asl, L=56 m, VR=15 m.
Guided tours: Self guided.
Bibliography: (2002): Visitor's Guide to The Rock Nursery Gardens and Walk, K F Boulton & Son 15 pp, colour photos.
Description of Chudleigh Cavern and other caves in the area.
Address: The Rock Gardens, Station Hill, Chudleigh, Newton Abbot, Devon, TQ13 OEE, Tel: +44-1626-852134, Fax: +44-1626-852134. E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1835 caverns discovered by quarrying.


the cave passage.
© Anne Oldham, with kind permission.

The old Palace Quarry was an open cast limestone quarry. After it was abandoned, the place was transformed into a really nice garden with rocks, waterfalls, ponds and caves. The caves are both, by quarrying works excavated caverns and natural caves which were opened by the quarry works. There are numerous small caves on the premises, but the most interesting one, close to the waterfall, is illuminated and has paved paths. Visitors are allowed in the cave without a guide when visiting the gardens.

Another cave, called Pixies Cave is closed by an iron gate. It is used by a colony of Greater Horseshoe bats, and is gated to protect the bats from the visitors of the gardens.

The gardens are located at the foot of the impressive outcrop of Chudleigh Rock. The rocks are used by climbers, but as they are very popular for decades now, the routes are polished. There are also caving trips for beginners into Chudleigh Cavern, but as this cave is very small the tours are intended for kids or beginners.

The low entrance to this cave is situated at the foot of some stone steps in a small pit in the north west corner of The Rock grounds. The cave was discovered by quarrying in 1835 and was kept locked as a show cave for some time. Most of the formations have now been spoilt or removed. The main series is a 120 foot long rift passage with a 20 foot pitch after the first 60 feet. At the far side of the pitch some squeezes lead to a decorated series. Descent of the pitch brings one into the lower series, a 65 foot rift beneath the entrance series. The far end is choked by boulders, while the end nearest the entrance is too tight to negotiate.

Tackle required - 20 foot ladder, 30 foot lifeline or 30 foot handline belayed to obvious steel spike.
Access - Mr. Boulton, The Rock, Chudleigh.
Archaeological remains - Plymouth Institution Museum; Geological Survey Museum, London; Torquay Natural History Museum.

From The Concise Caves of Devon, reprinted by kind permission of the authors, Tony Oldham, Anne Oldham and Jim Smart.

Recently the cave was reopened to the public. A flight of steps leads down into the cave and the 36 m long rift passage is now illuminated by electric light.

Text by Tony Oldham (2005). With kind permission.

The Rock Gardens Gallery