Outlook Cave


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1010711

Date first listed: 27-Sep-1991


Ordnance survey map of Outlook Cave
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Somerset

District: Mendip (District Authority)

Parish: St. Cuthbert Out

National Grid Reference: ST 52464 48644


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

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.

The 21 sites in Somerset form the densest and one of the most important concentrations of this type of monument in the country. The importance of Outlook Cave lies in the occurrence of rare human remains associated with a Late Glacial fauna from a sealed context, areas of which still survive within the cave.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


Outlook Cave is situated high on the right bank of Ebbor Gorge, 58m above the current valley bottom and 50m below the plateau. It consists of an artificially widened entrance, c.1m wide and 1.5m high, leading to a small chamber extending c.12m and with a passage off to the east. A Mendip Nature Research Committee excavation in 1907 uncovered human and animal remains of Neolithic and later date, while, beneath a stalagmite floor, were reported human remains and reindeer bones. Although much of the cave has been excavated, archaeological deposits are believed to survive inside the eastern passage and on the north-west wall of the small chamber, sealed beneath a remnant of stalagmite floor. The monument, therefore, includes the cave and all of its remaining deposits.

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


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 13266

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Balch, H E, Mendip - the Great Cave of Wookey Hole, (1914)
Balch, H E, Wookey Hole, its Caves and Cave Dwellers, (1914)
Barrington, N, Stanton, W I, Mendip: The Complete Caves and a View of the Hills, (1977)
With RNEB and SNC, Jacobi, R M, With RNEB and SNC, (1986)

End of official listing