Cow Cave, Chudleigh Rocks


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1010726

Date first listed: 06-Feb-1992


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

County: Devon

District: Teignbridge (District Authority)

Parish: Chudleigh

National Grid Reference: SX 86469 78668


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.

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.


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


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.

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: 10720

Legacy System: RSM


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,

End of official listing