Langwith Cave


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
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Ordnance survey map of Langwith Cave
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Bolsover (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SK 51799 69497

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 Palaeolithic caves of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire belong to a major regional group of which the monument at Langwith is an important example due to the survival of extensive deposits both inside and outside the cave.


Langwith Cave is situated on the north side of the Poulter Valley, some 6m above the valley floor and no more than two metres below the road above. It consists of a small circular chamber measuring c.7m x c.6m with a number of passages leading off. Two of these, to the west and north, connect with the surface. The cave has produced Neolithic material, in the form of a human burial and a small fragment of an infants skull, but its main significance lies in the Later Upper Palaeolithic remains. Partial excavations carried out between 1903 and 1912 by E.H. Mullins, and in 1927 by D.A.E. Garrod, have revealed numerous flint artefacts from the lowest horizon within the cave, including curved-back and angle-back points. In addition bones of cold climate fauna, including reindeer and woolly rhinoceros, were recovered and there is structural evidence from the lowest horizon within the cave in the form of several hearths. Unexcavated portions remain inside the cave, towards the back of the south-west passages, and significant quantities of material are anticipated to survive in the lower of the two western passages. The important lowest horizon is known to have extended well outside the cave where substantial talus deposits have been left largely undisturbed by excavation. The monument includes all the deposits of the interior of the cave and outside the cave includes an area of 6m radius around the mouth of the cave.

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.

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Books and journals
Campbell, J B, The Upper Palaeolithic of Britain, (1977)
Ford, T D, Gill, D W, Caves of Derbyshire, (1984)
Jenkinson, R D S, Creswell Crags: Late Pleistocene Sites in the East Midlands, (1984)
Mullins, E H, The Ossiferous Cave at Langwith, (1913)
Copy, Creswell Crags Visitor Centre, Garrod, D A E, Report of Excavs at Langwith Cave, Derbyshire, April 1927, (1927)


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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