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The Caves Of Sand Bay

By Nick Richards and Nick Harding

A line of limestone sea cliffs forms the north side of Worlebury Hill. These are mainly developed in the Goblin Combe Oolites which dip 30 – 35 degrees S. There are a number of vertical rifts formed in neptunean dykes (and in one instance a calcite-galena vein) where the softer material has been washed out by the action of the sea. Most of these are of no importance and only two are worth mentioning. Several small phreatic caves however, do occur.

From east to west these caves are…

1.         Ochre Rift.  NGR 3177 6287 L 10m VR 1m

Unroofed phreatic rift forming a 1m deep trench over 10m long and 1m wide located above the shore on a prominent ledge. The cave has been filled with a colourful, banded ochre deposit (well seen at its eastern end). Good solution hollows can be seen on its walls.

2.         Candle Stub Cave.  NGR 3170 6283 L 9m VR 3m

Alcove 5m wide, 2m high and 3m long. Inside, on the left and 1.5m up the wall a circular horizontal tube <1m wide rapidly closes down after 6m.A candle stub in a recess is the reminder of one of the co-authors (Richards) last visit in 1978!  There is a little flowstone.

3.         Black Rock Cave.  NGR 3150 6268 L 21m  VR 6m

By far the largest phreatic cave in Sand Bay. After a 2m step up from the beach a 4.5m unroofed section of passage leads to an entrance 1.9m wide and 1.4m high. This opens into a roomy L-shaped chamber some 16m long and up to 4m high and wide to a large second entrance (5m by 3m), which is reached by a 4m climb.

 

Black Rock Cave

4.         Ochre Pit.  NGR 3138 6273 L 6m  VR 2m

At the top of the metal steps which lead down to the beach. The footpath passes through a pit (6m by 2m) over 2m deep. There is a prominent ochre deposit and small solution hollows can be seen in the walls.

5.         Sighing Cave. NGR 3103 6258  L 3m VR 2m

A small blowhole sea cave 3m long pinches in to a too tight second entrance in the roof.

6.         The Blowhole.  NGR 3102 6258 L 8m  VR 3m

Crawl over pebbles leads to small chamber 2.3m long, 1.3m wide and 0.9m high. On the left is a chimney 3m high to a second entrance on the prominent sloping bedding plane just west of the tea-rooms. Halfway up the chimney a frightening squeeze (now choked with pebbles) twists about 2m to a third entrance.

7.         Dripping Well.

In Spring Cove. Small sloping bedding plane displays two hand-cut basins, which fill with fresh water derived from seepages along the limestone/basalt interface.

8.         Anchor Head Cave. NGR 3083 6233  L 15m  VR 4m

A sea cave. Roomy passage 1.6m wide and 4m high (at entrance) diminishes in size to a crawl and dead end at 15m. Now choked at 10m by park bench.

 

A Weston-S-Mare urban legend states that this cave leads for about 2 miles to its other entrance in a quarry in Manor road (behind the locked doors of an electricity sub station). We first heard of this in school in the 1970s and has been perpetuated ever since. More recently one drunken acquaintance even described the trip through!