Thursday, 16 September 2010

Days Out in Devon: Buckfastleigh Caves

Even though I've lived in the county for nearly thirty years, I've been told that I still do not qualify as a Devonian, however many cream teas that I stuff down my neck.  But my time here does mean that I know a little bit more about things to do than the average Joe Tourist.  So, with my Days Out in Devon posts I've been trying to share some more obscure ideas for places to visit.  Not that there's anything wrong with some of the well known attractions.  Crealy and Woodlands are ace but they are big enough to publicise themselves.

Buckfastleigh Caves is a little known site that just qualifies as a visitor attraction because it's  open very infrequently.   On Wednesdays and Thursdays in August at 11am and 2pm, members of the William Pengelly Trust run guided tours for the public but also allow visits at other time  by arrangement.   I sneaked onto a tour given for Louis' Beaver Colony and was very pleased that I did so.  Although not all the caves in the vicinity of the visitor's centre accessible to the public, the tour, through a quarry to Joint Mitnor Cave, is fascinating for adults and children alike.  We were told about the geology of the site, quarrying in the area and the awesome animals who used to live in the vicinity of the cave - as evidenced by their bony remains! 

One of the caves is the home to the largest colony of Horseshoe Bats in the country. I was disappointed that it wasn't quite dark enough on our early evening visit to see them flying. But I understand that Autumn Watch may be filming soon so I'll make do with watching the televised display and  spotting the smaller varieties of bats that come out at twilight from their roost in the trees close to home!

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