Portland (Dorset)


The caves of this area are described in The Caves Of The Isle Of Portland by Mike O?Connor and Nigel Graham, Published 1996 by the WCC, ISBN 0 9500433 4 6.

Portland is heavily built up where it has not been quarried. Consequently the access details given here are practically unique in being directions to car parks rather than cave access notes.

Portland has no known formal access requirements, however many of the caves are reached from residential streets so please observe the usual courtesies e.g. no gung-ho driving, inconsiderate parking, indiscreet changing accompanied by high powered music and/or noisy bad language.

None of the caves are gated but a few lie within private enclosures (quarries). It is to be hoped that this freedom is reflected in responsible caving though sadly some of the caves are showing signs of wear. Even Blacknor, with its vertiginous entrance in a high cliff has suffered and worse still formations have been vandalised and even stolen from some caves. There are no restrictions on lighting but please use acetylene considerately. Please avoid making soot marks and/or leaving carbide dumps. If using carbide please note that most of the caves are dry or very nearly so.

The quarries are by and large open and some of the quarry access roads are public footpaths. The disused workings have a traditional recreational use and are rich in wildlife, despite illegal rubbish tipping. Strictly speaking the working quarries should only be entered with permission, although in the past local cavers have found that access can be obtained out of working hours without permission. Should you choose this latter course please do not climb upon, or tamper with, the vehicles and/or plant. You should also keep clear of newly blasted faces and should be polite, and leave the quarry quietly, if challenged. The CSCC cannot condone illegal access to any site of speleological interest.

WARNING: Cavers and Climbers on Portland, particularly at Westland, have had their ropes cut by vandals. If you cannot leave a sentry use a rigging technique that will not fail irretrievably under tampering.

Last modified 27th Dec 2010.
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To maintain good relations with the landowners if the location is published the access information should also be published.