The Devil’s Arse

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

spring-012

Queen Victoria may not have been amused by the local name for the cavern, but it seems a perfect description of the place in many ways. The vast cave mouth is the largest of its kind in Britain and is the entrance to a subterranean labyrinth of caves and passageways that snake deep beneath the limestone cliffs.  Local folklore says that the name refers to the flatulent sounds made by water receding through the tunnels cut by the underground streams. Whatever the truth of the matter, the name has been around for a very long time. In 1536, William Camden recorded in his Britannia:

…there is a cave or hole within the ground called, saving your reverence, The Devils Arse, that gapeth with a wide mouth and hath in it many turnings and retyring roomes, wherein, for sooth, Gervase of Tilbury, whether for want of knowing the truth, or…

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