The Devon Karst Research Society.
Cattedown, Plymouth, Devon, England, U.K.

Updated on 29 March 2007.

There are two principal U.K. Government Agencies who are empowered by the appropriate Legislation to apply protection schedules to sites, if after evaluation the sites are both deemed to fall within the remit of the Agency itself and to have been deemed important enough by the appropriate Agency to be protected by Law. In England, the two Agencies are English Heritage, the Government's statutory advisor which deals specifically with the historic man-made environment or locations with an important association of anthropogenic activity; the other Agency is Natural England, (formerly English Nature), the Government's statutory advisor which deals specifically with special locations of the natural environment. In theory, it is possible to have any given location endowed with both an Ancient or National Monument Scheduling and to be included as a Special Site of Scientific Interest. In practice, such a situation is rare in South Devon. The appropriate uniqueness of an identified location may warrant its prompt protection. However, where many examples of the same type of important location or site exists, only the best example(s) will be protected by Law. Thus, in the UK., all important sites are not protected.
At Cattedown, we are fortunate enough to have three Scheduled Areas imposed upon different karst sites, two of which are in the same locale. Legal Protection Orders or "Scheduling" does not necessarily come without its own bureaucratic problems and we will highlight and constructively discuss each flaw or problem in turn, as it affects each of the two sites. The other issue is that "Scheduling" does not give ultimate protection and that if it could be justified that a Site be "de-Scheduled" in favour of a Planning Development, then in the worse-case scenario, this is exactly what could happen.
The following paragraphs offer some details of each of the three Scheduled Sites at Cattedown, by reproducing the text of the relevant Site Citation documents, which are in the Public Domain. Please note that any enquiries or discussion on the general or factual content of the text of the Site Citations, should be directed to the local office of the appropriate Agency and not to the Society.

Agency Contact addresses are :-

English Heritage Head Office, 23 Savile Row, LONDON, W1X 1AB.
[Tel. 0207 9733000 or Fax 0207 9733001].
English Heritage South West Regional Office, 29 Queen Square, BRISTOL, BS1 4ND.
[Tel. 0117 9750700 or Fax 0117 9750701].
English Heritage Customer Services Department, (to obtain Leaflets & published information), PO Box 569., SWINDON, SN2 2YP.
[Tel. 0870 3331181 or Fax 01793 414926].
or, the English Heritage website can be found at :
Natural England (was English Nature) :
Head Office, Northminster House, PETERBOROUGH, PE1 1UA.,  [Tel. 0845 600 3078].
Devon Team Offices,
...................Level 2., Renslade House, Bonhay Road, EXETER, Devon, EX4 3AW.  [Tel. 01392 889770].

or,...............2nd Floor, 11-15 Dix's Field, EXETER, Devon, EX1 1QA.  [Tel: 01392 477150].
or,...............1st Floor, Estuary House, Peninsula Park, Rydon Lane, EXETER, Devon, EX2 7XE.  [Tel: 01392 352000].

The Natural England national website can be found at :

which contains many of the Site Citations for Sites notified as Special Sites of Scientific Interest or SSSI's.

Other related Contact Addresses are :-
Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)., 2-4 Cockspur Street, LONDON, SW1Y 5DH
[Tel. 020 7973 3000]
The DCMS website can be found at :

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)., Nobel House, 17, Smith Square, LONDON, SW1P 3JR.
[Tel. 020 7238 6000 or 08459 335577].
The DEFRA website can be found at :

[Please remember that if you have any issue with the Scheduling Process, each of the two Agencies can only perform their duties within the remit of the appropriate Legislation laid down by Parliament. It is not in the gift of the Agencies to change the Law. Only through making representations to your Member of Parliament can the Law be changed.]
Where the Society has commented upon the general or factual content of the text, we are of course more than happy to enter into a constructive discussion on any points of contention you may have with issues that we have raised in our own statements.

Link to the Webpage
containing the Official Documentation relating to
the Map Extracts of the Constraint Line Boundary
(ready for Web-publishing and awaiting SAR approval)

15.2.1.    English Heritage have identified and Scheduled for State Protection, areas containing and partly surrounding the surviving parts of Worth's Cattedown Bone Cave, situated largely, though not exclusively within the confines of the Plymouth Oil Terminal of Chevron Ltd.
15.2.2.    The Site Citation :
The Society has received permission from the English Heritage Regional Office to reproduce the text verbatim from their "Schedule Entry Copy" Document relating to this very important National Monument. We reproduce the whole of the Document as given.

The text of the Site Citation or "Schedule Entry Copy"  is reproduced verbatim by kind permission of
English Heritage.
Department for Culture, Media and Sport Batch Number :  10657
File Reference :  AA 79935/1
Entry in the Schedule of Monuments compiled and maintained by the Secretary of State under Section 1 of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended.
Scheduling Date :  07 July 1999.

Monument :  Worth's Cattedown Bone Cave, 150m north of Cattedown Wharves.
Parish :   Plymouth.
District :  Plymouth.
County :  Plymouth.
National Monument No :  SM 29678.
National Grid Reference(s) :  SX 4947 5360.

The monument includes the surviving remains of Worth's Cattedown Bone Cave, a cave of two similar sized chambers joined by a narrow fissure and with numerous further fissures which extended to the former ground surface above, and to sea level. It lies within a more extensive limestone bluff which has undergone weathering to produce the characteristic fissures and rock formations. The monument overlooks Cattewater, at the mouth of the River Plym on the eastern side of Plymouth Sound, and the cave lies within the face and former floor of a quarry.

The quarry floor survives as an isolated rock shelf at the base of the quarry face, part of which has been removed for a railway tunnel and part of which lies beneath some raised consolidation material. Archaeological investigation in the late 19th century, following a reworking of the quarry floor in 1886, included the partial excavation of the main chambers, and a study of bones from the excavated cave earth established the presence within the cave of human and faunal remains which are considered to date from before the end of the last Ice Age.
The chambers were partly truncated and exposed by quarrying but most of their cave deposits were intact beneath their quarried roof. Not all of the chamber or fissure deposits were fully excavated nor their depth ascertained, but cave earth was recorded to a maximum depth of over 8m below the quarry floor in the larger northern chamber. Although bone remains were found in the majority of deposits throughout the cave, the northern chamber had the more complex sequence with a stalagmite floor 0.5m thick sealing a stalagmitic breccia containing articulated skeletons; this in turn sealed concreted bone-bearing cave earth in which the bones were more dispersed. The remains of at least 15 individual hominids of both sexes, and including children and adults, were recovered from both of the main levels of cave deposit in direct association with the bones of 33 different faunal species including cave lion, rhinoceros, wolf and hyaena. The faunal remains have been classified as being characteristic of the Devensian (last glacial) period (60 000 - 10 000 BP - ie. years before present); that is within the middle to later Upper Palaeolithic era in Britain, with a closer date of 14 000 BP or earlier being considered more probable for the group as a whole. Evidence for the use of tools was provided by a single flint core or hammer stone from which flakes had been struck, which was recovered from the cave earth. Charcoal fragments encased in stalagmite attested to the presence of fire deep within the cave.

The quarry floor containing the cave site was left unworked during the 19th century excavations whilst quarrying continued around it and this quarrying evidently did not continue once the cave investigations were complete. The results of the excavations were published in 1887 and the cave later became known as Worth's Bone Cave, after the principal excavator, R N Worth. Over the course of the decades following excavation, the quarry floor, which remained isolated on a rock shelf several metres above the surrounding ground surface, became covered in stone tumble, scree, vegetation, and part artificial consolidation, which served to seal the cave. Its precise location was lost until a survey by the Devon Karst Research Society in 1980 once again determined its position and recorded one of the chamber walls and many of the associated fissures surviving on the quarry face and floor. The bone assemblage from the cave, although damaged by bombing in World War II, and the flint core are retained by Plymouth City Museum.

The railway tunnel which passes through the monument from south west to north east is not included in the scheduling, although the ground above the tunnel is included.
All fencing and the stone-built triangulation point on the top of the quarry face are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is included.

Palaeolithic caves and rock shelters provide some of the earliest evidence of human activity in the period 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.
Despite some loss to quarrying and partial excavation of the cave earth, Worth's Cattedown Bone Cave, which includes a number of associated fissures, will preserve intact deposits of Late Glacial (Upper Palaeolithic) origin, which have been shown by excavation to be extremely rich in contemporary remains. The limestone outcrops in the Plymouth area have been almost entirely quarried out and this monument provides one of the few remaining examples where such remains will survive.
Authorised by :  I. Newton, on behalf of the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport under batch no :  10657.

15.2.3.    Comments by the Society :
 1.  General :    As with the protection of any natural site location, context is important and in the case of caves, is critical. The nature and disposition of this particular Site relies very much on maintaining the maximum area of surrounding environmental context, if only because so much has already been destroyed at the time of the 1886-87 discoveries and notwithstanding the more recent devastating effects of so-called "commercial development" which has removed a locally-large area of contiguous context environment. For this latter sad state of affairs, we can only but blame the notorious Plymouth City Council, who have a long and established history of neglecting the City's historic heritage.
The "Scheduled Area" itself is very small in extent and as such contains very little of the surrounding environmental context, mainly because of the traditional methodology that is applied to the Scheduling of Sites and not so much due to the personal opinions of the participating Officers of English Heritage! However, it must be stated that when the Society assisted the English Heritage MPP Field Archaeologist with the drawing up of the essential core-site area, it was somewhat larger than the final result indicates. This was largely due to an "editing process" in the Scheduling Department, whereby Officers have to comply with the established methodology of the Scheduling process! However, we are deeply grateful for what has been Scheduled, because the wording of the Citation alone should serve to protect the whole of the core-site. However, there is ambiguity in the interpretation.
It can be said that not one single part of the Scheduled Area is excess to requirements and in the Society's view, should have been much greater in extent to give protection to the remaining environmental context surrounding the core-site.
  2.  About the Text of the Schedule :  The Society had issues relating to the factual content of the original Schedule Entry Copy, which it has successfully pursued with English Heritage. These issues related to the text offering an age for the fossil bones from Worth's Cattedown Bone Cave. An alternative and more likely age will be submitted to accompany the proposed expanded area of Scheduled Constraint Line Boundary in the future.
  3.  About the Constraint Line Boundary of the Scheduled Monument :    As a result of developments at Cattedown since 2003, the Society has decided to make further information available which will necessitate the re-drawing of the original Scheduled Area "Constraint Line Boundary" of 07 July 1999, to incorporate land to the north, south and west of the existing Scheduled area.
After persistent requests for a revision of the original boundaries, English Heritage finally responded in 2005 by sending one of their most experienced Field Monument Advisors (now, Heritage Protection Adviser - Western Team) to Cattedown for a field-visit with the Society. The need for a revised boundary was then discussed together with the inadequacies of the current English Heritage system when applied to the listing of caves in the context of sites of human heritage. For example, the scale of maps previously used was highly inadequate and for English Heritage, the problem of delineating the boundaries of the cave was not as easy as, for example, when dealing with those of a castle or other building of easily observable and definable limits. In the opinion of the Society, the Scheduling process itself was obviously far from being adequate!
The Site visit was highly successful and on 22 March 2007., after a lengthy delay, the Site was Officially re-scheduled to the Society's interim satisfaction. Ostensibly, there will be the need for a further re-scheduling of the Site within 10 years. 
Due to the proposed changes to the remit of English Heritage as published by the UK Government in a White Paper "Heritage Protection for the 21st Century" on 12 March 2007., the chances of having the Site re-scheduled by English Heritage once again in the future are remote. To see the details of this Government White Paper and to respond by sending your views, click on the  Link in Paragraph 15.1. above.
Future re-scheduling of the Constraint Line Boundary may be necessary to take account of any further discoveries in the horizontal extent of Worth's Cattedown Bone Cave as the area is gradually exhumed from beneath 120+ years of industrial legacy. On balance, the liklihood of further such discoveries being made are very high.
 4.  Scheduled Area Map Extracts :...Presently, it is not in the security interests of the Monument that these are made widely available. Although the Map Extract webpage containing full details of both the original and the re-scheduled areas are fully ready for web-publishing, we will not be publishing this at least until after essential permissions have been sought and granted. In the interim period, please be patient with us - we are trying to work always with the full interests of this Site in mind.

15.2.4.    The Re-Scheduled Site Citation :
The Site Citation Document is essentially as given in.Para 15.2.2. above, except for a new Clause :-

Monument Plymouth 29678 has been reviewed and it is now considered that the Scheduling should be amended to include the full extent of the monument." 

15.3.1.....The predecessors of Natural England, (English Nature), had identified a small part of WALLSEND INDUSTRIAL ESTATE under the Geological Conservation Review as an SSSI, notified under Section 28 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981, as amended. The Notification (under the 1981 Act) is dated 1991.
The site comprises a 0.76 hectare (1.88 acres) section of the old "Fison's Quarry", although actually called the "Cattedown Quarry", when last used for mineral extraction in the 19th Century.
15.3.2.    The Site Citation :
The Society has gratefully received permission from "Natural England" Head Office to reproduce the text verbatim from their Site Citation Document relating to the above-named Site.

The following Site Citation text is reproduced verbatim by kind permission of
Natural England.
County :  Devon.....................Site Name :  "Wallsend Industrial Estate"
District :  Plymouth
Status :  Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) notified under Section 28 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981, as amended.
Local Planning Authority :  Devon County Council, Plymouth City Council.
National Grid Reference :  SX 493537      Area :  0.76 (ha)  1.88 (ac)
Ordnance Survey Sheet 1 : 50 000 :  201      1 : 10 000 :  SX 45 SE
Date Notified (Under 1949 Act) :  -      Date of Last Revision :  -
Date Notified (Under 1981 Act) :  1991     Date of Last Revision :  -
Other Information :
This is a new site.
A Geological Conservation Review Site.
Description and Reasons for Notification :
This disused quarry exposes a succession through the Devonian Plymouth Limestone, typically yielding a coral-stromatoporoid fauna of the late Givetian Age. Associated conodonts confirm this correlation.
At two main levels in the quarry unusual beds of limestone conglomerate are developed and at least one of these passes laterally into the neighbouring quarry to the north of the Fison's quarry itself. The lower conglomerate horizon has been termed the "Fison's Quarry Conglomerate" and is the best developed. Exposures show rounded limestone blocks in an argillaceous limestone matrix overlain by a localised band of shale. The matrix has yielded a mid-Frasnian conodont fauna and is therefore significantly younger than the enclosing Plymouth Limestone.
Interpretation of the conglomeratic horizons is problematic and an origin as slumps or crevasse/fissure infills has been speculated. This is an important site in the interpretation of the stratigraphy and geological evolution of the Plymouth Limestone mass.

15.3.3.    Comments by the Society :
It should be noted that the Site, as Scheduled, is not protected for the Quaternary value of any cave repository but rather as a locality of stratigraphic importance.

15.4.1.    English Nature have identified FARADAY ROAD as an SSSI, notified under Section 28 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981, as amended. The Notification (under the 1981 Act) is dated 1986.
The site comprises a 0.2 hectare (0.5 acre) bedrock exposure in a road cutting situated near the northern boundary of the Plymouth Limestone Formation in the vicinity of Laira Bridge.
15.4.2.    The Site Citation :
The Society has gratefully received permission from English Nature Head Office to reproduce the text verbatim from their Site Citation Document relating to the above-named Site.

The following Site Citation text is reproduced verbatim by kind permission of
Natural England.
County :  Devon.....................Site Name :  "Faraday Road"
District :  Plymouth
Status :  Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) notified under Section 28 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981, (as amended).
Local Planning Authority :  Devon County Council, Plymouth City Council.
National Grid Reference :  SX 498542      Area :  0.2 (ha)  0.5 (ac)
Ordnance Survey Sheet 1 : 50 000 :  201      1 : 10 000 :  SX 45 SE
Date Notified (Under 1949 Act) :  -      Date of Last Revision :  -
Date Notified (Under 1981 Act) :  1986     Date of Last Revision :  -
Other Information :
A new site.
Description and Reasons for Notification :
This road section exposes a series of crinoidal limestones, slates and tuffs which have yielded a rich macro- and microfauna indicating a mid-late Eifelian age. It is of interest as its stromatoporoid limestone development marks the first appearance of stromatoporoids in the Plymouth Limestone Group. A key mid-Devonian palaeontological and stratigraphic locality.

15.4.3.    Comments by the Society :
It should be noted that the Site, as Scheduled, is not protected for the Quaternary value of any cave repository but rather as a locality of stratigraphic importance..

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