Part of England's only
Natural World Heritage Site
Conducted tours by trained guides,give the visitor an hour-long tour of this vast
man- made complex of underground caverns created by centuries of quarrying the
famous Beer Stone. The underground quarry first worked by the Romans,supplied
stone for 24 cathedrals including Exeter and St.Pauls, parts of Westminster
Abbey,the Tower of London, Hampton Court and Windsor Castle. Quarried by
hand, the smallest blocks weighing 4 tons, the stone was carted on horse-drawn
wagons and by barges from Beer beach to its destination, sometimes involving
journeys of several hundreds of miles.
Beer stone was much prized by the masons, as freshly quarried it is ideal for fine
detail carvings but hardens on exposure to the air, turning a beautiful creamy white
colour. Although seen today by the thousands of people who visit these famous
buildings, sadly few stop to wonder where the stone came from, or give even a
passing thought to the generations of local families who worked here under
appalling conditions by the light of tallow candles.
The entrance leads directly into the Roman section, which now houses a
small museum containing pieces of Beer stone carved centuries ago by
skilled masons, the tools used by the Quarrymen, copies of ancient
documents and photographs. From this very chamber the Romans
quarried the first blocks of Beer Stone to build their villas, leaving typical
Roman arches and even their tool-marks are still visible on the walls. On
through the Saxon part of the workings to where the Normans quarried
stone for cathedrals, castles and Manor houses.
The sheer grandeur of the mighty halls, vaulted roofs and massive
supporting pillars of natural stone are awe- inspiring and have often been
likened to a vast underground cathedral.
A refuge and place of worship for Catholics during times of persecution,
hiding place for contraband in the days when Beer was home to the
infamous smuggler Jack Rattenbury, legend and human interest stories
abound. The quarry was worked from Roman times until the beginning of
the 20th. century and the entire complex is a vast memorial to those from
the village some as young as eight years old who worked here over the
centuries providing the stone we see today in some of the oldest and
most beautiful buildings in England.
See for yourself the methods used to quarry and deliver the huge blocks
of stone, the working conditions, the hardships endured and the dangers
faced daily by the work-force and you may never again see a famous
building with the same eyes.
2,000 years of history brought vividly to life, a visit to Beer Quarry Caves
is an exciting and fascinating experience not to be missed.
The workings are cool and even on a warm day a jumper is advisable.
Light refreshments and souvenirs. Ample free parking. Level walking
Whilst no problem for pushchairs,Regrettably, steep approach path to
entrance impractical for wheelchairs.
Monday April 18th. to end September 10.00AM. Last tour 5.00PM.
October daily 11.00 AM. Last tour 4.00PM
Admission. Adult£6.50. Child 5 to 16 years£4.75
Senior Citizen £4.75
Family 2 adults +2 Children £20.00
Under 5's FREE
NB.Tour times may vary
Out of season tours by prior arrangement
TEL. 01297 680282.
Superb example of the stone mason's skill, this medieval
church window came from St. Andrews' church Colyton
Devon. Originally carved from 58 pieces of Beer Stone in the
15th.century,still in perfect condition when removed during
typical victorian restoration and left in the churchyard until its
return to the quarry where it was rebuilt by the
master- mason of Exeter cathedral.
This web site has been highly
recommended by SCHOOLZONE for
educational use on behalf of the
Department of Education and Skills
QUARRY LANE, BEER, DEVON. EX12 3AT
BEER QUARRY CAVES
73.5 acres of underground space cut
out entirely by hand over a period of
almost 2000 years
The only machinery ever used in the
quarry was hand-operated cranes
like the one above
Beer Stone was transported hundreds of miles on
horse-drawn wagons, and by barges around the coast
Beer Stone was used extensively in the building of
Each of the above items have been hand-crafted
from genuine Beer Stone. Made by a craftsman
working in Beer Village, only a short distance from
the entrance to the underground quarry which has
been worked since Roman times.
No two items are identical, each forming its own
unique link with Britain's architectural heritage.
Roman coins and pottery found in quarry
Beer Stone bowl made by John Scott.
the village of Beer to HER MAJESTY
QUEEN ELIZABETH 11
on the occasion of her Golden Jubilee.
Her majesty is the second member of the
Royal Family to own a piece of John's
work. HRH. Prince of Wales has a Beer
Stone goblet at
St. James' Palace
Greater Horseshoe Bats
"Cathedrals were built towards
Heaven with stone quarried from
Beer Stone In Buckfast Abbey
ONE OF THE MOST
INDUSTRIAL SITES IN
BEER STONE IN EXETER
NORMAN PILLARS IN BEER