Anchor Church Cave

Useful Information

Location: Between Ingleby and Foremark, 10mins. walk from each side.
Open: No restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: ExplainKarst cave
Light: bring torch
Guided tours:  
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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1648 first written mention of the cave.


The Anchor Church Cave or Hermits Cave is a cave cut into the cliff face along Old River Trent between Foremark and Ingleby. Such cliffs are called crags in Britain, the Anchor Church Crag is over 100m long and up to 12m high. The cave is named after an hermit, anchorite is another word for hermit, derived from the Greek word anachoreo which means to withdraw or to depart into the rural countryside. According to legend the caves was originally built by the hermit St Hardulph, who lived here during the 6th and 7th century. The church at nearby Breedon on the Hill is dedicated to him.

The crag is formed of sandstone from the late Triassic or Keuper. In Europe the Triassic is mostly a series of marine sediments, sandstone, marl, or limestone. THis layer here, while resistant enough to form a crag, is also soft enough to be rather easily chiseled. The rock is mostly dry and rather stable. There are layers of bigger gravels and even small pabbles, which form ledges but easily fall off the cliff face.

The cave has a series of openings, which looks like there were numerous caves. Sometimes the plural, Anchor Church Caves, is used. It is uncluear if there have been different cave, which were later joined. The cave in its current state is a result of the renovation by Sir Francis Burdett. He enlarged the cave and used it as a summer dining room for picnic parties. The cool rock made this a pleasant spot during hot dummer days. After his death, in 1845, the cave was fitted a wooden door. The door is gone and the cave is freely accessible today. It is a stop on the Anchor Church Walk.