Dorking Caves

Useful Information

Location: Dorking
Open: During MAR, only after appointment. [2006]
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: VR=17 m.
Guided tours:
Address: Dorking Caves, Visitor Information Centre, Tel: +44-1306-879327.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1672 oldest still preserved inscription.
17th century Historian John Aubrey praised their qualities as wine cellars.
1919 South Street widened, buildings demolished, cellars filled with concrete, and new entrance made.


Dorking Caves are a series of cellars below the city of Dorking, especially below the High Street shops and some premises in South St.. South Street Caves are only one of several cellars, and they are amongst the most extensive. They are entered through a door close to the War Memorial in South Street. This is not the original entrance, it was built in 1919, when South Street was widened. It was necessary to destroy some cellars and to make a new entrance for this one. It is said that the principal went bankrupt over the construction of the cellar and ended up in the poor house.

All those caves are not really caves but cellars, artificially dug. But it is not known, when and why they were constructed. The oldest found inscription on the wall is from 1672, so some believe they were excavated to provide material for the rebuilding of London after the Great Fire of 1666. The historian John Aubrey referred to the caves in the 17th century, praising their qualities as wine cellars.

Much of Dorking is built upon soft sandstone of the Greensand Hills. This sandstone is called Greensand, although it has a warm brownish colour. Greensand is a sandy rock or sediment containing a high percentage of the mineral glauconite with a typical green colour. It is associated with bands of chalk and clay, all those sediments have been deposited in marine environments with slightly changing conditions. Greensand forms in anoxic marine environments that are rich in organic detritus and low in sedimentary input.