Learn more about the Isle of Purbeck

Tilly Whim Caves
in Local Attractions

Entrance to Tilly Whim CavesTilly Whim caves is the most easterly quarry in a stretch of quarries that exist along cliffs of the southern Purbeck ridge. They were located between Anvil Point and Durlston Head. The caves used to be accessible along the coastal path near Durlston Castle but have since been closed to the public for safety reasons.

Originally excavated during the Napoleonic War; the limestone quarries were used up to the start of the 20th century. The galleries reach back deep into the Purbeck ridge in horizontal Jurassic strata.

All of the stone excavated from the Tilly Whim quarries was shipped via sea using barges in calm weather utilising a winch to lower the stone from the cliff face to the waiting barges below. Up to 50 tons of stone was removed in solid blocks from the galleries before being broken down into more manageable sizes using only hand tools.

Removal of the stone to Swanage Bay using the barges could only be carried out in the summer months while the weather was calm enough.

The wood used throughout the caves came from shipwrecks that occurred regularly around the Purbeck shoreline. The name Tilly probably came from the owner of the quarries.

The stone excavated from the Purbeck quarries was used to build much of London, with places including St Pauls's Cathedral and the Houses of Parliament built using Purbeck stone.

None of the cliffside quarries are in use today. All stone from the Purbeck area is now excavated from surface quarries where large holes are dug in the ground using mechanical excavators and shipped away using large stone-carrying lorries.

Click to view Tilly Whim Caves - Ref: 1786
Click to view Waves at the Lighthouse - Ref: 1810
Click to view Tilly Whim Caves - Ref: 2034
Click to view The Lighthouse and Tilly Whim Caves - Ref: 2108
Click to view Tilly Whim Caves - Ref: 2154
Click to view Outside Tilly Whim Caves - Ref: 2174



Anvil Point Lighthouse
Attraction - 0.12 miles away

Durlston Country Park
Attraction - 0.22 miles away

Durlston Castle
Attraction - 0.26 miles away

Townsend Nature Reserve
Attraction - 0.89 miles away

The Downs
Attraction - 0.98 miles away

Parks and Gardens
Attraction - 0.99 miles away

Prince Albert Gardens
Attraction - 1.04 miles away

Swanage Sea Rowing Club
Attraction - 1.04 miles away

Flooding in Swanage
Attraction - 1.09 miles away

Swanage Museum and Heritage Centre
Attraction - 1.09 miles away