Two new caves found every week in Nottingham

Scott Lomax inspects a cave in Nottingham Image copyright Ross Parish
Image caption The city council's archaeologist Scott Lomax has found 22 caves in 11 weeks

Twenty-two new unrecorded caves have been found in Nottingham since July, the city's archaeologist has said.

Nottingham's manmade caves have been used as dungeons, bomb shelters, pub cellars and homes, with some dating back to the 9th Century.

Scott Lomax said on average two structures have been found every week following appeals on social media and through hand-delivered letters.

He said some residents assume the caves beneath their homes are already known.

A glut of caves have been found in the past six years due to funded projects like the Nottingham Caves Survey, which mapped and laser-scanned many of them.

Image copyright Trent & Peak/University of Nottingham
Image caption A laser-scanned silhouette image of some of the caves - including Mortimer's Hole - beneath Nottingham Castle

However, experts have always believed many more lie waiting to be discovered.

Mr Lomax, who believes there are now 650 recorded caves, said: "Part of my job is about preserving the city's historic environment.

"The database should be accurate and it's important to know where [the caves] are and that they are protected."

Since July he has "gone out looking" for caves by delivering letters to residents in Nottingham's Park Estate where many are believed to be.

Image copyright Scott Lomax
Image caption Renovation work at the New Castle pub revealed a cave with a sandstone pillar

"People assumed we already knew about their cave and so hadn't considered them to be significant," he said.

The city council archaeologist said his favourite discovery lies beneath the New Castle pub in Sneinton.

The rubble-filled cave was found after a wall was knocked through in the cellar revealing a sandstone pillar, believed to be about 200 years old.

Mr Lomax said he hoped the inaugural Nottingham Caves Festival, on 17 October, would "inform" and "encourage" people to experience the city's caves.

What lies beneath...

Image caption Caves are everywhere in Nottingham and some of them have become popular tourist destinations
  • Some of Nottingham's caves appear to date back to the 9th Century
  • A Welsh monk named Asser referred to Nottingham as Tig Guocobauc, which means "house" or "place of caves"
  • Cave dwelling has been a part of the city's history, particularly during the Industrial Revolution when homes were scarce
  • Some caves were used as tanneries, secret hideouts and World War Two air raid shelters
  • Caves are used to keep ale at a consistent cool temperature at some pubs in the city

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