Quarrying has been carried out at Beer Quarry Caves since Roman times. It was particularly intense during the Middle Ages, but continued until the 1920s. This has resulted in the man-made underground complex we see today.
Due to its colour and workability, beer stone was used in several of southern England's ancient cathedrals, a number of other important buildings, and many town and village churches.
As the stone is relatively soft and easily cut when first quarried, before hardening with exposure to the air, much of the carving was carried out in the entrance to the caves and nearby workshops. There is an example of window tracery dating from 1492 displayed in the entrance.
Please see the Beer Quarry Caves official site for details of opening times and pre-booked tours.
The quarry has been declared a Site of Special Scientific Interest in part because of the Greater and Lesser Horseshoe bats, that hibernate in the caves in winter, along with five other species including the very rare Bechstein's bat.
When we toured, the guide was able to point out a small group of hibernating bats and, using a long lens and only the cave lighting, I was lucky enough to get a photo without disturbing them.