Beer Quarry Caves
Helen Mark goes underground to hear the vivid stories of Devon's Beer Quarry Caves, which supplied Exeter cathedral with the highest quality limestone, used for intricate carvings.
The history of Britain's cathedrals is celebrated but much less so that of the quarries and quarrymen, who hewed the stone they're built of. On this week's Open Country, Helen Mark rectifies that. With her hard hat to hand she goes underground in the South West.
She explores Devon's Beer Quarry Caves which supplied Exeter cathedral with the highest quality limestone, reserved for some of the finest carvings in this and many other medieval churches.
Helen meets John Scott who fought hard to make sure that the Beer Quarry Caves weren't demolished in the 1980s. John is a master storyteller who conjures the underground world of generations of anonymous masons and quarrymen at the caves, which are open to the public. They're joined by master mason Peter Dare.At Exeter cathedral the archaeologist John Allan shows Helen the tracery windows and high ribbed ceilings, all carved from the characteristic creamy white Beer stone.
Producer: Mark Smalley.