Culver Hole wall, near Port Eynon, Gower

Culver Hole wall, near Port Eynon, Gower

gower_culver_holeBelow the Wales Coast Path near here is a tall stone wall across the mouth of a cave. Nobody knows why it was built. It’s a scheduled ancient monument and is thought to be medieval.

The photo on the right (courtesy of West Glamorgan Archive Service) shows the wall c.1910.

The wall is about 20 metres high. Its width varies from three to six metres, approximately. At the bottom it’s about three metres thick, becoming progressively narrower further up.

There are three openings. The first is an arched doorway, about four metres above the ground outside. Further up is another rectangular opening. Still higher up is a large circular hole. Stone stairways behind the wall connect the three openings, but there’s no evidence of an external route from the ground to the doorway.

The structure appears to have been used as a dovecote. Inside are about 30 rows of what could have been nesting boxes for pigeons. Culver is an old word for pigeon or dove, from the Old English culufre.

The structure has an unusual position, shape and size for a dovecote. It may have been built primarily for a different main purpose, possibly with internal floors. One theory is that it was a hideaway, invisible to intruders on the land above. A castle used to exist at Port Eynon in the 14th century but has long since vanished. It’s possible that Culver Hole was associated with the castle, for example to provide an escape or supply route should the castle be besieged.

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