Merlin's Cave

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The cave's entrance at low tide
General view

Merlin's Cave is a cave located beneath Tintagel Castle, 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) south-west of Boscastle, Cornwall, England. It is 100 metres (330 ft) long,[1] passing completely through Tintagel Island from Tintagel Haven on the east to West Cove on the west.[2] It is a sea cave formed by marine erosion along a thrust plane between slate and volcanic rocks.[1] The cave fills with water at high tide, but has a sandy floor and is explorable at low tide.[3]

Tennyson made Merlin's Cave famous in his Idylls of the King, describing waves bringing the infant Arthur to the shore and Merlin carrying him to safety.[4]


  1. ^ a b Bird, Eric (2008). Coastal Geomorphology: An Introduction. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons. [n.p.] ISBN 978-0-470-51729-1. Retrieved 2 April 2012.
  2. ^ Wilson, Gilbert (1971). "The Influence of Rock Structures on Coastline and Cliff Development Around Tintagel, North Cornwall". In Steers, J. A. (ed.). Introduction to Coastline Development. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. p. 152. ISBN 0-262-19089-3.
  3. ^ "Merlin's Cave at Tintagel, Cornwall". King Arthur, and the legend of the Knights of the Round Table. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
  4. ^ Tennyson, Alfred (1859). Idylls of the King (PDF). The Pennsylvania State University. pp. 12–13. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 July 2012. Retrieved 19 February 2014.

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Coordinates: 50°40′06″N 4°45′34″W / 50.6683°N 4.7594°W / 50.6683; -4.7594