Caves 'popular site for children'
Bridgnorth's bright red sandstone dominates the town.
And the caves which surround parts of the Shropshire community have for many years been played in by children.
But after decades, this could now be at an end.
A 16-year-old boy, Aiden Brookes, was killed and another teenager was hurt when a roof at the Hermitage Caves partially collapsed.
Rocks and rubble fell on to the pair, along with their friends, who were camping at the site.
Site for parties
Residents have told how they used to play at the caves in their childhood.
Tim Ball, 38, who lives nearby, said he had never worried about his safety years ago.
He used to spend many hours at the caves and remembers people lighting fires there.
Another resident, Matthew Winwood, said the site was a popular location for parties.
The origin of the caves is unclear, but it is known that they were occupied for many years.
The area got its name, The Hermitage, because it is believed that Aethelward, a Mercian Prince, lived in one of the caves as a hermit before his brief reign in about 942 BC.
There are also legends linking the caves with witchcraft.
In 1989, extensive research was carried out on the caves by members of the archaeology unit at Birmingham University.
They tried to establish their uses and methods of construction, but were hampered because many of Bridgnorth's town records had been destroyed.
The archaeologists concluded that the caves were probably man-made and some had been used as homes.
Others had commercial uses and some were believed to have been linked by tunnels.
They also believe that some of the caves have yet to be discovered.
Over the years the condition of the caves has deteriorated, although the one known as the chapel is still fairly intact.
It is thought that homeless people using them as temporary homes may have weakened the roof structure by lighting fires inside.
The sandstone from which the caves have been carved is a soft stone, and plants and tree roots have been able to penetrate the rock, further damaging them.
Some of the caves lie within the Apley Estate at Bridgnorth and because of their poor state have not been open to the public for some time. THE BBC