Developers clearing a site for a housing development in Bridgnorth have discovered a hidden cave.
Trevor Moseley, director of BJMM Development Ltd, said it had been a surprise to come across the cave, in Cartway, which could be hundreds of years old and may once have been lived in.
The firm had permission for three shops and five apartments on the land but reapplied to build three three-storey town houses.
The original abattoir dating back about 80 years had already been demolished as part of the work. But the surprise find was made as the developer worked at the rear of the conservation area site near Giovanni's Ice Cream Parlour.
Mr Moseley, who bought the site a year ago, said a three-day archaeological study had already been carried out because of the closeness of the site to the town wall and castle, but it had not found the cave.
Mr Moseley said: "When we dug in with the digger it broke into the cave."
He said the cave – which was a maximum of 12ft high – was filled with about 20 tonnes of rubbish, including asbestos, which has now been cleared.
Mr Moseley said: "It is impossible to know how old it is. There were people living in the caves further down 200 years ago."
By Lisa Rowley