This natural pond attracted its diabolic name as a result of its near-perfect circular shape and spooky tendency to empty and fill with complete disregard to rainfall patterns.
Originally, people were confused by the way the pit’s water levels mysteriously ebbed, so, naturally, they attributed the odd phenomenon to the Devil. But in reality, there’s nothing supernatural about it. The Devil’s Punchbowl is one of several “fluctuating meres” in the Breckland of Norfolk, England. They were formed when subsurface chalk slowly eroded to form an underground chasm, which eventually collapsed to form a surface sinkhole called a doline. The water level in these relatively deep depressions represents a rare surface exposure of the usually hidden subsurface aquifer, or water table.
Of course, the level of the aquifer is ultimately related to rainfall. However, the time lag between rainfall and the punchbowl filling is so great that it indicates the prevailing precipitation pattern of prior months, and could be entirely unaffected by weeks of more recent heavy rain. Though it may seem odd to witness its wonky watery nature, there’s nothing Devilish about the 430-foot diameter depression.