Some 300 million years in the making is the marketing slogan that the Cheddar Gorge and Caves use on their site and materials. It is actually quite hard to get one’s head around the fact that what you are looking at is so very old.
Cheddar Gorge is huge. There is a long, steep and winding road that curves through a quaint town area right up to the top. Dotted along the road at the base of the gorge are small shops that sell all sorts of tourist bits and pieces, and then some more specialist shops with some very interesting gifts, real ale and the such.
The area is packed and hectic in the summer, and visiting it out of the season is a really good as things are quiet, you can get parking and you have the caves pretty much to yourself (versus the 2500 people that go through in one day).
The whole area is owned by the Marquis of Bath, but the revenues are used to fund the development and various conservation projects.
In Victorian and earlier times, people who travelled to Weston-super-Mare seaside resort would travel to the gorge and visit the caves. The largest and most impressive cave was found by a man and his family called Gough. He worked showing people around another cave lower down the hill, and at night he and his son’s searched and then explored the caves that are now the main attraction. They dug deep and deeper and uncovered the most startling caverns and caves that had been worn through by water many years ago. The caverns were originally full of water from underground rivers which are now much lower, and are still being explored by (crazy) people who dive into them.
Some of the caverns were found by using explosives to get to them.
They are very impressive.
Today you get a audio guide that explains the caves, how they were formed and the history of how they were found and when. Including the skeleton of a man from about 10000 years ago. Inside the caves you also see where they still to this day store cheddar cheese (yes, cheddar cheese was originally made in the area but is now made all over the world).
Included in the admission charge you also get a bus ride up the road and back that explains more, entry to the prehistoric man museum (a slightly strange place that largely features history of early man sex and cannibalism) and up a viewing tower. The ticket is valid for a year.
We had a great day and to be recommended.
See a video of the famous Cheddar Gorge area and go into the Gough Cave by clicking here to see on YouTube andon the blog posting:
Visit the Cheddar Gorge and Caves website: click here