Cheddar Caves and Gorge
Cheddar Gorge is one of England’s most iconic and spectacular landscapes. At almost 400 feet deep and three miles long, this is England’s largest gorge. With its weathered crags and pinnacles, it is a spectacular natural sight. The gorge would have begun forming about one million years ago during the last Ice Age when water from melting glaciers formed a river, which over time started to carve into the limestone rock creating steep cliffs. The Cheddar Yeo River gradually made its way underground, creating the famous Cheddar Caves.
Explore the Cheddar Gorge and Caves
- Beyond the View: take a virtual tour of the gorge. Enjoy breathtaking, panoramic views of the plateau and learn about the special wildlife thats lives amongst this stunning scenery, as well as its history and landmarks.
- Gough’s Cave: a cave that’s over 500,000 years old, with incredible vistas created by stalagmites and stalactites. Gough’s cave is the largest of our show caves and is widely considered to be one of the finest in the country, decorated with unbelievable rock formations. Audio guides tell the story of its Ice Age creation, Stone Age occupation, Victorian exploration and the discovery of the Cheddar Man skeleton.
- Cliff-Top Walk: this walk takes you round a 3 mile route and rewards walkers with some of the finest views in Somerset. On a clear day, elevated over 900ft above sea-level, you can see for miles out across the Mendip Hills. Experience a diverse and captivating habitat, teaming with flowers and wildlife.
- Dreamhunters – the Adventures of Early Man: a different chapter of the story of early man will be revealed in each of Cox’s Cave’s chambers. Walk in the footsteps of our ancestors in this spectacular multimedia experience and discover the ingenuity that saw our forebears master tools, weapons and fire to overcome fierce predators and a changing climate.
- Museum of Prehistory: the museum tells the story of how our ancestors lived through a 40,000 year struggle for survival during the last Ice Age and brings together the findings from past excavations and shows how they fit into the bigger, global history of our species. See flint tools our forebears made and hands-on cave art painting and demonstrations. There’s also plenty of information about the world-famous Cheddar Man, the oldest complete human skeleton ever found in Britain, which was discovered in Gough’s Cave in 1903.
- Jacob’s Ladder: climb the 274 steps which make up Jacob’s Ladder, and the 48 more to get to the top of the unique Lookout Tower. It’s well worth the effort, with magnificent views of the Mendips and beyond. To the south you’ll see the flat, lush water meadows of the Somerset Levels and to the north you’ll see the windswept plateau that runs for over 22 miles east to west.
- Black Cat Free Fall: head into Gough’s Cave and the Black Cat Chamber, climb the 30ft ladder and get ready to jump (but don’t worry too much you’ll be attached to a safety line at all times). Watch the floor approach or the roof disappear as you take a leap of faith off the edge and enjoy an exhilarating free fall before you are held and lowered safely back to the ground.
- Rock Climbing: experienced instructors will be on hand to show you the ropes. Climb the 50ft high Rocksport buttress, rigged with 4 climbing ropes. There are 7 ascent routes to choose from, ranging from very easy to quite difficult.
- Escape Rooms: two Cheddar-themed escape rooms will see you testing your brain power and racing against the clock as you try and escape from some sticky situations.
- Adventure Caving: Cheddar’s not just spectacular on the surface; it’s spectacular underground as well. Suitable for all ability levels. Start your expedition into the depths of the caves; switch on your head torch and get ready to feel like you’ve entered a lost world. Climb up to the Mushroom Chamber, crawl through the Sand Chamber and descend over 40ft into the heart of the cave system with expert cavers.