Going Underground – Explore an Underground Marvel in the Heart of the Forest of Dean

The Forest of Dean is an area of Gloucestershire where you will be astounded by the natural beauty wherever you are. Action and adventure lovers head to Go Ape to enjoy rope adventures in the tree, if you enjoy walks in the woodlands you are spoilt for choice with the intriguing Puzzle wood and the beautiful Sculpture Trail to wander around. Many come to the Forest of Dean to get married in the beautiful surroundings of the Speech House a Gloucestershire wedding hotel venue. But if you want to head underground in the heart of the forest, then visit Clearwell Caves…

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Formed 180 million years ago, Clearwell caves were formed by streams deep underground cutting through the rock beneath the forest. During the Iron Age, people started to mine the caves for iron ore, and continued to do so during times when the Roman settlers arrive in Britain. The underground mining hugely increased the network of caverns. Another treasure found in the caves is ochre, which can be purchased form the shop at the mine, and it is still mined here to this day. Clearwell caves are one of the small number of places where the much sought after but rare purple ochre can be found.

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Visitors to Clearwell caves will be awestruck at the size and beauty of the larger caverns, which can be accessed easily from the ground above. It is also possible for visitors to explore the smaller network of tunnels with a guide and caving equipment as some of them are quite a tight squeeze – they are not for sufferers of claustrophobia! At Christmas time, the caves are transformed into a festive spectacle, where visitors travel through the caves to find Father Christmas in his grotto. It is well worth a visit at Christmas time as it is a unique and magical experience.

It is not only the public that are attracted to the caves – they have been noticed by the BBC too, and some scenes from Doctor Who have been filmed here! Another visitor – or resident – of the caves could be a ghostly old miner. He has been seen wandering around the caves by many visitors, and people have reported the sound of footsteps and clanging noises that sound like pick axes coming from the caves – is it the old miner still going about his work?

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