Discover Britain's most spectacular underground caves
Somerset is a land of mysteries renowned for its stone circles and monuments (including Stonehenge), crossing ley lines and Arthurian legends and of course, Wookey Hole - an underground world where pagan and Christian legends intertwine.
When you visit Wookey Hole Caves your guide will describe the prehistoric history of the caves as home to both humans and animals. Archaeological finds show man has lived in the caves for 50,000 years! The bones of tropical and Ice Age animals, such as rhinoceros, bear, mammoth and lion, were found there, along with flint tools.
Legend has it during the Dark Ages an old woman who kept a dog and some goats lived alone in the caves. Everything that went wrong in the village was blamed on her. The local people believed she was a witch who cast spells and caused misfortune.
Eventually, the people asked for help from the Abbot at nearby Glastonbury Abbey. They sent a monk called Father Bernard to exorcise the witch’s spirit. Father Bernard entered the cave armed only with a bible and a candle.
In the faint light he saw the witch stooping over her cooking pot. He tried to talk to her, but screaming curses and casting spells, she fled deeper into the cave down a narrow passageway called Hell’s Ladder.
The brave monk followed her and they met again in the shadowy depths of an inner cavern. Quickly, Father Bernard scooped up a handful of water from the river, blessed it and threw it over the witch. She turned instantly to stone and her frozen figure remains in this cavern - known as The Witch’s Kitchen - to this day.
Apart from the witches remains, all sorts of archaeological finds have been discovered within the mysterious depths of Wookey Hole. Many of these are now on display at the nearby Wells City Museum, but most were retained and are now housed in Wookey Hole Cave’s very own museum.
A visit to Wookey Hole is a journey into the underbelly of the world with natural formations so unique, you’ll be amazed before you have time to be scared. See Wookey Hole for more visitor information.