‘Follow the running man’ is the instruction you’re given as you enter Cox’s Cave. Step through a door into semi darkness and at the conclusion of a short video introduction, a white figure appears as promised on the wall. In the dark cave a female voice begins a compelling narrative. Something about the tone seems to connect with your inner soul; the part of you that may have come through hundreds of reincarnations and can reach back to a cave dwelling ancestor. Looking around, the sights and sounds appeal to all of the senses,evoking a feeling of those primitive times, crackling fires and distant animal sounds.
So begins a story of ancient man, his challenges, fears and foes. As you walk along dark corridors with tight corners you’ll work your way into the cave system. Take your time or you may just miss something, be it beside or behind you. Look for the cue marks on the floor indicating exactly where to stand and watch innovative tableaux come to life on a cave wall. I walked in awe, absorbed in the atmosphere and enjoying the visual and sensual surprises. The dramatic natural features of the cave play their role in this theatrical performance. Coloured lights give a magical effect to mirror-like pools of water at eye level. Sounds move around you and at one point air blows to simulate wind flow.
The recording narration explains and tells stories of man’s evolution. You’ll see the animals that shared his world depicted too - horses, wolves and bears. For me, the soundtrack felt as though it triggered a recognition deep inside. If found the experience completely absorbing and impactful. Had I visited Enjoy the Dreamhunters at Cox’s Cave is the first new attraction at Cheddar Gorge & Caves in almost a quarter of a century. Sue Parslow went along to experience it for herself.
The 100-metre route through the eight natural chambers of Cox’s Cave tells the story of early man in eight separate phases: an introduction; discovering flint and fire; learning to defend the group from predators; exploring their dreams and aspirations; developing their culture and arts; protecting their home; hunting techniques and, in a grand finale, Man’s triumph in mastering his world. This journey through pre-history takes around 30 minutes.as a schoolchild I think - no, I know - I would have found this period of history far more interesting!
CHEDDAR GORGE In the 12th century the dramatic natural structure that is Cheddar Gorge, was described as one of the Four Wonders of England. The caves were thought to have been inhabited at the end of the Ice Age. They were discovered and excavated by Richard Cox Gough between the years 1892 and 1898. Today the Cheddar Gorge and Caves is a destination that could provide a group with a full day of activity.
The entry ticket includes Cox’s Cave, the location for Dreamhunters, Gough’s Cave, the Museum of Prehistory, the Lookout Tower, Cliff-top Gorge Walk and a ride on the Gorge Open-top bus. First on your agenda must be Gough’s Cave which contains spectacular individual caves such as St Paul’s, so-named because of the soaring chambers of its magnificent cathedral-like interior. Lit to showcase the remarkable features, stand and look in wonder at what nature created.
There are underground pools, stalactites and stalagmites a-plenty, and all sorts of curious shapes and features, including a ‘frozen stream.’ It’s a fantastic opportunity for taking interesting and impressive photographs. The handheld personal commentary offers as much information as you choose to select, with options available for children. The history of the caves, their discovery and geology is fascinating. Somewhat unexpected were the shelves of cheddar cheese maturing in a cavern so don’t miss the chance to buy some in the shop if you like cheese! The interior walkways are wet in places and there are steps up and down, but there are rails in place.
REFRESHMENTS There are plenty of options for eating and drinking, either close to the cave complex, or a short walk down into the village. (There’s an afternoon tea package offered for senior visitors.) There are also some pleasant shops with local produce and crafts to browse. n 2016 discounted prices for groups of 12-plus are: adults £14.95, children (five to 15) £9.50, seniors £14.95. More options include caving and climbing. Tel. 01934 742343 Email email@example.com www.cheddargorge.co.uk