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Pictures of Cheddar Caves and Gorge

a Museum in the town of Cheddar, in the county of Somerset

About Cheddar Caves and Gorge

The mile or so of pale-grey limestone cliffs rising above the winding road through Cheddar is awesome in its untamed beauty, it appears wild and exciting, far removed from the village which these days exists on pure commercialism. The road leads through to the beautiful Mendip Hills, these have many remote areas and present a sparsely populated landscape dotted with just a few farms, and the occasional inn used by "cavers" locals and tourists. The views all around are quite dramatic, especially when the mist creeps over, mist rises quickly in these parts and it is not unknown for walkers, or climbers to loose their bearings.

The most spectacular views of the Somerset countryside are to be enjoyed on a clear summers day from the top of the cliffs, easily reached by "Jacob's Ladder" at the northern end of Cheddar. Cheddar boasts England's highest inland cliffs, these provide a nesting place for Peregrine Falcons.

These days the town is dominated by its famous show caves, Cox's and Gough's, both contain fine stalagmites and stalactites. Gough's cave is the largest of the caves, it was discovered in 1890 by sea captain Richard Gough, for whom it is named. This leads to the Diamond Chamber and Solomon's Temple. A thrilling exhibition explains the history of the caves, how they were carved out over million years of ice-age meltwater, and how early man managed to survive the ice-age period. Bones of possibly cannibalistic prehistoric men have been found at Cheddar, thus Gough's Cave is the country's first cannibal site.

Cox's Cave is startling in its beauty, it is tiny with little narrow passages, full of amazing colours and picturesque reflective pools. This was discovered by a man working for local mill-owner George Cox, whilst collecting rocks to use as building material in 1837.

A tour of the caves reveals a world of beautiful colour, magical crystals, adventures with wizards, goblins, a fairy princess, and even a smoke-breathing dragon! It may be a little precarious in some parts, but for sheer atmosphere and splendour it is well worth taking the tour.

In the village there is a collection of all the usual tourist trap shops, pubs, restaurants and fish and chips. There is a good market cross and a lovely 14th century church with a fine tower, tie-beam roof, and carved stone pulpit from the 15th century.

In the summer months an open-top bus operates a tour of the best sights of the town, these can be enjoyed at anytime between March and September.

During the latter half of the 20th century, excavations carried out close to Manor Farm failed to reveal any trace of Cheddar's one-time Anglo-Saxon palace.

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