After the success of our Cheddar Gorge trip last year, we have decided to run it again. We’ve perfected all the details and now you are in for a real treat!
Cheddar Gorge is England’s version of the Grand Canyon (of course to scale), and the enchanting, twisting cleft in the Mendip Hills demands exploration. It was voted Britain’s second greatest natural wonder in a Radio Times poll and the country’s oldest skeleton was also found there – as was the popular type of cheese, of course.
If you are up for a physical challenge and seeking the thrill of adventure – this challenge is for you. Experience the excitement of ‘real’ caving, deep inside the Mendip Hills, led by a British Caving Association trained caving leader, through a system of ‘wild’ caves beyond the well-lit caverns of Gough’s cave.
What will we do?
We will be caving, hiking on a spectacular cliff top walk, visiting the famous Wookey Hole and the witch, learning about cheddar production and, of course, trying some local food. The detailed plan of the trip is below.
This is an introduction to the sport of Caving, suitable for most people of reasonable fitness. The minimum age is 11 years, the minimum height is 4’8” (142cm) and the maximum waist size is 40” (101.6cm).
Your journey begins at the ‘Black Cat’, a quarter of a mile inside one of Europe’s finest show caves. Then an easy climb to the Mushroom Chamber, crawl into the Sand Chamber, lifeline down a 40ft steel ladder into Boulder Chamber, climb up to the Far Rift, emerge through April fool’s squeeze, clip into a wire traverse, crawl across the top of Boulder Chamber and then over the ‘Bottomless Pit’, before returning through the Sand Chamber, to the tourist show cave again.
We provide you with helmets, carabiners, caving lights, boiler suits & Wellington boots (rubber). We suggest that you wear old clothes (e.g. T-shirt & joggers).
Our unique safety features, including fixed ladders, an underground telephone, first aid supplies & ‘backup’ staff close by, make Cheddar Caves the perfect choice for your very first caving expedition.
TRANSPORT is not included, however we will be happy to help you to organise it. Extra cost will be around £60 per person (place in the car), it depends how many people will be interested.
We have rented one of the YHA hostel buildings exclusively for our group. The bed linens are provided, but please make sure you bring your own towel.
A maximum of 15 people to share rooms of 2×2 and 3×4 beds. All bedrooms have washbasins and are located on the ground and first floors. All bed linen is provided.
Cheddar Gorge is an adventure playground for all and this annexe of a modernised Victorian house sits in the village below the dramatic gorge, that has the highest limestone cliffs in England.
Please note that, while we can cater for vegetarians, we are unable to cater for any complicated diets, so if your requirements are unusual, or if you have any severe allergies, you will need to make sure you bring your own food.
Some more info about the sights:
Wookey Hole is a series of caves inhabited for some 70,000 years. The first ever cave dive in Britain was made in the Witch’s Parlour cavern of the Wookey Hole in 1935. Twenty five caverns have so far been discovered, with further exploration still pending. The cave’s most notorious inhabitant is its witch, who can still be seen at the bottom of Hell’s Ladder, on the shore of the subterranean River Axe, her eyes fixed on the river. Of course, she has been turned to stone now. According to folklore, a monk from Glastonbury faced her in her lair and sprinkled her with holy water, thus petrifying her and therefore making it safe for the cave and for the history-loving public to explore her former home. In 1912, an archaeologist named Herbert Balch found the almost complete skeleton of an old woman, the bones of two goats, a dagger, some household items and a polished alabaster ball, amongst other Iron Age remains, near the entrance to the Hole. Whether or not these remains have any tie-in with the legend of the witch, makes for interesting conjecture.
Plan of the trip:
– Train from London Paddington to Weston Super Mare (not included)
– 9pm meeting in the hostel
– Light dinner (sandwiches, etc) will be provided
– 08:30 – cooked breakfast
– 9:30 – 10:00 – getting to the caves
– 10:00 – 12:30 – caving (included)
Goatchurch Cavern is the ideal venue for most beginner groups. It is dry and offers the choice of an inviting walk-in entrance or a more exciting rope-slide alternative. The cave is quite a maze which means there are routes suitable for all abilities. Keen cavers can wriggle through the ‘Superman Squeeze’, while the less adventurous take a more spacious route. The trip will start gently with walking size passages, where you will see cave formations and maybe a sleeping bat. As your confidence grows the instructor will gradually introduce you to more challenging routes involving crawls, slides and scrambles. You will see spacious chambers and strange rock formations in the secret world of the underground.
Our trip into Goatchurch will last about one and a half hours. With all the preparations and instructions the experience will last around 2.5 hours.
Please make sure you have a change of clothes with you for the way back!
– 12:30 – 13:00 – transfer to Wookey Hole (not included)
– 13:00 – 15:00 – Wookey Hole tour (not included)
– 20:00 – dinner (not included)
– 08:30 – cooked breakfast (included)
– You will then be able to get your packed lunch ready for the day. You will have to be checked out of the hostel by the time you leave for the hike, but you will be able to leave your bags in storage room
– 10:30 – 12:30 – hiking – national trust trail (included). This is a moderate 4-mile (6km) route, along paths. There are several stiles and kissing gates, rough walking in sections and some steep climbs. Spectacular views and a varied community of specialised plants and wildlife, you’ll get the chance to spot on this exhilarating circular walk.
– 13:00 – visit to the Cheddar Cheese Company (included) http://www.timetravel-britain.com/articles/stones/cheddar.shtml
– Dinner (not included)
– train to London (not included)
What’s included in the trip?
– two nights accommodation in a hostel building (rented exclusively to us)
– half board
– Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company visit
– Cheddar Gorge Hike
What’s not included in the price of the trip?
– optional Wookey Hole
Please pay the deposit of £100.00 + paypal fees today. This will reserve your spot.
You can pay the remainder of the money at your convenience, but no later than a month before the trip. To make the second payment, just go back to the website, choose the ‘remainder’ option from the list and make the payment.
Please note that, unless the trip is cancelled, the payments are non-refundable, as the costs need to be paid in advance. However, you may be able to sell your place to your friends or other group members if you follow this procedure: http://katsadventures.com/#plx_progress_faq_section
DISCLAIMER and T&Cs:
You also confirm that you will be responsible for your own insurance, so please make sure that it is at an appropriate level for this trip and the activities that you will be participating in.
In addition to your own Personal Civil liability insurance, you will need an individual insurance for multi-risk and multi-activity holidays (expenses of cancellation, research – help, repatriation, medical expenses, theft of luggage, etc.) appropriate for the activities to be undertaken as part of the holiday. The general travel insurance is often minimal and rarely adapted to the active holidays. Please check the details with your insurance provider.