Caving has always been on my bucket list, so when Charlotte and I were invited to Wookey Hole for their adventure caving experience, we were so excited to take part. We had planned a trip to Bristol consisting of four very different experiences, and this was the first one on the list!
Wookey Hole is located in Somerset, and as we arrived we
found the weather was surprisingly perfect. it wasn’t too cold, and it wasn’t
too sunny - although this wouldn’t have made much difference, as we were in the
cave the majority of the time!
Charlotte and I arrived at the venue at 9am. We had been told to wear active clothing, as well as appropriate shoes (wellington or boots). We wore gym leggings with our wellies, which turned out to be a good choice as our shoes got very muddy inside the cave. On arrival, we met Becca and Chris at reception. Shortly after our introduction, we made our way to the cabin to get our caving gear on!
Walking to the cabin was an experience in itself; we crossed a river, which Becca covered with a metal pathway for us to walk over. The site has some amazing life size dinosaurs, some of which even move and make sounds. My favourite was the giant gorilla. Charlotte and I couldn’t resist, so we took plenty of pictures with it.
Once we arrived at the cabin, we watched a safety briefing
video. Shortly after, Becca returned, provided us with our boiler suits, and demonstrated
how to safely secure the harness. For extra protection, we had padded material placed
inside our boiler suits. This really helped protect us, as a lot of the caving
involved crawling. We were also given helmets with small lights attached to
Finally, it was time to enter the cave! Becca told us to stand in front of a wall, which had metal steps attached to it. This was the entrance to the cave. There was also a thick black rope running along the outside of the cave which is used as a safety precaution. We attached our harness to the rope, ensuring we were safe and secure if we did slip. Becca went first, and showed us how it was done. I then followed behind. This was an adventurous way to enter the cave - although I don’t know why I was expecting for us to just walk in! Once we all reached the top, the challenge really began for me. The entrance to the cave was so small, I didn’t think I would be able to fit!
Becca went first again, and I followed shortly after. Once I crawled into the cave, this experience was complete mind over matter for me. I am usually very claustrophobic, but I pushed through - and I can proudly say I overcame one of my biggest fears! Becca later explained that this is the smallest space in the cave, and said if you can get through that, you will be fine to carry on with the experience - which is why they put it at the beginning.
Becca informed us that we were not alone in the cave. There were also small bats sleeping inside, and they were so tiny we had to be careful not to knock them or shine our light in their direction. Once we had all entered the cave and sat in a comfortable space, Becca wanted to show us how dark the cave really was. She turned the lights on our helmets off one by one, which is when we were shocked to realise the cave was completely pitch black. Becca told us that if we wave our hands in front of our faces, our brain tricks us into thinking that we can see them - but we actually can’t!
My favourite part of this caving adventure was the abseiling! I was so excited to find out we had to abseil down that I volunteered to go first. Becca advised me to have my back facing the drop, and to bend my knees. From here, I started slowly walking down the wall while moving the rope up. It was amazing to see the view. Underneath me was a giant lake with a boat to travel across (which we later used to get across the cave). There were LED lights in places under the water, which gave it a magical feel.
We also got to walk through the cheese chamber, which was a room filled with cave-aged cheddar cheese. We were informed that most of the cheese in the cave was approximately a year old, and there were cloths covering the cheese to protect it from any dirt or mould.
After we explored where the cheese was kept, we then ventured to the final part of the cave. This involved a lot of climbing. After what seemed like a never-ending climb to the top of the cave, we finally saw the light indicating we were near the exit. Becca had another treat in store for us; the exit from the cave was a zipline! This time Charlotte decided to take the lead. Becca hooked Charlotte to the zipline, and off she went. We were lucky the sun was still shining when we got out of the cave. It was then my turn to take the leap. Once Becca attached me to the zipline, I had such an adrenaline rush! The view you get from the zipline is amazing.
This caving experience has definitely been one of my favourites, as it is such a unique adventure. I would like to thank Gayle for inviting Charlotte and I to visit. I would also like to thank Becca and Chris, our lovely hosts, for making the experience even more enjoyable.