Hole Lot of Wookey in Somerset England

Pardon my ignorance, but I always thought that a Wookie was a giant, ill-tempered dog-like creature straight out of Star Wars. I’m partly right as my description of a Wookie does fit the fictional creature, however, Wookey Hole is a village in Somerset, England that is something of a magnet for visitors, most of whom remain in a happy frame of mind whilst visiting the local attractions.

The village is near the town of Wells, which is in the parish of St Cuthbert Out, and that’s one of the things I like about Britain, the places names always have a story to tell. St Cuthbert was the Bishop of Lindisfarne, once the holiest place in Britain, and was much revered during the Anglo Saxon period.

The history of Wookey Hole long pre-dates even St Cuthbert. A river flows out of one of the caves, and archaeological evidence exists which shows that it was a revered place for cavemen who hunted bear and rhinoceros there about 50,000 years ago. Yes, bears and rhinos did thrive in Britain long before the last ice age.

Many millennia later when the Celtic peoples of the Iron Age were moving into Britain, they found the caves a safe and even comfortable place to live – inside, the temperature is a constant 11° Celsius. Yet by the 15th century only bones, broken pottery and legends remained.

There are many different chambers in the cave system, at least 25 are known, and many of them are only accessible by diving. In fact, Wookey Hole caves gave birth to the British pursuit of cave diving, which began there in 1935 when divers had to don those cumbersome diving suits which made it difficult to nimble make their way through the narrow chambers.

These days there is much more to do a Wookey Hole than investigate the caves, although that is a good reason for visiting.

In order to attract more visitors many other attractions have been added over time. Those attractions include a life size dinosaur display which includes 20 life size dinosaurs and a life size (although he is a fictional character) King Kong. On the premises you will be able to visit a cave museum, a fairy garden, a Victorian penny arcade and a Pirate Island Adventure Golf Course.

One of the nearby towns is called Cheddar, so it should come as no surprise to learn that at Wookey Hole also has its own brand of farm-made cheese that is naturally aged in a cave whee the constant temperature and high humidity allow the cheese to mature to perfection.

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