Royal Forest of Dean Nr Coleford Gloucestershire England
For thousands of years iron ore has been mined at Clearwell Caves. You can still meet a Free Miner here; men whose ancient birthright entitles them to dig for minerals within the Hundred of St Briavels and the Royal Forest of Dean. Clearwell Caves are now a working mining museum where visitors can see impressive caverns with geological and mining displays. Iron ore from the Caves has been used over many centuries to make tools, weapons and machinery. Some forms of the iron ore occurs in powder form, red, yellow, purple and brown ochre; they are highly valued as pigments and still mined at Clearwell Caves. The iron mines are an important part of the Forest of Dean's history and environment. Clearwell Caves are run by father and son team, Ray and Jonathan Wright. Here are just some of the great reasons to visit Clearwell Caves: Voted Gloucestershire's Family Attraction of the Year for 2003 - Nine impressive caverns to explore - Lots of great events - Deep Level adventure caving activities - Blacksmith workshop - Ochre workshop - Educational and fun for the whole family - Guided tours for pre-booked groups - Excellent Gift Shop with crystals, minerals and ochre to buy - Spectacular Christmas Fantasy in December - Great cafe- Surface walks - Picnic areas. As well as entering an extensive natural cave system, when you visit Clearwell Caves you are experiencing some of Britain's oldest underground mine workings, dating back well over 4500 years. You walk through impressive caverns created by many generations of Forest people who made their living by mining iron ore and ochre.
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