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Clearwell Caves

Clearwell Caves
Clearwell, Nr. Coleford, Royal Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, GL16 8JR

01594 832535

Clearwell Caves near Coleford in the Forest of Dean
Clearwell Caves near Coleford in the Forest of Dean

About Clearwell Caves

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 Caves are an important but secret part of the Forest of Dean's history and environment.

  • Atmospheric mine workings with impressive caverns and winding passageways
  • Nine impressive caverns to explore
  • Visitor centre with Phyliss Lewis 'Forest Story' collection
  • Deep Level adventure caving activities
  • 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
  • Special events throughout the year
  • Spectacular Christmas Fantasy throughout December and New Year
  • Great cafe
  • Surface walks
  • Children's play area
  • 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 at Clearwell Caves.

Clearwell Caves Opening Times 2021

Reopening for two weekends in May in a very special way - by candlelight!

Christmas Fantasy: December.

Special openings

  • February school half-term holidays
  • Halloween
  • Clearwell Caves Christmas Fantasy

Clearwell Caves can open at any other times, if pre-booked.

Group Organisers

Please call to book your visit.

Clearwell Caves recommend that visitors should wear stout footwear.

  • Please call for details of disabled access
  • Ample free parking

Caving experiences at Clearwell Caves

Throughout the year 'Caving Taster Sessions' are available at Clearwell Caves and led by an experienced team of instructors in the field of caving, help make this adventure an exciting time for all to enjoy (age restrictions do apply). Read the REVIEW of our experiences of caving at Clearwell Caves in the Forest of Dean...

Visit Clearwell Caves website Whats on in the Forest of Dean pages for more information of the next 'Caving at Clearwell Caves' taster sessions.

Dogs at Clearwell Caves

Dogs are welcome above ground, but they not allowed underground in the Caves. Dogs are welcome to go in the café and shop.

Disabled Access at Clearwell Caves

The Caves are real mine workings and may not be suitable for people with walking difficulties. The pathways are steep and uneven, they can be wet in places depending on the weather, there are handrails in parts where it is steeper. You can take a buggy through, but it is difficult for wheelchairs, and it is not suitable for mobility scooters.

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