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Clearwell Caves

The ancient mines at Clearwell Caves are a secret world hidden beneath the trees; they are an exciting underground experience for the whole family. Cafe, shop, picnic area, free parking.

Attraction in or near Clearwell


For thousands of years, iron ore mining was the main industry in the Forest of Dean. At Clearwell Caves you discover the hidden world the miners created, as they dug through impressive natural caverns to remove iron ore and ochre pigment.

Open to all ages, our nine awesome show caverns are full of exciting things to discover. All you need is a pair of sensible shoes and a sense of wonder and we’ll provide the rest.

Living History

The caverns are a chronicle of thousands of years of mining at Clearwell Caves and you can still meet the local Forest Freeminers here – men whose birthright entitles them to dig for iron ores and precious ochres still found here today.

As more mined caverns have been uncovered over the years we have discovered many artefacts that record the history of the mines and show that children as young as seven – known as ‘billy boys’ – would use a ‘billy’ or hod to carry 60-70lbs of ore at a time. If you’re feeling strong, you can test your strength down the mine and see just what 60-70lbs feels like.

Discover a pool of tranquillity deep underground and come face to face with the ancient creatures of the area as they are brought back to life upon the very walls of the caves they went on to form 350 million years ago. You might even discover a hidden skeleton!

The Silent Cave Dwellers

The caves are home to a variety of bats including greater horseshoe, natterers and long-eared bats. It is unlikely you’ll spot one of our hidden inhabitants on your adventure, as they are most active on warm evenings after they’ve come out of hibernation. Luckily, the constant temperature and lack of disruption in Clearwell Caves provides an ideal sanctuary for the bats, which are currently on the decline in the UK.

Like our nocturnal residents, you can now experience how sound reverberates against the cavern walls. Play an instrument crafted from an old air receiver found in the cave; create a beat and fill the cavern with sound and activity, as it was in its mining past. Press the red button to hear a standing wave, creating loud and quiet areas as you walk around the cavern, creating a sound landscape, just like bats do!

Follow in the footsteps of Dr Who and Merlin

A space this unique naturally provides the kind of magic and wonder that works so well on film and video, which is why over the years we’ve played host to the filming of programmes such as His Dark Materials, Cursed, Britannia, Dr Who, Merlin, The Chronicles of Narnia, Da Vinci’s Demons, Kidnapped, The Changes and many others.

Our gift shop sells unusual mementos and even ochre pigment from the mine. The café sells a wide range of delicious food and cakes, with excellent leaf teas and organic espresso based coffees.

If you feel even more adventurous, you can book to go deeper into the workings and explore parts of the Caves well beyond the public areas. See separate listing in Activities or our website for more details. 

Free parking. Picnic and children's play area. See website for full details of activities and special events.



  • Attraction
  • Baby changing facilities
  • Children welcome
  • Coach parties accepted
  • Disabled toilets
  • Dogs not accepted (except guidedogs)
  • Facilities for educational visits
  • Facilities for groups
  • Families
  • Film and Theatre
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Heritage
  • Museum
  • Off-Road Parking
  • On-site catering or Cafe
  • Rainy Days
  • Visitor Attraction


Clearwell Caves
Nr Coleford
GL16 8JR
O/S Ref: SO 577 082

Enter your start address:

From Coleford town centre take B4228 towards Lydney and Chepstow. Continue for approximately 1mile and take turning to Clearwell on right hand side. Follow brown and white signs to Clearwell Caves car and coach park on the left hand side.

  • Clearwell
  • Coleford


Clearwell Caves Christmas – Archie and the Unicorn

28th November 2020 - 31st December 2020
Christmas at Clearwell Caves takes you into a whole other world

Held at Clearwell Caves in or near Clearwell


Associated Businesses

Adventure Caving in Clearwell

Let us take you on an adventure to remember. This is an experience which will make your stay in the Forest of Dean something special. Involves some climbing, crawling, getting dirty, and good fun!  

Attraction in or near Clearwell

The Lamproom Cafe at Clearwell Caves

A gem of a cafe - drop in even if just passing by - serving delicious light meals, homemade soups, cakes and superb leaf teas or Illy aribica coffee. The cafe walls are lined with fascinating mining memorabilia.

Cafe or Tearoom in or near Clearwell

The Giftshop at Clearwell Caves

Find a gift that is special to the Forest.

Attraction in or near Clearwell