The Ancient Caves of Cresswell Crags

The Ancient Caves of Cresswell Crags

Good evening all. The weather has been amazing in England the past couple of days. Summer here tends to consist of heatwaves spaced 2 months apart. I’ve spent today taking my car to the garage and getting on with some work, before we head back down to Plymouth again tomorrow. I never knew working from home would be so hectic. I’m aching for a beach BBQ and a few ciders. Maybe this weekend if I’m lucky. The last time it was this hot, Ben and I went to visit some old limestone caves in Staffordshire, called Cresswell Crags. We went to see what it was like, and ended up on a private tour of the oldest cave art in Britain!

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The caves are carved into limestone rock, circling a lake. This little valley has been home to woolly mammoths and hyenas, as well as cave men & women for the past 20,000 years. The caves are archeological gold mines, full of flint arrows and stone tools, carved bones and pottery. There’s even a human bone that shows hyena bite marks! You’ll need to book a tour to actually go into the caves, as they are now gated off. But the site itself is beautiful, full of wildlife and surrounded by unspoilt countryside.

We booked onto a cave art tour, to see images etched into the rock wall over 14,000 years ago. It’s almost impossible to imagine that another human, tens of thousands of years ago, stood in the same spot and drew an animal on the wall. Why did they do it? Was it story telling? Was it a log of animals? Was it drawing for drawing’s sake? So many unanswered questions! Looking at the cave art really needs a professional. To the untrained eye, the lines just look like natural cracks in the wall. But once they point it out to you, it does become clearer!

I wish more people knew about these caves and their importance. There’s a museum and visitor centre that explains their history and displays many of the items found in the caves over the years. I could write a book on all the different stories here; from recent carvings on the wall to the cave names and what they’ve been used for. Fascinating and beautiful and educational – it’s a completely unique day out that I highly recommend.