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Ian Waller and his 16 year old son enjoy an amazing day out underground and up high!

What did you do on Saturday morning? For my 16 year old son and I, it was a wonderful morning of crawling through caves, climbing up rocks, abseiling into caverns and close encounters with bats, amazing geology and a mysterious past. And you know what, it was wild! In fact, it was Wild Wookey.

There’s a good chance that you have already enjoyed a family day out at Wookey Hole, with its stunning underworld caverns, dinosaur park, historic penny arcades and so much more. 

Well for the more adventurous, there is also Wild Wookey. For our visit we turned up at 9.15am one Saturday morning (afternoon sessions are also available) to be met by our fantastic guide for the day, Becca, one a select team of expert cavers and climbers who lead the Wild Wookey experience. 

Becca then took us along to the boot room to be kitted out in knee pads, boiler suits, harnesses, gloves and hard hats before leading us to the caverns. 

Becca has already explained how the harness and clips work, with one of the two clips at all times having to be attached to the guide ropes. This was soon put into practice with a clamber up to the first and one of the tightest crawling spaces, which saw us clambering along on all fours through puddles and tunnels, and just in awe of the unseen underworld wonders unveiling in front of us.

In fact, almost straight away we had the extra thrill of seeing a tiny and super cute greater horseshoe bat. Becca explained that while we could take a look, we needed to keep our distance so as not to disturb it.

It was also just along here that I discovered that my boots had sprung a leak, meaning soggy socks for the next hour or so! Thankfully I’d followed the advice of the experts and taking a spare set of clothes with me.

After a squeeze along a few more tunnels, it was time for our next climb, with a few well placed metal rungs in the walls to help our ascent. While very doable for anyone of average fitness, these climbs can be tight and twisty, with the hard hat often showing its value on the low, rocky ceilings above. The sense of achievement at the end of each climb, however, is terrific and well worth the exertion.

One thing about caving is that it’s not all upwards adventures and within no time we were being readied for the first of two abseils. Once again, Becca’s instructions were clear and concise, with my son leading the way, leaning backwards over the sheer descent before gently slipping smoothly down a rope to the rocky floor below.

Then it was time for a riverside scramble along the high walls of another cavern, again, with guide ropes to keep us on track and make sure that we didn’t fall in the murky depths of the water below. By now our confidence was up and we were loving every minute, even the super swaying metal bridge over the wet stuff.

In among the clambering, climbing and caving, Becca was a wonderful font of knowledge about all things Wookey, answering our questions about this amazing venue and telling us about the caverns still being discovered. There were also tales about still regular discoveries, from Roman coins and pots to ancient human remains and signs of ritualistic practices!

By the time we reached the end of our exploration – and to say too much here would be to give away a couple of surprises – we were tired, wet, grubby and grinning from ear to ear. Quite simply, this was one of the best family adventures that we had ever enjoyed. No, it’s not for the claustrophobic or unfit, and not great if you don’t mind getting a bit mucky. Otherwise, it is so, so good and I can’t wait until my youngest reaches his 14th so that we can do it all over again!