During the last Ice Age, between 50,000 and 10,000 years ago, Creswell Crags was among the most northerly places on earth to have been visited by our ancient ancestors, a story that is unique on a European and World scale. Wooly mammoths roamed the lands around Creswell Crags, and nomadic Neanderthal man sought shelter in Creswell Crags’ caves whilst they were following these migrating animals.
The gorge is honeycombed with caves and smaller fissures, and is a wonderful, serene and beautiful site to explore with the whole family.
Home to Britain’s only known example of Ice Age cave art, dated 13,000 years old, it is simply dripping in history and wills to be explored.
Cave tours to this incredible site run throughout the week, so why not transport yourself back in time, immerse yourself in the history and beauty of Creswell Crags, and see artefacts, hand tools, and other fascinating things they left behind.
Our Life In The Ice Age tour takes you deep into Robin Hoods Cave, the largest cave on site, where you will be transported back to the Ice Age and beyond: discovering the history of the gorge, from 120,000 years ago when it was a Mediterranean climate with hippopotamus wading and wallowing in the lake; through to the freezing climes of the Ice Age; the Victorian Age when the gorge was almost changed entirely if it weren’t for the decisions of one man, all the way through to modern times, and in particular, 2003, when the Cave Art was discovered and the site was propelled into world famous status.
You will learn about the animals that used the gorge, why they came here, and most importantly, about the Neanderthals and Early Modern Humans who followed these migrating animals all the way to Creswell.
Inside the cave you will get chance to sit where our ancestors sat during this freezing period, learn how they used animals in their entirety to help them survive this harsh climate, and how they were so sophisticated as to create tools and weapons to help them survive. You will venture deep into a hyena den, and discover how the caves are still being studied, on a global scale, by many archaeologists.
The Rock Art Tour (March-September), takes you into Church Hole, on the Northerly side of the gorge. You will, with help of the guide, interpret these unique, fascinating and world famous engravings that are on the walls and ceiling. You will discover the unique way in which these etchings were found by three archaeologists, and the meanings behind them.
IF all of this isn’t enough, there is the award-winning museum to explore before or after your tour, where some of the most famous discoveries from Creswell Crags are housed. Get up close and personal to the artefacts of this incredibly fascinating place.
If you’re not short on time, there are wonderful walks to incorporate into your visit. These can take you into the surrounding beauty of Welbeck and Clumber, or just around the local area using the many bridle paths.
The gorge is dog friendly, as is the café, which has both summer and winter menus with tastes to suit everyone. Quench your thirst with speciality coffee’s using our own blend of Crags Coffee beans, or satisfy your hunger with jacket potatoes, panini’s, soups and home-made lighter bites.
An array of cakes and tray bakes will mean you definitely have room for dessert!
Once you have finished, there is a wonderful shop to visit so you can take home a memento of your day. With books written and signed by the archaeologists who found the art, unique branded gifts, food and drink from local businesses, large fossils and other sculptures, to educational toys and gifts linked to the curriculum, there will surely be something that will catch your eye.