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National Showcaves Centre for Wales

Set off on a deep, dark quest with a visit to these stunning showcaves in South Wales


Posted: 25 July 2011
by Helen McKay-Ferguson

Dripping stalactites, a winding pathway, dramatic shadows looming over the gnarled and crusty walls… As you venture into the depths of this vast underground cave system beneath the cliffs of South Wales, you can easily imagine yourself journeying through Middle Earth on a treacherous Lord Of The Rings-style quest. The Welsh name of the largest cave, Dan-Yr-Ogof, even has a rather deliciously Tolkienian ring to it. The caves lay hidden until 1912 when local farmers Tommy and Jeff Morgan went exploring. It was so dark they used candles to light their way and drew arrows in the sand to find their way back.

Star attractions
As well as the splendid Dan-Yr-Ogof cave, there’s the spooky Bone Cave, replete with skeletons, and the spectacular Cathedral Cave. And if all those subterranean endeavours prove a
little too scary for small ones (Sam Gamgee had his moments, after all), hopefully the life-size dinosaurs models to seek out in the bushes above ground will hit the spot. At Mr Morgan’s Farmyard you can get
acquainted with creatures of a more diminutive, and warm-blooded, ilk. And there’s an Iron Age Village showcasing rural Welsh life circa 1000 BC.

Family X-Factor
Had your fill of geological, zoological, historical diversions? Head to Barney’s Play Barn, where your charges can blow off steam courtesy of plastic slides, bouncy bridges and the like.

Not many people know this, but… To date, ten miles of caves have been discovered, but
experts believe that's just brushing the surface, so to speak...

Don’t forget to pack… Warm jumpers. The Welsh sun may be blazing outside (if you’re lucky), but its warming rays won’t penetrate to these chilly underground depths. And while the terrain of those underground paths may have been ironed out for the easy passage of the casual day-tripper, it’s probably best to leave the Manolo Blahniks at home.

Cost
£13.50 (adults), £7.50 (children), under-threes are free.

National Showcaves Centre For Wales
, Abercrave, Swansea SA9 1GJ.

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