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King Arthur's Cave Nature Reserve

King Arthur's Cave Nature Reserve
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Great Doward
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Once a far more industrial site, this small and ancient nature reserve is set within the Doward landscape near Symonds Yat. A footpath runs between the canopy of woodland, from the car park leading to King Arthur’s Cave. The rich history of this place is tangible and is the perfect spot for curious children and adults alike. There are many hollows and bumps along the path, reflecting the pits and heaps created from the extensive and centuries-old quarrying of the limestone below.

The cave itself is limestone and is located at the base of a low cliff in the nature reserve. It is shrouded in local superstition and it is unclear how or why the cave became linked with King Arthur. Some say it played a part in the early legend of King Vortigern, a native British King who fought the invading Anglo Saxons, while others suggest it was actually part of a linguistic mix-up (‘Deu Arth’ was the old Welsh name for the hill fort at Little Doward and is also taken to mean ‘relating to Arthur’).

The wood is dominated by ash, beech and oak trees and above the cave and the old quarry grow rare species of whitebeam trees, endemic to this part of the Wye Valley. All year round you can spot interesting or colourful birds, shrubs and flowers.


Open from dawn until dusk.
  • Special Features

    • Historical Interest
  • Welcomes

    • Free entry
    • Children welcome
    • Dogs welcome
King Arthur's Cave Nature Reserve

Directions & Parking

Map pin King Arthur's Cave Nature Reserve
Great Doward
There is a small pull-in to park on Sandyway lane near the campsite, an interpretation board and well walked public footpath that goes down past the cave.

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If you continue along the footpath past the cave, you will
reach the Seven Sisters Rocks with beautiful views up and down the river.