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.
- Dogs welcome
- Free entry
- Children welcome
- Historical Interest
Directions & Parking
King Arthur's Cave Nature Reserve Recommends
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