FIRST LOOK: 5 new attractions coming to Cheddar Gorge
PUBLISHED: 18:00 08 August 2017
Free-fall into one of Somerset's oldest caves or take a virtual trip to the gorge's peaks - here are some of the exciting plans for Cheddar Gorge and Caves.
A few weeks ago the Mercury reported a few of Longleat’s plans for the gorge, including the possible demolition of the crumbling and derelict Cox’s Mill Hotel.
At the public meeting on July 25, Longleat’s head of operations David Gillingham and the gorge’s operations manager Leon Troake told the packed village hall where the leisure company saw its future going.
Here are the five new attractions which are expected to come to the gorge:
1. Escape Rooms
Following the floods last November, Longleat needed to find a new use for its shop, which was too large for its purpose.
Escape rooms have become a huge hit in the UK, with some already popping up in Weston and Bristol.
The Vault and Caved In will offer teams of four to six people the opportunity to try an escape room with a twist – where participants will need to solve puzzles and challenges in the dark with just a helmet light to guide them.
The construction of the new attraction is already underway and is expected to be open in a matter of weeks.
2. Beyond The View
Mr Troake announced the firm’s open top bus service through the gorge was ‘no longer viable’ as it ‘was not sustainable’.
He told the Mercury the firm would instead introduce a new cinematic visual experience which would give everyone access to the highest points of the gorge as well as using old pictures and video footage to recreate parts of its history.
He added: “We do not want people to watch this and then think they have seen the gorge.
“Instead we want them to be able to go out and explore and visualise what they have seen, the old houses, buildings and features in the new setting.”
3. Black Cat Free Fall
Guests will be able to crawl through the small passages of the gorge and experience a heart-racing drop into Gough’s Cave, which is more than 500,000 years old.
Mr Troake said: “You will be strapped up with a harness and either free fall for a metre and a half forwards or backwards.
“You will then be lowed through the Black Cat chamber, finishing in Gough’s Cave.”
The new attraction will give adrenaline seekers a new view of the centuries-old cave.
Rock climbing and abseiling are a huge part of Cheddar Gorge and Caves and now Longleat is finding new ways to get everyone involved.
The firm has announced its plans to create a new climbing wall for beginners, which will help take even the most nervous of climbers to the next level.
The progressive climbing wall will be part of a major rebrand for Longleat’s Rocksport attractions.
5. Cox’s Mill
As previously reported in the Mercury, the historic hotel could be demolished after Mr Gillingham told the busy public meeting it was no longer viable.
He said: “By knocking down Cox’s Mill we can restore the view of the gorge and create an area which could be used for parking.”
Although it is not yet known what will take its place, the company has said the land would act as parking in the short term before looking at other options.