Wild Wookey FAQ

Requirements

Not for the faint-hearted, this physically and psychologically challenging Wild Wookey experience is suitable for capable, active, adventurous explorers who are at ease with exercise, enclosed spaces, heights, climbing, abseiling, crawling and who have good leg and upper body strength. The minimum age is 14 and maximum group size is 7. All adventurers should be a minimum height of about 153 cm (5 feet) and maximum of 198 cm (6 feet 6 inches), with a minimum body mass of around 40 kg (6 stones 3 pounds) and maximum body mass of 105 kg (16 stones) with a maximum waist measurement of 100 cm (39.5 inches). All adventurers must be active and sensible, be capable of understanding and acting upon safety instructions, and be able to lift a foot above their knee. Anyone who is not capable of these requirements could be disallowed entry with no refund, similarly anyone not suitably dressed will also be barred from inclusion, see below.

What is it like?

This is a caving trip which involves horizontal and vertical specialist caving techniques, the route has been researched, planned and prepared by highly experienced and qualified cavers – it represents genuine challenges, physical and psychological, and requires a good level of personal effort sustained for over two hours. It is not suitable for people who are claustrophobic, overweight, inactive, suffering from ailments or on medication or recovering from surgery etc.. (See medical list below).

  • Pregnancy
  • Whiplash
  • Epilepsy
  • Heart conditions, e.g. Angina
  • Knee, shoulder, or ankle problems/previous sporting injuries (dislocations/fractures)
  • Prone to attacks of fainting, dizziness or blackouts
  • Recent surgery

Body piercings need to be removed

What are your opening times?

Wild Wookey caving experience trips are open all year round as they are unaffected by the weather and the cave is a constant temperature despite the seasons. You must book in advance on our online calendar.

What should we bring?

Wild Wookey provides over-suits and all specialist equipment necessary but participants need to bring their own clothing to wear beneath – this should be clothing which allows easy freedom of movement and which you do not mind getting slightly muddy, damp or dusty – jeans are not suitable – the best clothing is tracksuit style or fleece material (coats are not necessary – the cave is relatively mild and overheating can be a problem). Long-sleeved tops and leggings (no shorts) are best. All participants should also bring rugged footwear (walking boots or wellington boots) which fit well and will not slip off over the back of their heels (which could result in them being lost in deep water or between narrow rock crevices), footwear should have a good grip and provide ankle protection. 

Is there a minimum age for the Wild Wookey caving experience?

Yes, the minimum age is fourteen.

Can groups do it?

Yes, provided all members are capable, as described above, Wild Wookey can be an excellent team experience with plenty of shared memories being generated. There are photograph opportunities before and after too. Group size maximum is seven, but larger groups can be split into teams and catered for – please enquire for further details via the website. The experience is licensed for under 18s with the Adventure Activities Licensing Service so youth groups are also welcome provided all participants meet the requirements of height and weight.

I went Potholing once – is it like that? Do we have to squeeze through narrow gaps?

Yes, several times. Potholing and Caving are very similar, however most of the route is walking-height or greater.

What if I find I don’t like it once we have started?

If you really aren’t enjoying the experience once it has commenced then you can still travel through the main show cave route with all the caving equipment on; the participants can be accompanied along two parts of the show-cave path and you can await their return and exit together as a team. However, you will not be able to leave the show cave and change back into your personal clothes until the whole team are ready to do so. This option only exits for adults (or under eighteens who are accompanied by a responsible adult).

Is it hazardous?

Yes. A cave is a hazardous environment. Rope systems are in place to minimise personal risk where significant falls could occur – elsewhere the cave contains features which can result in personal injury and participants need to be aware of, and acknowledge, this possibility. Slips, trips and falls onto rock can result in harm so all participants should exercise a cautious and sensible demeanour.  A pre-trip briefing explains how the rope systems operate.

What is the group size? If it is just me and my friend, will we join with others?

The maximum group size is 7, so yes you might be accompanying other people on the experience. Many outdoor pursuits organisations have a ratio of 1:10 but we prefer a smaller ratio for a higher quality experience, with less queuing and a greater level of observation from the instructor.

A minimum of 4 participants is required to run the experience.  If numbers are below 4 we may transfer your booking to another date.

Is it a problem if I am frightened of heights?

Yes. The experience involves two abseils (descending on a rope) and several climbing sections. Anyone with a genuine fear of heights would find this experience unsuitable. 

Is it a problem if I suffer from claustrophobia?

Yes, if you have genuine difficulties with enclosed spaces this experience is not for you. 

I’ve got body piercings? If we are wearing a harness is this a problem?

Yes, it could be. If the piercings cannot be temporarily removed for the duration of the Wild Wookey caving experience, you should consider covering them with a surgical dressing beforehand or take advice from your piercer or doctor.

I’ve got long hair! – what should I do?

We have hairnets available (free of charge) which should be capable of containing most hair while also enabling helmets to be worn properly. Anyone with masses of hair (braided, dreadlocked etc.) which stops a helmet being properly fitted and fastened might not be able to participate and risks forfeiting their place – you are advised to enquire in advance if you believe this could affect your involvement. 

Will we get soaking wet? Is there any swimming?

No. The Wild Wookey caving experience does not involve swimming, wading or immersion in water. During the winter months there is a puddle which can make your oversuit and personal clothing damp.

Is there any deep water?

Yes. The world famous show Wookey Hole Cave has a subterranean river (the River Axe) running through it in places and on several occasions the Wild Wookey caving experience takes participants close to this river, and directly above it in one section!  There are safety systems in place which participants will use under observation.

What footwear do I need?

Rugged, close-fitting walking boots or wellington boots are ideal; slip-on shoes or trainers or other flimsy footwear is not suitable as they could easily fall off and result in problems. Lace-up ankle-covering sports footwear would be acceptable, although not ideal.

What equipment is provided?

Over-suits, helmets, lights, harnesses, safety connectors and gloves will be provided.

What should I do with my personal possessions, valuables, wallet, phone etc.?

We have on-site lockers available for participants so they can stow their valuable items securely prior to venturing underground. The instructors will oversee access to all the keys in case they are dropped irretrievably during the trip.

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