The legend of the Witch of Wookey Hole Caves goes back a long way.
There are consistent legends about a woman who once lived deep inside the dark chambers, who many locals believed was a witch. The first written reference was in 1470.
Legend or not, the archaeologist Herbert Balch discovered female remains in a chamber we know as the Goatherd, in 1912. Many have speculated that these are the bones of the Witch. One particular stalagmite in this cave draws visitors’ attention as this is rumoured to be the petrified figure of the original Witch of Wookey Hole.
As well as the stalagmite of the Witch (and her dog), this chamber has various formations including the largest stalagmite in Wookey Hole called the Giant, which is over 100,000 years old and about 10 feet tall (3 metres). In 10,000 years it will meet the ceiling, growing at a rate of around 0.169 millimetres annually.
The stalagmite St Michael’s Mount resembles its namesake, the isle just off the coast near Penzance, Cornwall. The Beehive (alas, no honey here) is a shorter and more rotund stalagmite perched on the corner of the pool.