Wookey Hole Caves - History

History

The name Wookey is derived from the Celtic (Welsh) for 'cave', "Ogo" or "Ogof" which gave the early names for this cave of "Ochie" "Ochy". Hole is Anglo-Saxon for cave which is itself of Latin/Norman derivation. Therefore the name Wookey Hole Cave basically means cave cave cave.

Wookey Hole was occupied by humans in the Iron Age, while nearby Hyena Cave was occupied by Stone Age hunters. Badger Hole and Rhinoceros Hole are two dry caves on the slopes above the Wookey ravine near the Wookey Hole resurgence and contain in situ cave sediments laid down during the Ice Age.

In 1544 products of Roman lead working in the area were discovered. The lead mines across the Mendips have produced contamination of the water emerging from the underground caverns at Wookey Hole. The lead in the water is believed to have affected the quality of the paper produced.

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