Shakespeare's Cave

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Regions \ Wales \ Llangattock/Clydach Gorge \ Shakespeare's Cave


Contents

Location

Cross Devils Bridge and turn left. An unstable track runs above the river. Continue until you come to a small valley with a stream in it. This is Cwm Pwch. Follow the stream for about 50 metres until there are limestone cliffs on either side of you. Shakespeare's Cave has a large entrance on the far side with a (hopefully) small stream issuing from it.

SO 21700 12490 or 51.805543N 3.137038W

Access

Not gated.

Description

The water in this cave originates in Llanelly Quarry Pot, the far end of which is only about 17m from the end of Shakespeare's.

This cave is liable to flood and should not be attempted after periods of heavy rain.

At all times the cave has deep, cold water, so a wet suit is highly desirable. Even in a global warming hot summer one is going to feel the cold cold water that is cold!

The low entrance leads to a small chamber with the stream issuing from a narrow rift on the right. Continue along the rift for about 75 m, one finds it best to squeeze through sideways. At this point is the first duck, this is a simple flake and one is out of deep water very quickly. The passage continues narrow for about 80m where another duck leads to about 3m of deep water. A little further on is a third duck. One continues and sees a passage on the left which is quickly too tight. Another 15m or so leads to a passage on the right, this is the Stratford bypass. If you take the bypass you avoid the first sump. The problem with the bypass is that it gets muddy, it also ends with a tight awkward duck which is best passed on ones back.

If one passes the bypass and continues down the main rift one soon comes to a rope on the right hand wall. This rope leads you through the 2m sump and on past the duck on the other side. The passage continues upstream for some distance until it narrows right down in deep water. Progress along the tight rift becomes impossible and falling water can be heard through the impassable crack ahead.

History

It is said that Shakespeare was so impressed with the entrance to this cave, which resembles a fairy castle, that he sat inside and wrote A Midsummer Nights Dream, or at least got the idea of the play there. The valley is called Cwm Pwca, from which we can suppose Puck takes his name. This area is steeped in folklore, much of which is included in Shakespeare's play. Indeed, if one stands in the middle of Devils Bridge and look at the far bank one sees a rock with many spirals scratched into it. It is possible to see the devils face in this rock. The spiral is an ancient pagan device, the original maze, for the Devil cannot escape the spiral.

Survey by CSS/ACG.

References

Caves of South Wales by Tim Stratford. 4th edition 1995. pub. Cordee

External Links

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