You’d never know it, as you browse the shops or enjoy a coffee in the city centre, but Nottingham is a city with a secret. Dug deep into the soft sandstone rock below, are more than 450 man-made caves – many of which date back to the medieval period and beyond.
The new Nottingham Cave Trail will officially launch on 30 October, and features a three-mile walk designed to give a special insight into what lies beneath, with everything from decaying dungeons to breweries, cock-fighting pits and cave houses waiting to be uncovered.
The Nottingham Cave Trail is thanks to a partnership between Historic England (previously known as English Heritage), Arts Council England, Nottingham City Council, Trent & Peak Archaeology and Experience Nottinghamshire, and aims to showcase the caves of Nottingham, and the many cave-related attractions in the city centre.
The Nottingham Cave Trail will give locals and visitors to the city a chance to use their smartphones to discover a hidden world beneath the city streets. Using exclusive flythrough videos and photos of many of the caves below the streets which are not accessible to the public, the free to download app is available for both Android and iPhone, and uses GPS technology to guide users around the city, on their very own cave-based adventure. The trail is also available as a paper map from the Nottingham Tourism Centre, and as well as showcasing caves it provides recommendations on places to visit, eat and drink along the way.
Tim Allen, Inspector of Ancient Monuments for Historic England, said: “The more you look beneath the streets and houses, behind the shops and pubs of Nottingham, the more a world of caves is revealed. For 1000 years the industrious and resourceful people of the city created new spaces in the soft sandstone rock. Historic England is delighted to have funded research that helps 21st Century Nottingham make the most of this unique asset.”
Councillor Dave Trimble, Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture, said: “Nottingham’s man-made sandstone caves are unique, and provide a fascinating insight into our city’s history. They are a really important element of our visitor offer. I’d like to thank Historic England for their funding which made possible the surveys of the caves by Trent & Peak Archaeology, and this new Cave app.”
Jennifer Spencer, Chief Executive of Experience Nottinghamshire, said: “Visitors to the city are always delighted and intrigued to discover we are a city of caves, and our cave attractions are perennially popular. This new trail is the ideal way to showcase the underground offer here, and it is sure to inspire more people to visit the city to discover our amazing cave heritage.”
The images and videos featured on the new smartphone app are the result of ongoing work by Trent & Peak Archaeology, who undertook the Nottingham Caves Survey, using high tech archaeological scanning equipment to map hundreds of caves across the city.
So whether it’s discovering the cave where Robin Hood was imprisoned, exploring hidden underground artworks, or tasting pints in atmospheric medieval cave pubs – you’ll love going underground in Nottingham. www.cavesofnottingham.com