King Arthur's Cave - Atlas Obscura

King Arthur's Cave

Whitchurch, England

The site of an early Arthurian battle and the dwelling-place of prehistoric people and (possibly) an ancient race of giants. 


Hidden in the woods near the picturesque little village of Symonds Yat, King Arthur’s Cave is a limestone cave shrouded in local superstition. Back in the Upper Palaeolithic era, it was once occupied by man. Prehistoric artifacts such as flint tools and woolly mammoth bones have been unearthed within and around the caves, in addition to several animal bones.

It is not known how it got its name, but the Herefordshire area is well-known for its association with Arthurian legend, and the cave has some folklore related to King Arthur. According to a popular legend, the cave was fortified by King Vortigern in his battle against the Anglo-Saxon invaders, only to be besieged and taken by Aurelius and Uther Pendragon (Arthur’s father).

In 1695, a skeleton of a “giant human” was reportedly discovered in the cave by a local goatherder. Unfortunately, however, it was lost when a Bristollian surgeon named Mr. Pye took it with him on a voyage to Jamaica, and his ships sank at sea.

Today, the nearby area is occupied by willow and birch trees. The cave is now home to bats and spiders, among other small animals, and probably no more giants or mammoths.

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August 23, 2023

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