Creswell Crags

Useful Information

View down the gorge showing the limestone rocks and caves on one side.
Location: Welbeck, Nottinghamshire. B6042 (Crags Road) between the A616 and A60, 2km east of Creswell village.
Open: Visitor Centre:
FEB to OCT daily 10:30-16:30.
NOV to JAN Sun 10:30-16:30.
School holidays daily 11:30, 13:30, 15.
SEP to OCT Sat, Sun 11:30, 13:30, 15.
NOV to JAN Sun 11:30, 14.
Fee: Visitor Center: free.
Ice Age Tour:
Adults GBP 6.50, Children GBP 4.50, Concessions GBP 5, Family (2+2) GBP 20.
Rock Art Tour:
Adults GBP 8, Children GBP 5, Concessions GBP 7, Family (2+2) GBP 25.
Exhibition only:
Adults GBP 3, Children GBP 1.50, Concessions GBP 2, Family (2+2) GBP 8.
Parking: car GBP 1. (Donation)
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: electric.
Guided tours:  
Bibliography: Anon (ND 2002?): Creswell Crags, Visitor Guide by oakleaf-graphics. 16 pp, many colour photos. SB
Anon (ND, 2002?): Walking in the Creswell Limestone Area, Creswell Heritage Trust, 12pp. Five walks, five maps. SB
W Boyd Dawkins (1880): Early Man in Britain, 537 pp 168 figs.
This is the companion volume to Cave Hunting, and goes into greater detail. There are good accounts of the caves of Cresswell Crag, Castleton [Derbyshire] Pont Newydd [North Wales], the caves of Somerset, S Devon etc. A scarce item. Original publishers binding. Picture spine gold block etc. Some wear, on spine o/w G. HB
Tony Waltham (1984): Caves, crags and gorges, A guide to limestone country in England and Wales. Creswell Crags pp 245 - 249
Address: Creswell Crags Visitor Centre, Crags Road, Welbeck, near Worksop, Nottinghamshire S80 3LH, Tel: +44-1909-720378 E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1870 exploration of Creswell Crags began.
APR-2003 three archeologists discovered prehistoric cave art in Church Cave.
2009 new exhibition building.


the footpath and Boat Cave, which is closed by a gate.

Creswell Crags is an ensemble of several small caves along both sides of a small valley. The valley was carved out of limestone by a small river. So numerous crags, mostly small and narrow caves were cut through. The gorge is about 500m long and the gorge floor is occupied by a large lake.

A footpath from the visitor centre at the upper end of the gorge leads along the limestone cliffs. At the lower end the path crosses the road and leads back up on the other side. So it is possible to visit all the caves known as Robin Hood's cave, Churchhole, Grundy's Parlour or Pin Hole. The caves are protected by metal grills to preserve them, but the grills allow at last a glimpse of how the caves look like. There are regular tours from the visitors centre into Robin Hood's Cave.

This caves and the hidden valley were shelter to Ice Age man. The excavations in the last century showed remains of Neanderthals and modern hunters, Ice Age animals and rare engravings. Unfortunately the Victorian archaeologists did not use the modern techniques for excavation and documentation. So on their hunt for spectacular finds much information, the crags could have provided are now destroyed forever.

The oldest remains in Creswell Crags are 45,000 years old Neandertal stone tools. It is the most northerly place in the world with Neandertal remains. The idea is, that Neandertals, living in southern England and northern France, walked far north, to follow the deer herds in summer. They stayed here only a few weeks until they had to go back south. The whole journey was possible only because of the much lower sea level. The channel between England and France was dry during most of the Ice Age. But most of the visits are dated to have happened much later, between 30,000 and 12,000 years ago.

This site is very important for archaeology. One fact proving this is the word Creswellian. The Creswellian is a Paleolithic (Old Stone Age) culture of Britain, named after the type locale (locus typicus) at Creswell Crags.

Later this place was visited by modern man, for example they were used during the middle ages. But the story, that Robin Hood found shelter in this caves, is just a legend. No Robin-Hood-remains were found during excavation....

In April 2003 a new discovery was made, the first discovery of Palaeolithic cave art in Britain. In Church Cave three archaeologists, Paul G. Bahn, Paul Pettitt and Sergio Ripoll, discovered engravings which seem to be Paleolithic. These are the first engravings found in Britain. Nevertheless, there were figurines and other portable art of this period. Engravings are extremely difficult to see, you need a trained eye and advantageous lighting. They are not colourful, and only visible if the shadow falls from the right direction. Nobody had combed the British caves in search of engravings, so the three scientists made a survey and discovered engraved marks in a number of caves. Here at Creswell Crags, they found both figurative and non-figurative engravings of the period. They have been systematically investigated and the results are published by now.

There are two tours at Creswell Crags. The Ice Age Tour is offered on all open days without the need to prebook. It goes into Robin Hood Cave, the largest of the caves on site. The Rock Art Tour shows the only Ice Age rock art in Britain, in Church Hole Cave. It is offered only after prebooking.

Creswell Crags Gallery