Scott's facts and findings
Welcome to Scott's fifth column.
Following the Royal Geographical Society's recent recognition of Nottingham Castle's caves as part of one of the best tourist trails in the country, heexplores whythis should come as no
surprise to anyone who has visited these unique and special caves.
"The caves at Nottingham Castle attract approximately 25,000
visitors each year. The chambers and passages, some of which may date to the
12th century, are unique and allow visitors to walk through the history.
Expertly carved into the sandstone these caves have served many purposes over
the centuries including communication passages, dungeons, storage chambers and
air raid shelters.
They were used in times of peace to transport men and goods
from the base of the castle rock to the castle itself. They have been the
settings of sieges, and, according to legend, the capture of Roger Mortimer by
Edward III and the dungeon where King David of Scotland was held prisoner. In
short they are an important part of the nation's history.
Mortimer's Hole with inlaid site cave map
The Royal Geographical Society considers Nottingham Castle's caves, along with six other cave systems in the city, to form one of the top trails in the country, enabling people to learn more about the city's heritage. The trail can be found on the Society's new websitewww.discoveringbritain.org
The trail is the latest to be created for the city's caves but asmartphone app (Nottingham Cave Trail)provides a trail of ten of the caves and allows users to view laser scanned flythroughs of caves which allows users to go on virtual tours of parts of the caves at the castle as well as some other caves in the city, on their mobile device.
Nottingham City Museums and Galleries, along with partner organisations, helped develop the app, which is free to download. There are plans to increase the number of caves on the app later this year but already it is proving to be a very popular way to explore these ancient features with modern technology.
There is, however, no substitute to experiencing the atmosphere of the caves in person, by delving deep inside the castle rock on one of the many tours, some of which are even led by Robin Hood or Friar Tuck.
Looking towards 2020...there are exciting plans, as part of the Nottingham Castle Transformation Project, to hold tours of caves which have never been open to the public as well as reopening caves which have not seen public tours in decades.
We are also learning a great deal about the caves, as part of research programmes which will feature in a future column, and recent investigation of underground tunnels dug in the 1950s by amateur archaeologists have suggested there may be even more caves at the castle yet to be discovered."