Witch Marks

New for 2019. Hundreds of protective marks, also known as Witches Marks, have been discovered at Creswell Crags. This is believed to be the largest collection ever found in the UK. Join our tour guide for a unique opportunity to discover the most recent secret revealed at Creswell Crags. Read about our Witch Mark discovery here.

Witch marks at Creswell Crags

What are Witch Marks?

Ritual Protection Marks
Commonly known as Witch Marks these Apotropaic marks, from the Greek apotrepein, meaning ‘to turn away’, are most commonly found carved on stone or woodwork near a building’s doorways, windows and fireplaces, to protect inhabitants and visitors from evil spirits.

A few have been recorded at Shakespeare’s Birthplace and spotted in medieval barns like the Bradford-on-Avon Tithe Barn, where they were etched into the ancient timber to protect crops.

“the largest assemblage of protective marks ever found in British caves, and possibly anywhere in Britain”

Academic and TV presenter, Professor Ronald Hutton, an authority on folklore, says:

“This discovery is significant because it looks like the largest assemblage of protective marks ever found in British caves, and possibly anywhere in Britain. This is a suddenly a large new area of research for historians and archaeologists, and so adds appreciatively to the importance of the Crags as a world resource. This is a hugely important and exciting find, in one of the main current growth areas of knowledge about the past. Creswell Crags has already amazed the twenty-first century with its revelations of Palaeolithic designs. Now it does so again with a fresh one of medieval and early modern ritual protection marks on a huge scale, making a very important contribution, at a stroke, to one of the most significant current areas of new scholarly research.”

Duncan Wilson OBE, Chief Executive of Historic England said of the discovery:

“Creswell Crags is already of international importance for its Ice Age art and ancient remains.  To find this huge number of protection marks from the more recent past adds a whole new layer of discovery.  Even two hundred years ago the English countryside was a very different place, death and disease were everyday companions and evil forces could readily be imagined in the dark.  One can only speculate on what it was the people of Creswell feared might emerge from the underworld into these caves.”

Witch marks at Creswell Crags

Cave Tours for Your Family, Household or Safe Bubble.
Available from 10th August onwards

Explore our limestone caves with your family or household group, under the guidance of one of our expert tour guides.

Whether you choose Life in the Ice Age or Witch Marks in Robin Hood Cave, or Rock Art in Church Hole, you’re sure to learn something new, have a fun adventure, and be awed by how many stories of the past come alive at Creswell Crags.

Please pay careful attention to the notes and terms and conditions of your booking. Contact us if you need more information. Bookings cannot be amended on the day of the tour and maximum numbers will be strictly adhered to.

Rock Art Tours in Church Hole Cave

Available between March and October, closed in winter due to roosting bats.

Hear about Creswell Crags in the Ice Age and see Britain’s only Ice Age rock art, in this small but internationally important cave.

Available times: 11:00, 12:30, 13:30, 15:00

Group Size Cave Tour only price Cave Tour Package price
Number of people in your group

Includes:

  • Cave tour

*Please note, that if you are bringing a car to Creswell Crags, you will need to pay parking at our parking machines - £4 for 3 hours, or £6 for full day

Includes:

  • Cave tour
  • Full day parking for 1 vehicle
  • A free drink token for every member of the group, to spend in our café
  • A souvenir pencil and a Creswell Crags postcard for every member of the group
  • A 10% off Birthday Party voucher
2 £30 £40
3 £40 £50
4 £50 £60
Additional information
  • These tours are for household bubbles of up to 4 people who do not need to socially distance from each other; there shall not be space for guests to always socially distance from each other within the cave. Due to social distancing with the tour guide, we cannot accommodate more than 4 guests in this cave.
  • We require face masks to be worn by all adults and children over 11 years old, unless exempt for medical reasons. All visitors must be willing to wear a helmet (provided) when in the caves, and must consent to the caves being secured from the inside while the tour is in progress.
  • Unfortunately dogs are not allowed in the caves unless they are support dogs. In this instance we ask that you let us know in advance so that we can make appropriate arrangements.
  • Your tour guide shall be wearing a helmet with face shield, and maintaining a minimum of 1m+ distance from all guests on the tour. All guest helmets are sanitised between tours, and hand sanitiser is provided.
  • Children must be 5 years or older to go in the caves, and children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.
  • We have cave spiders at Creswell Crags. Whilst large, they are harmless. If you have a severe phobia, please alert a member of staff.
Instructions once the tour is booked
  • Please arrive at our Reception desk at least 15 minutes before your tour time. A member of staff shall provide you with your tickets/tour pack, and direct you to where you should meet your tour guide for the start of your tour.
  • If you have purchased a cave tour package, your parking pass shall be included in this pack, and you should have time to return to your car to display this in the windscreen.
Exploring caves at Creswell Crags

Life in the Ice Age OR Witch Marks Tours in Robin Hood Cave

Explore our largest cave, named after our region’s famous outlaw! Choose Life in the Ice Age to learn all about the prehistoric heritage of Creswell Crags, and what life would have been like for the early humans who took shelter in the caves. Choose Witch Marks to focus on the early modern apotropaic marks in the cave – carved in the depths of the cave to keep away evil spirits. We have more Witch Marks in one cave than anywhere else in the UK.

Available times: 10:30, 11:30, 13:00, 14:30, 15:30

Group Size Cave Tour only price Cave Tour Package price
Number of people in your group Includes:

  • Cave tour

*Please note, that if you are bringing a car to Creswell Crags, you will need to pay parking at our parking machines - £4 for 3 hours, or £6 for full day

Includes:

  • Cave tour
  • Full day parking for 1 vehicle
  • A free drink token for every member of the group, to spend in our café
  • A souvenir pencil and a Creswell Crags postcard for every member of the group
  • A 10% off Birthday Party voucher
2 £30 £40
3 £40 £50
4 £50 £60
5 £60 £70
6 £70 £80
Additional information
  • These tours are for household bubbles of up to 6 people who do not need to socially distance from each other; there shall not be space for guests to always socially distance from each other within the cave. Due to social distancing with the tour guide, we cannot accommodate more than 6 guests in this cave.
  • We require face masks to be worn by all adults and children over 11 years old, unless exempt for medical reasons. All visitors must be willing to wear a helmet (provided) when in the caves, and must consent to the caves being secured from the inside while the tour is in progress.
  • Unfortunately dogs are not allowed in the caves unless they are support dogs. In this instance we ask that you let us know in advance so that we can make appropriate arrangements.
  • Your tour guide shall be wearing a helmet with face shield, and maintaining a minimum of 1m+ distance from all guests on the tour. All guest helmets are sanitised between tours, and hand sanitizer is provided.
  • Children must be 5 years or older to go in the caves, and children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.
  • We have cave spiders at Creswell Crags. Whilst large, they are harmless. If you have a severe phobia, please alert a member of staff.
Instructions once the tour is booked
  • Please arrive at our Reception desk at least 15 minutes before your tour time. A member of staff shall provide you with your tickets/tour pack, and direct you to where you should meet your tour guide for the start of your tour.
  • If you have purchased a cave tour package, your parking pass shall be included in this pack, and you should have time to return to your car to display this in the windscreen.