Situated in the village of Clearwell in the Forest of Dean lies Clearwell Caves. For thousands of years iron ore has been mined at Clearwell Caves. The Caves are now a working mining museum where visitors can see impressive caverns with geological and mining displays. Iron ore from the Caves has been used over many centuries to make tools, weapons and machinery. The caves were formed by underground streams around 330 million years ago. They have been mined for iron ore possibly as far back as Roman times and extensively in the last century, which considerably enlarged and extended the network of natural caverns. Ochre has been mined here for even longer. Understandably there are some great ghost stories attached to the Caves, the most notable of these being that of “The Old Man”. The figure of an old miner dressed in what looks like medieval garb has been seen on numerous occasions by a multitude of visitors to the Caves. He has even interacted with some of these visitors only to disappear into thin air in front of them. There are rumours that he is the spirit of an old miner who was trapped and subsequently died deep down in the mine hundreds of years ago.
I have personally investigated the Caves on numerous occasions and also ran an event or two from there. I remember a time about eight years ago when I was invited to investigate the lower levels of the mine. We were taken down to Pillar Churn, the site of a pit collapse that claimed many lives a great many years ago. The chamber is several hundred feet below the surface and to access it you must first crawl on your belly through a tiny passage called “The Rabbit Run”. I remember being rather brave at the time and volunteering to go first. As I came to the end of the passage I entered Pillar Chamber and saw the figure of a man standing at the far end of the cave. He very quickly turned and exited through a narrow fissure in the rock. I immediately ran over thinking that someone had got lost in the caves only to find that the figure had completely disappeared into what was apparent to be a dead end. Was this a trick of the light or had I seen the old man of the Caves?
On the same night I and several others heard a scraping noise in the darkness of the same chamber. When a light was hastily switched on we discovered that a bag we had been carrying had moved a full 6 feet across the floor. A truly amazing night. FPI and Clearwell Caves feature in an episode of Great British Ghosts and many of the paranormal tales are shared by Jonathan Wright the co-owner of the Caves. You can see it here:
Clearwell Caves Great British Ghosts