Explore Dorking underground with the newly-launched Cave Tours
Whilst Dorking’s streets may be famous for their welcoming independent shops and eateries, eclectic architecture and historic sites, many may not know that, just below their feet as they wander the market town’s paths, is a whole other underground Dorking to be discovered.
The town boasts a mysterious cave system stretching out below, with a fascinating history linked to smugglers, wine merchants and religious gatherings – and, this summer, there’s the chance for you to visit this underground world for yourself, as Dorking again launches their popular Cave Tours.
Led by Dorking Museum and sponsored by Dorking Town Partnership, who have provided support and new helmets for the tours, the tours of the South Street Caves will begin from the entrance beside the War Memorial and cover the various interconnecting galleries of subterranean Dorking, including the so-called ‘Mystery Chamber’. Headed up by a trained guide who will impart their knowledge about the history, geology and legends associated with the caves, there is much to learn about this underground world, spanning the centuries as far back as the 1600s.
The Dorking Town Partnership Manager presented the hats to Cave Tour Manager, Jean Ward, and they were joined by Guides, Richard Bourton and Graham Speed, by Jane Freimiller and by Penny Tomkins, Secretary to the Dorking Society. There are orange helmets for visitors and each guide will have their own white one, with all bearing the Dorking Town Partnership’s HelloDorking logo.
The Dorking Town Partnership Manager, said:
“We are very proud to be able to play our part in the relaunch of the ever popular tours of Dorking’s South Street Caves. Not only does the town have a fascinating history housed within its streets, buildings and community, but there is far more to discover just beneath our feet. We hope that those signing up to visit this special subterranean world will enjoy their experience this summer and gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of our precious market town.”
Dorking Museum was the worthy recipient of the prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service earlier this year, with their many knowledgeable volunteers, that run both the brilliant West Street museum and the Cave Tours, recognised by the award that is the highest honour of its kind. Given to those volunteer groups that dedicate their time to enhance the lives of others and their local community, Dorking Museum was recognised as the important community, cultural and heritage hub that it is, at the centre of the town.
Jean Ward from Dorking Caves expressed her joy at the relaunch of the Cave Tours for summer 2021:
“We are so delighted to be reopening the South Street Cave Tours in July after having to close for a year and a half. The Cave Tours are a vital part of Dorking Museum, supporting all the work they do to engage people in the history of the town and the surrounding villages. We are over the moon that the Dorking Town Partnership have stepped in to sponsor the new hard hats. What a fantastic partnership, as we all work to support bringing the community together and providing such an interesting attraction for visitors.”
Tours of the South Street Caves will take place on special Saturdays in 2021: 31 July, 28 August, 25 September and 30 October at 10am, 11am, 1pm and 2pm. Tours last 45 minutes and are priced at £6 per person.
For more information on the South Street Cave Tours and to book, visit: https://dorkingmuseum.org.uk/south-street-caves.