Hellfire Caves

Hellfire Caves

Date of Adventure: 30 Jul, 2023

What a unique adventure – it’s not everyday you enter caves and winding passages, built in the 17th century, which extend over a quarter of a mile underground.

The caves itself were dug by local farmers, impoverished by a succession of droughts and failed harvests, and they were paid 1 shilling a day for their efforts. The chalk from the excavation, which was commissioned by Sir Francis Dashwood, was used to build the West Wycombe-High Wycombe road (now A40), houses in the village and the church and Dashwood Mausoleum. The Hellfire Club, co-founded by Dashwood, held many secret meetings in the caves and rumours of black magic and satanic rituals were in circulation during the life of the club.

It’s a strange experience entering the caves: the air feels so different and your senses are heightened. My smallest wasn’t fazed and kept trying to run off into the abyss but my middle son was a bit wobbly. We actually went back to the entrance and borrowed a torch as one of the tunnels were quite dark, and then tagged onto another family to walk all the way to the inner chamber. We were glad we did as we saw the River Styx underground and spotted a bat flying through the tunnel! The caves have such a rich history and the many information boards tell an incredibly interesting story.

After your visit, head in an upward trajectory to the Dashwood Mausoleum atop of West Wycombe Hill next to the Church of St Lawrence. Together they are one of the most famous landmarks in Britain and offer stunning views of the countryside.

This visit isn’t for the faint hearted but we found it so interesting and different from our usual walks on top of the world. Strangely exhilarating seeing the sky after being underground for an hour and a half too! Next adventure: Journey to the centre of the earth – Jules Verne watch out!

 

AT A GLANCE

Family (2 adults, 2 children) : £24
1 adult 2 children: £22.50
1 adult 1 child: £15.50
Adults: £8.50
National Trust: £7
Children over 3: £7
Children under 3: Free
7 days a week: 11am - 5.30pm until 1st October then closed Monday - Thursday.
See website for full seasonal and school holiday opening hours
No booking required
Small café
Not accessible due to terrain and gradient
22 minutes from Headington roundabout
40 Link bus from Lewknor Turn
Free parking
The details

Website

Church Ln, West Wycombe, High Wycombe HP14 3AH

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