On the hottest day of the year, Saturday 13 August, we enjoyed a very interesting visit to the Holmesdale Museum which is not generally open to the public and a big thank you goes to Andy and Carol Sandford who were very helpful giving up their own time as volunteers to welcome us.
The Holmesdale Natural History Club Museum promotes the study of natural history, local history, archaeology and geology in the area of Reigate.
There is large collection of stuffed birds, local history and archaeological collections.
After visiting the museum, we stopped at The Rose Room to not only enjoy a choice of drink and delicious cake or scone but benefit from their most welcomed air conditioning.
Then we walked to the caves which are as amazing as they are extensive. They have been used for a variety of purposes over many years and certainly for mining of the sand at one point. They are all sandstone and the Wealden Mining and Caving Society are still digging and extending the system in the western cave.
The eastern cave has an exhibition of second World War memorabilia as it was used as a shelter, and also of provision for a nuclear attack, see the picture of two attendees in the Anderson shelter below.
The Baron’s Cave is very old as it was under the castle which was built shortly after 1066 – little is known apart from conjecture and legend but it is all very interesting.
Our guides were excellent and in particular Lesley Eggleston who was not only very knowledgeable but also the organiser of the tours.
Many thanks to all those at the museum, the café and the caves who made our day possible.
Stella and Martin Cantor