Sunday, 23 August 2015

The Three Bear Caves: Robots of Sherwood and Sherlock's Hounds of Baskerville

Following on from our date night in the restaurant from the Doctor Who episode 'Listen', we got up early and headed off to our first stop of the day - Castell Coch in Tongwynlais. We've been here before as it was the location used for Hedgewick's World in Series 7 Nightmare in Silveryou can find the link here; its one of my favourite locations to visit. However, this time we weren't here to see the Medieval castle in all its glory, oh no, we were instead heading north to follow the Forest Fawr country park trail.

A few wrong turns and a couple of disagreements later about Luke not being able to follow a simple map, I was eventually proved wrong when we spotted the carved statue of a bear and its cub guarding the entrance to one of my most-wanted-to-visit Doctor Who locations ever: The Three Bear Caves.

I would love to tell you how I got there, but seeing as we seemed to be walking for over an hour to find it, the Doctor Who Locations website has better instructions than I would be able to draw up. I am continually amazed how the locations experts scout these little nuggets out for film.

The caves have featured in numerous television productions, most notably to me is the Doctor Who series 8 episode Robots of Sherwood, BBC Sherlock series 2 episode The Hounds of Baskerville and SkyOne's Stella. I love spotting these familiar locations throughout all my favourite TV shows!

I decided against heading down towards the caves as the ground was very unsteady and damp; After all, I didn't want a bear to come out and grab me if I was to trip and fall. Instead, I took some pretty cool pictures from above, and sent Luke down for a closer look. I do wonder how all of the actors and film crew manage to clamber all of their equipment down to areas like this, when I can't even manage it in my sturdy military boots!

 Doctor Who: Robots of Sherwood (SERIES 9)

Sherlock: The Hounds of Baskerville (Series 2) 

Luke peered in the caves but it was too dark to see anything, unfortunately I didn't send him in against his will, so he just took some close-up photos for me. The flat area leading to the caves was much smaller than it appeared on camera, to my surprise, I wonder how they managed to get all the Doctor Who actors in shot successfully, along with all the props!

You can view more of the caves in this short video I produced from my weekend:

All in all, it was an excellent location to visit, and I would recommend anyone to go and explore. It is quite simply a hidden gem of Wales, and I feel so lucky that this hobby allows me to find all these weird and wonderful places. It's a free day out, dogs are allowed in the forest but remember to wear suitable shoes. I am sure this location will be used again in the future as it is so secluded and mystical. Look out for the Doctor Who crew there in the future! Plus, you could always explore Castell Coch at an extra small cost whilst you are on your travels. Let me know if you head there!

Oooh, we also visited the Doctor Who Experience shop where I treated myself to a new mug and t-shirt (see below). We also spotted a new edition to the props: Santa's Sleigh from the 2014 Christmas special Last Christmas.

Next, we took a bit of a detour on the way home, as we re-visited an old favourite Doctor Who location of mine, Skenfrith Castle. Read more about it soon.

Blog to you soon