This film is part of Free


Pure tranquillity in rural Somerset, a world away from the war raging on the continent.

Travelogue 1916 1 mins Silent


Breathtaking views of the famous Gorge transport viewers of this mid-WWI travelogue to a rural idyll apparently untouched by the anguish of war. Intrepid visitors ascend the 275 steps of Jacob's Ladder before clambering up the lookout tower to appreciate the view towards Glastonbury Tor. For the less adventurous, the film also takes in the fine medieval stone cross which marks Cheddar's marketplace, and a gentle stroll along the bottom of the ravine.

The intertitles claim the lookout tower was used to send signals in times of "national danger". As you might expect in this corner of Somerset, though, there is a more colourful explanation. Exploration of the Gorge began in the mid-19th century, with tourists keen to see the newly opened caves. Roland Pavey, a mill owner and local character who built his own show cave to capitalise on this curiosity, put up the original wooden lookout as late as 1900, naming it the 'Mystic Tower'. The current iron replica continues to cater to tourists, rather than defend against invading hordes.