Things to do: Caverns

Peak Cavern

Peak Cavern is probably the most impressive natural cavern in Britain. It is open as a showcave all year round (except Christmas day). It's worth walking up there even if you don’t want to go underground. Take a narrow lane from the top corner of the village square (past the chip shop) to reach Peakshole Water, the stream which flows from the cavern. Take a path up the right hand bank of the stream into the deep chasm which is the entrance, and notice on the other side a small stream flowing into Peakshole Water. This is the water from Russett Well, and the water has come underground from caverns on the west side of Winnats pass - tracing the source of the water took the local geologists a long time! Now approach the impressive entrance to the cavern, which was once used by a family of ropemakers who built their cottages actually within the cave entrance.

Treak Cliff Cavern

Enter an Ancient Underground Wonderland in the Heart of the Peak District National Park.

Your guide will explain how miners in the 1750's constructed a tunnel using only hand tools to reach the Blue John Stone deposits inside the hill. You will see veins of Blue John Stone across the cave roof, and 'The Pillar', the largest piece ever found. Your guide will point out fossils in the limestone rock which formed the hillside above you 330 million years ago.

You enter the mysterious Witch's Cave where even richer deposits of Blue John Stone are revealed. The guided tour descends even deeper into the hill where you will experience the wonder of underground limestone cave formations. Multi-coloured flowstone adorns the walls of Aladdin's Cave. Stalactites and stalagmites decorate Fairyland and the Dream Cave. The most famous formation is 'The Stork', standing on one leg!

During your tour the guide will explain where Blue John Stone came from, how rushing water made the caverns, and how stalactites are formed. Back on the outside, you can enjoy tea and coffee made from water collected inside the cavern, or browse in our shop where there is a selection of jewellery and ornaments made from Blue John Stone.

Treak Cliff Cavern is of international fame and geological importance. It has been a designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest for many years and by agreement with English Nature all the Blue John Stone deposits on the visitor route are preserved. However, Blue John Stone is regularly mined in Treak Cliff Cavern, from areas not seen by visitors. This is then crafted into fine jewellery, small bowls, ornaments and other decorative items.

Speedwell Cavern

Set at the foot of the spectacular Winnats Pass, high above the village of Castleton, Speedwell Cavern takes you on an incredible underground boat journey.

Descend the 105 steps from the almost hidden cave entrance to the landing stage of an underground canal where you step on to your tour guides' boat.

From here you glide quietly through the workings of a 200 year old lead mine. Picture in your mind what it must have been like to carve out these tunnels using only the most primitive tools as your guide recounts the story of the mine which opens into a network of natural caverns and underground rivers.

At Halfway House the canal tunnel splits into two to allow oncoming boats to pass as you wend your way 200 metres below the surface of the hill before entering a magnificent cathedral-like cavern containing the awesome Bottomless Pit - a huge subterranean lake.

Blue John Cavern

The tour of the cavern commences with the descent of a short flight of steps through a man made passageway some fifteen yards in length, and from the foot of this stairway visitors pass at once into the beginning of the natural caverns. From this point on the awe-inspiring majesty of the Caverns can be appreciated.

Bull Beef. A working which has produced some of the very best and largest pieces of Blue John Stone ever mined. This variety of Blue John is known as "Bull Beef". because of its is likening to raw beef.

The Grand Crystallised Cavern. Is dome shaped and lofty with mineral colourings and markings which resemble a tree trunk sawn across.

The waterfall Cavern. The whole left hand side of the cavern is covered in stalagmitic formations looking like a frozen waterfall. The high roof is richly coloured with iron oxide deposits.

The Stalactite Cavern. The Stalactite Cavern shows the meandering course that the underground river took. The roof resembles a riverbed upside down, a fringe of stalactites can clearly be seen.

Lord Mulgrave's Dining Room Formed when two underground rivers met forming a whirlpool which then created its circular shape. It's named Lord Mulgraves Dining room because it said his Lordship entertained a group of miners to a dinner of some sort.

The Variegated Cavern. The last of Caverns shown to the public. It is majestic and somewhat awe-inspiring being 200 feet High. Its name given because of the variety of markings on the walls and in the roof.