Boat in speedwell Cavern

Blue John and tourism in Derbyshire

20, Mar 2017 | Derbyshire, Peak District

The Romans were the first “tourists” in Derbyshire, to exploit its caves and caverns for minerals. Lead was mined for hundreds of years. In the Hope Valley, on the boarder of the “White Peak” and “Dark Peak” you will find several Caves to visit.

Peak Cavern, also known as “Devils Arse”, is a unique cavern with the largest entrance in British Isles. In this cavern, you’ll see how rope was made, hear the wonderful acoustics of the Orchestral Gallery and source of the river Styx, see flowstone and stalactites illuminated by fibre optic lighting. Peak Cavern is often used by filmmakers due to its location, sounds and sights.

Treak Cavern

Speedwell Cavern, was mined from 1773 to 1820 and if you visit this cave you will tour on a boat. The boat uses a flooded level, which takes visitors through a fascinating journey and provides an insight into the life of a 18th Century miner.

On a steep slope above Speedwell Cavern sits Treak Cavern. Treak is 800 feet above sea level. It is the source of the precious and very rare fluorspar Blue John. This is a working mine as they still mine Blue John today, which is made into beautiful jewellery which you can buy from many of the shops in Castleton. Chatsworth House also has many striking pieces of Blue John, many collected by Georgiana the Duchess of Devonshire.

Another popular cave can be found at Abraham Heights in Matlock Bath. As well as the cable car ride, which crosses the Derwent Valley, there are guided tours of the Great Masson Cavern. A popular attraction since Victorian times. You can experience what it was like to work in the cave by candle light and explore the prehistoric history. Here at Glendon we offer discounted tickets for the Heights of Abraham.

Lastly, Poole’s Cavern is in Buxton Country Park. The cavern is a vast limestone cave with crystal stalactites and magnificent underground scenery. Recently a surprising visitor was found in the cave by the Derbyshire Bat Conservation Group. No, not Bat Man, but a bat not seen in Derbyshire since the last ice age. The rare barbastelle bat (Barbastella barbastellus) is a woodland specialist and is very distinctive because it is the only bat in the UK with black fur. 

Pooles Cavern lit by blue lights

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