Poole's Cavern and Grin Low Country Park, Buxton, Derbyshire
The Peak District covers much of Derbyshire and parts of Staffordshire, Cheshire and Yorkshire. There are numerous interesting towns such as Ashbourne, Bakewell, Buxton, Leek, Matlock and Wirksworth, plus many enchanting villages
Poole's Cavern and Grin Low Country Park
The cavern gains its name from 'The robber Poole', who is reputed to have lived in the cave in the 15th century. However, the cave has been used by Man since Neolithic times and archaeological digs have revealed Stone Age tools and artefacts, Bronze Age pottery and a wealth of Roman material. It seems that at one time in the Roman period the cave was used as a workshop by a craftsman who made bronze brooches and other metal items. Many Roman coins and pottery were also found.
The cavern has attracted visitors for hundreds of years, and there is a local tradition that Mary Queen of Scots came to visit on one of her trips to take the waters at Buxton during her imprisonment at Chatsworth. However in 1854 the 6th Duke of Devonshire, who owned the cave, made it into a show cave and entrusted its operation to a certain Frank Redfern, whose family were responsible for it until 1976. The cave was closed to visitors in 1965 and only re-opened in 1977 after its purchase by the Civic Association.
The entrance to the cave was once filled with a bank of debris, but this was removed by Frank Redfern in 1854. Beyond this there is an area which was once covered by flowstone. This was excavated by Boyd Dawkins in 1900, and again in 1982, uncovering a range of animal and human bones and Roman pottery. Some of the finds are on display here and at Buxton Museum.
The passage then leads into 'The Dome', a 12m high chamber with abundant flowstone. Beyond this is a boulder choke where the River Wye disappears - but only in winter, for the cave is usually dry in summer. Further into the cave we pass a large stalactite called the 'Flitch of Bacon', and rimstone pools, before the path crosses s bridge to the other bank of the stream. This leads to the 'Poached Egg Chamber', which is full of wonderful formations which have been coloured by minerals leached out of the lime-tips on the hillside above. These include manganese (blue-grey) and iron (orange).
Continuing onwards, there is the 'Queen of Scots Pillar', a stalactite boss approximately 2m high, and around the corner lies the last gallery, where there is a fine flowstone called 'The Grand Cascade', and 'The Sculpture' - a group of boulders which have been calcited together. Around here the accessible part of the cave ends, where the Wye flows into it from a boulder choke, but potholers have penetrated some distance further.
Go-Ape have a 'tree-top adventure course' in Grin Low woods. For more details see this link. Courses cost around £30 per head.
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How to get there
the cavern is on Green Lane, and lies approximately 1.5km from the centre of Buxton. From St John's church (opposite the Devonshire Hospital) take St John's Road for 300m and turn left onto Burlington Road, along the edge of Pavilion Gardens. At its end this joins Bath Road - continue straight on and cross Macclesfield Road via an awkward dog-leg, then turn right immediately onto Temple Road, which lead directly to the Cavern.
By Bus: the 193 bus goes to Pooles Cavern, and the 194 bus passes within easy walking distance.
By Train: the Manchester - Buxton train service will gte you to Buxon - from the station Poole's Cavern is a 2km walk.
When is it open?
Pooles Cavern and the visitor centre and cafe are open:
March to October daily from 9.30am - 5.00pm. Cavern tours daily every 20 minutes.
November - February daily from 10.00am - 4.00pm. Cavern tours weekends only every 20 minutes.
The country park is open all day every day.
What does it cost?
Pooles Cavern - Adult £9.50/ Child £5.25/ Family £26.00 (2 adults and up to 3 children)/ Concession £8.50 (Seniors, Unwaged and Students)
Prices and opening times are shown as a guideline only and may vary. See this link for more information on prices and opening
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