Eldon Hole is one of the seven wonders of the Peak. It is the deepest local pothole; an alarming, evil-looking chasm in the side of Eldon Hill to the north of the village of Peak Forest.
The hole was the source of many local legends, including a story about an old woman's goose which fell down the hole and emerged from Peak Cavern in Castleton! However, recent exploration has demonstrated that the Hole has no obvious connection with any of the other local systems, and quite how it came to be created high on the side of a hill is not clear.
The hole is approximately 60 metres deep, but was once much deeper, having been part-filled by stones and rubble over the years. It was first descended in 1780 by a Mr Lloyd, who published an account of his adventure. In 'On foot through the Peak', written by James Croston in the 1870s, there is an account of an early descent by Messrs Pennington and Tym of Castleton in 1783. They were lowered by a hemp rope from a windlass which was placed on a crude wooden platform constructed across the top of the Hole, and they landed on a steep slope 180 feet below the surface. This slope led another 60 feet lower, into a large chamber with fine stalactites and flowstone deposits. After looking around they were winched up to the surface again to tell their tale. This sounds an exceedingly dangerous way to descend a pothole!
Access from Peak Forest village is via Eldon Lane, and is a half-hour walk. Follow the lane up past the farm until the tarmac ends, and then up the green road above onto the moor. When the wall on the left side of the lane finishes, then traverse horizontally across the hillside for approximately 500 metres to reach the Hole, which can be clearly seen and is fenced off, with a gate for access.
Nowadays the Hole is quite regularly descended by potholers, but it is still fairly dangerous even with modern equipment. Over the years it has claimed many sheep and is therefore fenced, but it still claims victims. A few years ago a young woman slipped in and was killed whilst trying to control her dog on the edge of the Hole.