Pooles Cavern

The show cave boasts to be one of the finest in the Country so I was quite looking forward to our journey underground. Officially opened as a show cave in 1853 by the 6th Duke of Devonshire, The Cavern has been attracting visitors since the early 16th Century although the main entrance to the cave has been moved since then to make accessibility more easier. Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots is said to have visited in 1582 and the writer Charles Cotton in 1681 listed the cave as one of his ‘Seven wonders of the Peak’ that in itself brought new found fame to the cave.

The great carboniferous limestone cavern has many strange and wondrous formations, sculpted over millions of years. Archaeological explorations in 1981 and 1983 have suggested that the cave was occupied from the Bronze Age. Some of the finds have been interpreted as suggesting that one of the chambers was used for religious purposes by Romano-Britons; an alternative explanation is that the cave was a metal-workers' workshop.

The name Poole’s Cavern derives from an outlaw, Poole, who reputedly used the cave as a lair and a base to rob travellers in the fifteenth century.

The Cavern is around 310 metres (1,020 ft) in length, and includes chambers named the Roman Chamber, Great Dome, Poached Egg Chamber and Sculpture Chamber. Some items of interest include large stalactites/stalagmites called the Flitch of Bacon and Mary Queen of Scots' Pillar, as well as stalagmites with a porous texture and "poached egg" colour, which has been attributed to minerals leached from lime-burning on Grin Low above.

We had a very knowledgeable and informative guide who’s expertise made the tour even more fascinating. The lighting in and along the main chambers and features was very well placed, towards the furthest point of access the lights were turned off to give us an impression on what the cave  was like in complete darkness. What it must have been like for the early explorer’s doesn’t bear thinking about. The cave system is known to extend further but to date it has not been explored. Back in 1998 a video camera was lowered down a borehole which revealed the existence of a further chamber, named "Seventh Heaven" This was a great tour and well worth the entrance fee.

To open the gallery click on the picture below.

Pooles Cavern