Speedwell Cavern, Winnats Pass, Castleton, Hope Valley, 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
|The Castleton Caverns comprise The Blue John Cavern, Treak Cliff Cavern, Speedwell Cavern (all clustered around the Winnats pass) and the great Peak Cavern, just outside Castleton village.|
Speedwell Cavern, at the very foot of Winnats Pass, is probably the most popular cavern of the four. This is a mine with several natural chambers and an underground canal which forms the centrepiece of the visit. The cavern is open daily all year.
Steps lead down from the entrance to the canal, which was hacked through the rock by miners in search of lead in the 1770s. The project was led by James Gilbert who was the Duke of Devonshire's agent for the Ecton Hill mines and made a fortune there, but at Speedwell eleven years of digging brought little reward before the venture closed. The water in the canal has already followed a tortuous underground passage from Perryfoot, near Sparrowpit, and eventually emerges at Russet Well, just near the entrance to Peak Cavern.
At the end of the canal is the Bottomless Pit, a large water-filled hole. This huge natural cavern is so high you cannot see the top and is so deep that when the canal was dug many tons of waste rock were tipped into it without making any visible impression upon it.
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How to get there
from the A6 Manchester-Buxton road at Chapel-en-le-Frith branch off on the minor road (formerly A625) to Mam Tor, and from there take the steep narrow road down Winnats Pass to reach Castleton. Speedwell Cavern is at the foot of Winnats Pass. From the A6 at Bakewell take the B6001 to Calver and Grindleford, then fork left to follow the River Derwent to Hathersage, where you turn left again and follow the A6187 to Castleton. Speedwell Cavern is through the other side of the village and a short walk is necessary. From Sheffield, take the A621 to Fox House, continue to Hathersage and then pick up the A6013 as above.
By Bus: the 200 bus from Chapel-en-le-Frith goes to Castleton via the Winnats Pass. From Sheffield take the 272 bus to Castleton and walk from the village. From Bakewell, take the 173 bus to Tideswell or Litton and there pick up the 174 Baslow-Castleton bus.
When is it open?
April to October open daily from 10.00am to 5.00pm, and November to March open daily from 10.00am to 4.00pm. Closed on Xmas Day. Last Tour is 1 hour before closing time.
What does it cost?
Adult £11.00/ Child (5-15yrs) £9.00/ concessions £10.00/ Family ticket (2 adults + 2 children) £36.00 (Additional child £7.75). Combined tickets are available for Speedwell and Peak Caverns at a discount.
Party rates for school parties are available - please enquire: 01433 623018
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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