Cave in Buxton
Poole’s Cavern, named after a legendary outlaw who supposedly used the caves as a hideout for robbing travellers in the 15th century, has captured the imaginations of people for centuries. Located just a 10-minute walk from Buxton town centre, this immense limestone formation, believed to be around two million years old, is regarded as one of England’s finest “show caves.” It has been attracting visitors since the 1500s when even Mary Queen of Scots ventured into its dark depths. The 17th-century travel writer Charles Cotton also included it among his seven “Wonders of the Peak.” However, even before these intrepid adventurers, prehistoric people from the Neolithic and early Bronze Ages frequented the cavern. Today, it holds the designation of a Site of Special Scientific Interest, with ongoing excavations uncovering additional unexplored chambers.
Visitors today have the opportunity to explore the caverns and marvel at the impressive crystal stalactites and “poached egg” stalagmites within them by joining one of the expert-guided tours available each day. These tours provide an engaging introduction to the geology of the site, showcasing important fossils and the vibrant red, orange, and blue hues adorning the cave walls. Above ground, visitors can delve deeper into the history of the cavern by exploring the exhibition at the visitor centre.
Poole’s Cavern lies directly beneath Buxton Country Park, a destination worth exploring in its own right. Formerly part of the Chatsworth Estate, the park features sprawling green spaces, protected woodlands teeming with wildlife and rare wildflower species (keep an eye out for Mountain Pansy, Leopard’s Bane, the Globeflower, and wild orchids), adventure activities, and a sculpture trail inspired by nature. The park’s Grin Low area offers panoramic views of Buxton and the surrounding countryside, with landmarks such as Mam Tor and Kinder Scout visible on the horizon. A trek to the summit of Grin Low reveals Solomon’s Temple, a Victorian folly overlooking an ancient burial mound, as well as traces of limestone mining that has taken place in the region for centuries. The park is an ideal spot for picnics, and the centre’s cafe provides a convenient option in case of inclement weather.
Families visiting Poole’s Cavern & Buxton Country Park may consider participating in the Outdoor Genius sessions, which offer woodland-based group activities aligned with the National Curriculum. These sessions include fossil hunting, shelter building, bush craft, and closely supervised fire building. Additionally, the Buxton Tree Top Adventure zip-wire route through the woods is sure to appeal to both young and old adventurers.
Overall, Poole’s Cavern & Buxton Country Park provides an excellent opportunity to enjoy nature without venturing too far from town and offers a unique underground experience to discover the wonders of Derbyshire.
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Visiting Poole’s Cavern
9:00am – 5:00pm