Poole's Cavern & Country Park
Green Lane, Buxton, United Kingdom
Poole's Cavern & Country Park Buxton Reviews
Poole's Cavern Sep 08, 2012
Poole Cavern is a cave in the Peak District of England, near Buxton. It is set in a very nice country park. The cave has a little visitor centre and you are only allowed into the Cave itself with a guide.
The cave has several chambers, starting with a long grand chamber and curving into some smaller ones further into the cave system. The longest cave is maybe 200m or so long, and high enough to be impressive. It is important from a historical point of view; there is evidence of a pre-Roman shrine, bronze age jewellery manufacture, and Roman era habitation in the mouth of the cave. All of this is pretty impressive considering that before the modern show cave entrance was blasted through in the 19th century, access was via a long tunnel maybe 2 feet high. There are also graves in the cave, including one where they’ve left some of the bones visible.
The cave itself has some interesting rock formations.
The well-known poached egg stalagmites are unusual because they form at a rate of up to 1cm a year, far, far faster than most stalagmites do. This is because of the lime industry. In the early industrial revolution, lime for the building and agricultural industries was manufactured in the hills around Buxton. This was done by burning rock and coal, which left slag around the place. The by-products of the industry made the rock more porous than normal, and to this day it means that the process of stalagmite formation is accelerated. In fact there is a tiny stalagmite about 4cm high growing on the handrail, which is only a decade or so old. These are bright yellow in the middle and white around the sides, which is how they got their name.
There is also a cool dome formation where swirling waters drilled a dome in the ceiling millennia ago, several cool stalactites, and an enormous sparkling boulder in the last cave. The guide we had was very knowledgeable and interesting, with a good balance of silliness to entertain the children. There will be children on your tour, because it’s a popular family area.
Entrance is £8.50 for adults, with student and other discounts available. If you’re a UK tax payer and you gift aid your entrance then it’s free for the rest of the year after that. Parking is £1.50 (it annoys me slightly that you don’t get free parking with cave entrance, and maybe pay for parking if you’re only visiting the park, but it’s a minor irritant). Entrance to the park itself is free – you can’t see the cave that way, but you can climb the nice hill through the woods. Photography is allowed in the cave. The floor is paved, so you can wear normal shoes and normal clothes, although you’ll want a jacket because it’s chilly in there. Disabled access is possible for wheelchairs as far as the end of the first cavern, although you couldn’t get any further. If you were on crutches or you had a baby in a buggy you could probably manage most of the cave, and they encourage you to phone up and ask.
Children and toddlers are actively encouraged and our guide, Olly, was brilliant with them. If your toddler has hysterics when you get them in the cave, and you have to bring them out, you get a refund.
The park has some nice views, so it’s worth going for a walk before or after your cave tour. There is also a branch of Go Ape, one of these zip line parks where even
grown ups can fly about in the trees, but I didn’t go there because that sort of thing is no fun on your own.
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