Treak Cliff Cavern has been a designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest and is of international fame and geological importance. For many years an agreement has been in existence with English Nature that all the Blue John Stone deposits on the visitor route are preserved. Away from the site of visitors Blue John is regularly mined and crafted into fine jewellery, small bowls, ornaments and other decorative items.
The cavern is considered the most beautiful of Castleton's caverns. Thousands of casual visitors, schools and organised parties visit every year. They are taken on a tour through the Dream Cave, Aladdin's Cave, the Fairyland Grotto, the Dome of St Paul’s, the Fossil Cave and the Witch’s Cave during a quarter mile tour lasting about 40 minutes. The caverns are sympathetically illuminated and the footpaths are clean, safe and non-slip with steps strategically placed to ensure the visitor finds the going easy.
In 1926 the miners broke through into natural caverns beyond, where there are some magnificent natural formations, which have been christened by names such as the Frozen Waterfall and Alladin's Cave. Treak Cliff cavern was opened to the public in 1935. Stalactite and stalagmite formations decorate Fairyland and the Dream Cave, the most famous of which is 'The Stork', standing on one leg.
Treak Cliff Cavern is only a short walk from the Blue John mine, the old Mam Tor road that used to link the two caverns having been closed due to subsidence. Originally it was a mine, dug mainly to extract Blue John. Traces of the stone can still be clearly seen as you pass through the old mine workings, in the veins of the cavern walls. Blue John is a fluorspar discoloured by blue and yellow impurities, which is beautified by polishing.
It is usually possible during school holidays for visitors of all ages to select and polish a slice of Blue John stone, which they can then take home and display. As places are limited, it is best to telephone in advance to avoid disappointment. The less energetic can buy gifts from the shop and enjoy a cup of tea or coffee made from water collected inside the cavern.
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An underground wonderland of stalactites and stalagmites, rocks and fossils, located on the old Mam Tor road from Castleton. Very popular at Christmastime are 'Carols by Candlelight' when advance bookings are essential. Open every day (weather permitting) except at Christmas. Normally from 10am. Telephone for further information - 01433 620571.
TREAK CLIFF HILL
The only place in the world where Blue John Stone naturally occurs.
THE DISCOVER DERBYSHIRE AND THE PEAK DISTRICT GUIDE
Provides a wide range of features with heritage trails and detailed countryside walks, through some of the most scenically attractive countryside in the UK.
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