Peak Cavern – one of the original Wonders of the Peak and now once again known by its ancient name of the Devil’s Arse – is said to be the largest nature cave entrance in Britain. Its huge, yawning entrance was once the site of a community of rope-makers, who lived in ramshackle cottages inside the cave. Rope-making demonstrations still take place there. Inside the cave, you have to stoop to pass through the appropriately-named Lumbago Walk before you enter to hear the amazing acoustics of the Orchestral Gallery and the perpetual cascading water of Roger Rain’s House.
- Parking onsite
- Open all year
- Opening Times: Open Apr-Oct, daily 10-5; Nov-Mar, Mon-Fri tours 11 & 2, Sat-Sun & school holidays open 10-5 (tours every hr). Closed 25 Dec
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About the area
The natural features of this central English county range from the modest heights of the Peak District National Park, where Kinder Scout stands at 2,088 ft (636 m), to the depths of its remarkable underground caverns, floodlit to reveal exquisite Blue John stone. Walkers and cyclists will enjoy the High Peak Trail which extends from the Derwent Valley to the limestone plateau near Buxton, and for many, the spectacular scenery is what draws them to the area.
The county is well endowed with stately homes – most notably Chatsworth, the palatial home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, with its outstanding collections of paintings, statuary and art. Other gems include the well preserved medieval Haddon Hall, the Elizabethan Hardwick Hall, and Kedleston Hall, whose entrance front has been described as the grandest Palladian façade in Britain.
The spa town of Matlock is the county’s administrative centre and other major towns of interest include Derby and the old coal mining town of Chesterfield, with its crooked spire. Around the villages of Derbyshire, look out for the ancient tradition of well dressing, the decorating of springs and wells – the precious sources of life-sustaining water – with pictures formed from flowers.
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