Saturday we grabbed Michael and drove through Derbyshire to a small town called Buxton. It’s a really cute town with loads going on around the big park in the center. They did love their bunting as well it seemed, which I didn’t mind.It was such a nice sunny day, so what did we decide to do? Go into a cold dark cave of course! A short five-ten minute walk away from the Park is the entrance to Pool’s Cavern, a natural limestone cave. I’m a big cave fan, I am fascinated by the formations, and how over hundreds and thousands of years the rock formations can grow and change. I did want to be a geologist at some point, should have stuck with it! The first chamber of the cave you stop in is where people used to seek shelter. There’s a even a pit dug out and burned where it is presumed they used to have fires to keep warm. It later became a place where trinkets were made to sell to tourists who visited the cave, which has been open to visitors since the 16th century.
These unique stalagmite formations were known as “poached eggs” for their orange coloured tips, and are unique to Poole’s Cavern. They grow at a super fast speed for stalagmites at 1cm per year, because an abundance of lime waste that had been burned and dumped above the cavern. A normal growth rate would be that amount over several hundred years. This also effects the rate at which the stalactites along the top of the cavern chamber. You can clearly see a defined line along the top of the cave where the pollution starts as the stalactites are considerably larger than anywhere else in the cave. As for the yellow colour that develops first to grow the stalagmites, the verdict is still out as even though there have been extensive tests, no one really knows what’s causing it. This “wall” had been knocked through a long time ago to allow access to another chamber of the cave. It’s a good thing they knocked it down when they did, as currently nothing is allowed to be destroyed in the cave and everything to be preserved and allowed to develop naturally. Without the destruction you wouldn’t be able to glimpse the end of the cavern or a really cool formation.This dazzling giant white rock formation is at the end of the cavern, almost marking it’s finish. It looks like a giant cauliflower with cheese sauce! When the light shines over it, it glitters like it’s made of millions of tiny diamonds. Even though this is the end of the cave where you can go, it actually goes for miles, but is undiscovered as of yet, and may never be open to the public. I hope they get some people to explore it at least and video it, as there could be lots of treasures to be found!
If you want to visit the cave, or even learn more about the history and how the formations are formed, you can visit the Cavern’s website here. It’s a pretty fascinating read (if like me you are into that kind of thing!). The entry fee was a very reasonable £9, and if you are a taxpayer in England you can gift aid it and get access to the cave for the year. I already would like to return in the winter when water rushes through the cave center. Tours take around the hour mark, and our guide was really knowledgeable and helpful making it a great experience over all.
If you’ve been to any caves, what’s your favourite? I’m ready to jot them down.