Pot holing and Caving in the Peak District
Much of the Peak District is made up of Limestone rock, so there are numerous cave systems. This means that Caving and Potholing are popular sports locally, with a wide range of natural cave systems and former lead mines to explore.
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|Potholing is a sport which has relatively few adherents compared to walking or even rock-climbing, but the Peak is one of the best places in the country to practise this minority sport. |
The area from the top of Winnats Pass westwards has a number of well-frequented systems. These include Oxlow Cavern, part mine and part natural, and Giant's Hole, where access was once via a difficult sump until a local farmer decided to open it as a show cave and blasted an entrance passage before he was dissuaded from the project. It is now a fairly easy system which is popular with outdoor centres (but note that it has a high level of natural radiation). Further down towards Sparrowpit lies 'Jackpot' or P8 - a very wet pot - and the Gautries system.
There are numerous systems around Stoney Middleton and Eyam. Carlswark Cavern is an extensive system in this area which is popular with beginners - though it has had at least one fatality in the past. A few of the mines in the area are accessible to potholers and between Eyam and Foolow the two Waterfall Swallets are fine examples of their kind.
The guidebook to local systems is 'Caves of Derbyshire' by Trevor Ford and David Gill, published by Dalesman Books. More information about local caving can be obtained from the Derbyshire Caving Association, c/o Sports Council, 26 Musters Road, West Bridgeford, Nottingham. The Caving Supplies shop on London Road in Buxton is also a useful source of advice as well as a place to purchase or hire equipment.
All caving photographs on this page are copyright Paul Deakin - the leading Peak District underground photographer. He can be contacted on: 01782 642778
Pot Holing Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
Useful links:Caving Supplies The leading local (and probably national) suppliers of caving equipment. Based in Buxton.
Hitch and Hike Ltd Outdoor equipment and caving suppliers, based in Bamford.
Adam Evans Professional Caving instruction.
Peak Activities Ltd Outdoor activities instruction - climbing, walking, caving.
David Matthews Adventure Outdoor activities instruction - climbing, walking, caving.
Focus Activities Outdoor activities instruction - climbing, walking, caving and team-building.
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