Derbyshire is renowned as the only source of the mineral Blue John. That is not actually true, however Derbyshire Blue John has been worked locally for centuries to make objects for decoration - jugs, bowls, brooches and other jewellery that grace tables and bodies the world over. Blue John is still worked today and the main centre for this is the Peak District town of Castleton, close to the the caverns and mines from which it is extracted. Blue John is thought to have gained its name from the French 'bleu jaune' which describes the two unique colours of this mineral. It is a delicate mineral to work so the finest examples are very expensive indeed.

The caves and show caverns around Castleton include the unusually named 'Devil's Arse' but are by no means the only ones to be found here. The other key areas of Derbyshire with caves open to visitors are at Buxton (Poole's Cavern) and Matlock Bath Heights of Abraham. The caves at Cresswell were occupied during the stone age but are closed to the public owing to their archaeological value.

Thor's cave is more of a big hole in the side of a hill but is worth a visit, it lies in the Manifold valley. Evidence of early human habitation was found there. There are many more cave shelters and caves that have yielded archaeological artifacts in Derbyshire and the Peak District as well as the potholes and caves that are explored by serious cavers who are continually pushing the knowledge of the underground connections and discovering new places like Titan which is 475 feet deep.

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Contact A Taste of the Peak District by email or by phone 0114 360 1004 (business hours 8 am to 4 pm weekdays)

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