The name often has children and adults alike giggling as they queue to enter; once you’re inside it’s no laughing matter. For those of you who are claustrophobic, this may not be the adventure for you. In the centre of England is the Peak District, and here you’ll find The Devil’s Arse Cave; or more commonly known as Peak Cavern. We stumbled upon this gem whilst on a visit to Castleton during our weekly wanders. Not knowing what lies behind the gates, we eagerly joined the queue for a tour. What followed was the eeriest tour I think I’ve ever been on that didn’t involve being around dead people.
We were put into small groups then all instructed to put on our hard hats. After this, we were led down a small corridor carved into the hillside and down what felt like hundreds of damp slippery steps. On the way down we learnt that this cavern is the only all natural one in the area; The layouts we were being shown were made completely by natures flowing waters gradually desolving the rock walls. Waiting for us at the bottom of the stairs was a tiny little boat floating on a narrow river that flowed through the rock; it was beautiful and creepy all at the same time. I nervously boarded the boat, holding back my fear and feeling my palms begin to sweat I hoped that the small children in our group were well-behaved. I wasn’t above shouting at a child if they rocked this tiny vessel.
The little boat chugged along the river deeper into the walls. Walls that continued creeping closer and closer to the side of the boat. I didn’t think that was possible; at the smallest part of this water tour I could stretch my arms out and put both hand flat on the walls…… yea. Like I said. The Devils Arse Cave Tour is not for the claustrophobic. It was hard to not start singing ‘just around the river bend’ from Pocahontas as we twisted around what was apparently the final bend to our intended destination.
What awaited was fascinating when you think that it was made solely by the flow of water… A huge open cavern. We had 10 minutes off the boat. Yay! While we stood admiring nature’s handy work it was hard to not feel tiny. We were told hundreds of facts about the cavern but to list them all would ruin the surprise for you, just know this – there’s history lying within the hills of the peak district or, you could say, within the Devils Arse.
Quick things to know about Peak Cavern
- £11.75 entrance for adults, £20 combined with Speedwell Cave.
- 40 minutes from Sheffield on the A57
- Take Layers – it’s cold in the caves
Other things to do in Castleton
We only spent the day at Castleton this time, but there’s a lot more to do here besides Peak Cavern/Devils Arse Cave. The Peak District is amongst one of my favourite places to explore in England, so here’s our top pick for other things to do in Castelton.
- Blue John Cavern – Thi is another favourite of the Peaks four show caves. If you enjoy going underground to unearth a bit of natural beauty, this is a cave tour you’ll enjoy!
- Mam Tor – Take a steady walk up a 517-metre-high Bronze Age hill. This 5 mile (8km) walk offers fantastic views over the district.
- Pevril Castle – Another great view point of Hope Valley is from Pevril Castle, sitting high above the village of Castleton.
- Chatsworth House + Farm Park – A popular favourite with families, Chatsworth is a great full-day activity that covers a wide range of things from pristnie gardens to mega play parks and a mini zoo!
Have you been to the Devils Arse Cave before? How about the Peak District as a whole? If your main hobbies are getting out in nature, exploring the great outdoors and generally just going for long hikes, the Peak District should be at the top of your English Bucketlist.
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