bluejohncave1Considered to be the finest cavern range in Britain, the Blue John Cavern hosts regular tours that describe how the caves have been formed and show that this area was once a large ocean floor.

The limestone caves were formed by the deposits on the floor of the prehistoric ocean that is now the Hope Valley.   Indeed, Peveril Castle sits atop a giant fossilised Coral Reef.

Blue John Crystal is Britain’s most rare mineral. Discovered in Castleton over 2000 years ago, the only known deposits in the world are right here. This mineral has been highly prized since it was first discovered and worked into jewellery and ornaments by the Romans.  Two vases made from Blue John Stone were reportedly found during excavations of Pompeii.

bluejohncave2Blue John is generally mined by hand, in order to avoid damage to the stone. Blasting can discolour the stone and cause damage to the structure, rendering it useless.

The finest pieces of Blue John ever mined have been mined from an area known as ‘Bull Beef’, so-called because of a local comparison between Blue John and raw beef!

The Tour

Climb down a small flight of stairs into the caverns.  This underground maze takes you on an adventure through every type and size of cave imaginable, from the narrowest passage to the gra
ndest chamber.

bluejohncave3See the Stalactite Cavern, where you can clearly see the course taken by an old river – look up and see stalactites and a roof that looks for all the world like a riverbed.

Enter The Waterfall Cavern, where a wall of stalagmites resembles a cascading waterfall frozen in time.

Step into Lord Mulgrove's Dining Room.  Here two rivers met, forming a whirlpool and leaving this circular shape.  Apparently, Lord Mulgrove provided a dinner for a group of miners and this led to the naming of this area of the system.

bluejohncave4Marvel at The Grand Crystallised Cavern; shaped like a dome and with unusual colourings and markings which are reminiscent of a cross section of a tree.

End the tour with the most marvellous sight of all - The Variegated Cavern. With its 200 foot high roof and the beautiful markings on walls and roof, it is an awe-inspiring end to your underground adventure.

After your tour, why not drop into the craft shop and browse the wide variety of Blue John jewellery and ornaments available?

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With thanks to Blue John Cavern and Stephen Elliot - www.stephenelliottphotography.co.uk

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