Saturday, 7 August 2010

Blue John Cavern & Mines

The second in my list of places of interest to visit in derbyshire is the Blue John mines.

The Blue John mines in, Castleton, Hope Valley , is the only place in the world where Blue John stone can be found and there are 14 different veins of Blue John stone The name comes from the French for ‘Blue and Yellow’ which is ‘Bleu and Jaune’

Miners in the 1750's constructed a tunnel using only hand tools to reach the Blue John Stone deposits inside the hill. Veins of Blue John Stone across the cave roof, and 'The Pillar', are the largest piece ever found. Fossils in the limestone rock formed in the hillside 330 million years ago.

The mysterious Witch's Cave has even richer deposits of Blue John Stone are revealed. As you descend even deeper into the hill you will experience the wonder of underground limestone cave formations. Multi-coloured flowstone adorns the walls of Aladdin's Cave. Stalactites and stalagmites decorate Fairyland and the Dream Cave. The most famous formation is 'The Stork', standing on one leg!

During your tour the guide will explain where Blue John Stone came from, how rushing water made the caverns, and how stalactites are formed. Back on the outside, you can enjoy tea and coffee made from water collected inside the cavern, or browse in the shop where there is a selection of jewellery and ornaments made from Blue John Stone.

Treak Cliff Cavern is of international fame and geological importance. It has been a designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest for many years and by agreement with English Nature all the Blue John Stone deposits on the visitor route are preserved. However, Blue John Stone is regularly mined in Treak Cliff Cavern, from areas not seen by visitors. This is then crafted into fine jewellery, small bowls, ornaments and other decorative items.

Open 9:30am - 5pm in summer and 9:30am - dusk in winter
Prices: Adults £8, Children £4, Family £22, OAPs & Students £6
Tel: 01433 620642
More information can be found HERE

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