Take a Journey Under the Peak District – By Boat!

Speedwell Cavern 1

Speedwell Cavern is a truly unique Peak District cavern experience, where visitors can travel by boat along an underground river deep under the hills surrounding the village of Castleton.

Once a lead mine, the watery tunnels of Speedwell Cavern were originally blasted by miners over 200 years ago searching for treasures beneath the ground using primitive tools. Those same tunnels now provide a fantastic escape from the real world for the visitors to this area, allowing explorers to discover a fascinating subterranean labyrinth.

Speedwell Cavern 2

Set at the foot of the spectacular limestone cliffs of Winnats Pass, a trip to Speedwell Cavern takes you on an incredible journey. Visitors descend the 105 steps from the almost-hidden cave entrance to the landing stage of an underground canal where you step on to the tour guide’s boat.

Speedwell Cavern

From here they glide quietly through the workings of the old lead mine. It’s not difficult to imagine what it must have been like to carve out these tunnels using only the most primitive tools, as the guide recounts the story of the mine and the miners who worked here every day.

The tunnels eventually open out into a network of beautiful natural caverns and underground rivers.

At the Halfway House the canal tunnel splits into two to allow oncoming boats to pass as visitors wend their way 200 metres below the surface of the hill before entering a magnificent cathedral-like cavern containing the so-called Bottomless Pit – a huge subterranean lake.

At the Journey’s End

Speedwell Cavern has a gift shop for souvenirs of your trip, allowing visitors o take home something to remind them of the eerie splendour of their journey into the depths of the earth.

A wide selection of gifts and mementos are available, including jewellery made from the exclusive Blue John stone – the superb fluorspar mineral unique to the nearby Peak District Caverns. 

Blue John Cavern