The Peak District's limestone has a number of catchment (drainage) areas. The actual number can differ depending on how borders are interpreted or areas combined, but generally the main ones described by and of interest to cavers are known as Castleton, Bradwell, Stoney Middleton, Lathkill, Dove, Hamps, Manifold, Wye, Wormhill, Matlock and Bradbourne, with Castleton, Bradwell, Stoney and Lathkill offering the most extensive and popular caves.

There are currently two publications in print describing the caves, "Caves of the Peak District" and the "Peak District Rigging Guide". Both are available from Hitch n Hike in Bamford. The infomation below, including the PDF mini guides, are intended as a suppliment to those publications. The PDF's include highly accurate GPS derived ten figure grid references and detailed descriptions of individual caves. For current access information see the "DCA Cave Registry".

The information here is intended for proficient cavers and those with an external interest, but hopefully it will inspire those outside the sport to have a go. If it does, be cautious! Caves are dangerous places for those who don't know the risks. Learn from experienced cavers before being responsible for yourself and others.

This area lies at the northern end of the Peak District limestone mass and contains the Peak District's biggest caves including Peak Cavern, Speedwell Cavern, Titan, Giant's Hole and P8. The Peak-Speedwell System is the longest in the area exceeding 17km in length. Titan was discovered in 1999 and is the biggest natural vertical shaft in the UK at 141m. Peak Cavern, Speedwell Cavern and Giant's hole contain some fine streamways, whilst Titan and J.H. offer some incredible vertical caving. For the caver there's a lot on offer, and for the diggers and divers, much more to find.

Dave Shearsmith in The Tube, Peak Cavern Main Streamway
Nigel Ball 12th August 2007

· Caves of Castleton Survey Project


· Castleton Cave Index (main index of locations and access info)

· Caves of Cave Dale
· Eldon Hole
· Gautries Hole

Giant's Hole:
· Part 1, The Entrance to Garlands Pot
· Part 2, Garlands Pot to Eating House and The Upper Series
· Part 3, The lower reaches - Eating House to East Canal.

· J.H. (James Hall's Over Engine Mine)
· Odin Mine
· Oxlow Cavern
· P7
· P8 (Jackpot)

Peak Cavern:
· Part 1, The Main Stream Cave and Far Sump
· Part 2, Victoria Aven
· Part 3, Far Sump Extension
· Part 4, Pickering's Passage
· Part 5, The Galena Chamber Circuit & the NCC Shafts
· Part 6, Lake Passage and Ink Sump
· Part 7, Treasury and the links to Speedwell Cavern
· Part 8, The White River Series
Also see the connecting caves of Speedwell Cavern, J.H. and Titan, and the dedicated Peak-Speedwell web site www.peakspeedwell.info

· Rowter Hole
· Sidetrack Cave

Speedwell Cavern:
· Part 1, The entrance to Main Rising & Cliff Cavern
· Part 2, The Halfway House Series
· Part 3, The Assault Course & Pilkingtons Series
· Part 4, The Bung Hole Series
· Part 5, Wirlpool Passage
Also see the connecting caves of Peak Cavern, J.H. and Titan, and the dedicated Peak-Speedwell web site www.peakspeedwell.info

· Suicide Cave
· Titan

Dave Nixon in Bagshawe Cavern.
Shaun Puckering 21st April 1993

This area lies to the south of the Castleton catchment area. It's a big area but as yet the theoretical "master cave" has yet to be discovered. The swallets are all choked and have thwarted all attempts of finding a feeder into the system. The main rising for the area is the highly significant Bagshawe Resurgence which produces more water than Castleton's Peak Cavern and Speedwell Cavern combined! Until recently this could only be explored for a few metres by diving to a point where it was blocked by a significant underwater boulder choke. Divers dug their way through it into a series of low and awkward submerged passages connecting to the downstream end of Bagshawe Cavern. Bagshawe is extensive with many ongoing leads, but again no way onto the "main drain" has been found. The area is also home to some significant 18th and 19th century lead mines which can still be explored.


· Bradwell Area Cave Index (main index of locations and access info)

· Bagshawe Cavern (references and access info only)
· Bagshawe Resurgence Cave

Keith Slatcher in the main passage of Water Icicle Close Cavern.
Simon Brooks 12th December 2009

Want an easy days caving? Go somewhere else! With a few exceptions, the caves in the Lathkill area are arduous. Most passages are low necessitating almost continuous crawling and thrutching. Any passage bigger than crawling size is a luxury! The exceptions are caves like Water Icicle Close Cavern with it's large fossil phreatic passages and mines like Hillocks and Knotlow. There are tantalising glimpses of larger passage development in some of the other caves but they are few and far between. The Lathkill Head system is extensive but most of it is submerged in all but the driest of summers. In wet weather the whole cave floods becoming a powerful resurgence. For real punishment consider a trip to the end of Critchlow Cave or to the end of Lower Cales Dale Cave which is only possible in drought.


· Lathkill Dale Cave Index (main index of locations and access info)

Hannah Puckering and Malc Whitehead in Carlswark Cavern.
Shaun Puckering 30th March 2005

There is a bit of cave under Stoney Dale called "The Incisma". It got it's name from the initial letters of "I'm not caving in Stoney Middleton again" but don't let that put you off. There is some excellent caving in this area. Popular caves include the extensive Carlswark Cavern, Streaks Pot and Layby Pot, all offering some good through trips. There is also some verticality in caves like Hungerhill Swallet. As in the Bradwell area, the "master cave" has yet to be found.


· Stoney Middleton Cave Index (index of locations and access info)

· Hangover Hole
· Rubble Rift

No specific guides as yet but there is some good information, surveys, location plans and photos on the Peak District SSSI Cave Conservation Monitoring Scheme's web site.


Home · The Caves · News · Rainfall · Weather · Other Stuff · Photos · Contact
All content copyright Peak District Caving
The Peak District Caving web site is funded by Hitch n Hike, the Peak District Caving Shop