• Enter the inner world of the underground cave system in the heart of the Peak District National Park


    An incredible journey by boat

  • Through the flooded workings of an old lead mine



During the COVID-19 pandemic the following restrictions and safety measures will be in place:


  1. Tour capacities have been severely reduced to enable minimum social distancing protocols (1m+ on the boat)
  2. Tickets must be booked and paid for on-line, in advance, through our website (CLICK HERE). Our area is currently in Tier 1 and so we are restricting bookings to a maximum of 6 people. (If your household bubble is greater than 6 please telephone us to book as we require proof of address.)
  3. Ticket holders are asked to arrive 20 minutes before their allotted tour time and check-in inside the gift shop.
  4. All visitors will be required to wear a mask or face-covering for the duration of the cave tour, NO EXCEPTIONS. Masks will be available to purchase on arrival (priced at ยฃ1.50). All visitors will have their temperature checked on entry to the Cavern. Anyone with a temperature of 37.8C or higher will be refused admission.
  5. Our Tour Guides will be wearing masks and/or full face visors whilst conducting the tours.
  6. A minimum 2m Social Distancing must be observed between individual groups (bubbles) on-site where possible (1m+ on the boats). Up to 6 people will be allowed in the Gift Shop at any time. Masks must be worn inside the gift shop.
  7. Hand sanitiser will be provided and must be used on entry to and exit from the Cavern and Gift Shop.
  8. Our staff will be following enhanced cleaning and hygiene protocols throughout.
  9. Limited toilet facilities will be available to Cavern ticket holders only.

Purchase Cavern Entrance Tickets Online - Look out for our Early-bird Specials

Opening Times

April To
Daily 10.00am to 5.00pm
(later at peak times)
Tours at regular intervals
Last Tour 4.00pm
(later at peak times)
to March
Daily 10.00am to 4.00pm
Tours at regular intervals
Last Tour 3.00pm

CLOSED Christmas Day, Boxing Day & New Year's Day



From Monday 14th September we are introducing a maximum ticket allocation of 6 to comply with the latest Government restrictions. If your household bubble is 7 or more please telephone us for bookings.


Mark Lea


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Speedwell Cavern

THURSDAY 8TH OCTOBER- unfortunately due to the overnight deluge the Cavern has gone into flood this morning and weโ€ฆ t.co/TwoDopudPh



Set at the foot of the spectacular Winnats Pass, high above the village of Castleton, Speedwell Cavern takes you on an incredible underground boat journey.


Speedwell Cavern Key Facts

  • Historic lead mine. Mining started in 1771 and continued on and off for about 20 years, by which time visitors were being taken round by boat (whilst work was still in progress).

  • Original entrance is a vertical shaft 28m deep, top marked by flagpole on car park.

  • Remains of blast holes in walls and ceiling 20-25cm long. 2 Miners drilled holes, one of them holding and rotating a drill, while the other hit it with a 6Kg sledge-hammer. Each hole took 2 hours to drill and 15 to 20 holes were needed for each blast. They were filled with black gun-powder, sealed with a clay bung and a straw fuse was used to fire the charges.

  • Progress was around 1.9m a week (a fathom). The passage took around 4 and a half years to complete.

  • The original steps were completed by 1778.

  • Passageway was driven in southerly direction to intersect several east-west running veins of lead whose existence was known about from surface outcrops.

  • According to old records £14.000 was spent on the whole concern. The returns are said to have been about £3.000. Hardly a financial success!

  • 1st vein of lead, “Little Winster” vein 1 m high 60 cm wide 37m long, probably yielding less than £100 worth of lead.

  • The “Half Way House”, extends 50m horizontally to the bottom of a 36m vertical shaft leading into a vast chamber almost 100m higher than level of the passageway. Miners had been there 240 years ago, although it unclear which way they got in.

  • The “Bellows Hole” is where a small boy would work all day pumping on a pair of blacksmiths bellows circulating the air.

  • 2nd vein of lead “The Longcliff” vein. Richest vein of lead yielding the majority of the £3000 worth of lead. Extends for half a mile to the east and quarter of a mile the west. Sealed off now as the workings were in a dangerous state.

  • Safety hole, as miners went further into the rock there was a need for a safety hole as work become more and more dangerous for shot-blaster.

  • 3rd and last vein of lead, “Poormans vein”, only yielded 3Kg of lead, used as a more adequate safety hole.

  • The “Bottomless Pit” Cavern is formed on “Foreside” or “Faucet” vein. The top of the chamber is some 50m above the platform, which is about 200m underground. One of the deepest caverns on British Isles. Behind boulders on top of ladders a passageway extends for 20m to the foot of a run-in shaft. It is unknown where it leads to and whether the miners knew about the existence of cavern before they broke into it.

  • The “Far Canal” extends for 250m in man-made form, then leads into a vast network of underground stream caverns and passageways, which are in total more than 13 miles long and even connect through to Peak Cavern, underneath Peveril Castle.

  • Miners used the “Bottomless Pit”, a large subterranean lake with a 250 square meter surface area, to dump about 2,500 tons of waste rock from the Far Canal. The lake is 30m below platform in normal conditions and used to be an estimated 60m deep. It is now only 11m deep because of the fill from the waste rock.

  • Before miners dropped waste rock in the Bottomless Pit the cavern used to be an estimated 150m high.

  • Water from the Bottomless Pit flows out of the “Russett Well”, a resurgence at the mouth of Peak Cavern Gorge in Castleton, which has never run dry in 450 years of recorded history.

How to find us

Speedwell Cavern
Winnats Pass,

Castleton, Hope Valley,
Derbyshire, S33 8WA

Tel โ€“ Cavern Enquiries: 01433 623018
Tel โ€“ Shops & Administration: 01433 620512
Fax: 01433 621888

Pay & Display car and coach parking is available, with a discount scheme for Cavern Visitors.