Cave Dale

Cave Dale (sometimes spelt Cavedale) is a dry limestone valley in the Derbyshire Peak District, England. It is located at grid reference SK149824. The northern end of the dale starts at the village of Castleton where the valley sides are almost perpendicular and over 50 metres in height. The dale rises gently after leaving Castleton for approximately 200 metres before becoming steeper culminating in a fine viewpoint down the dale taking in Peveril Castle with Lose Hill behind (see picture). After the viewpoint the dale swings west and levels out with gentle gradients, becoming just a shallow depression as it peters out onto the open pastureland between Castleton and Chapel-en-le-Frith.[1]

Cave Dale was initially formed by glacial meltwater carving a deep narrow valley in the local soluble limestone. The river then found a route underground leaving a dry valley with caverns underneath. Later on the caverns below Cave Dale collapsed making the valley even deeper and gorge-like at the northern end. The Castleton entrance to Cave Dale had a narrow natural arch as recently as 200 years ago, a relic of the roof collapse.[2] The lower slopes of the dale have large amounts of scree, frost on the higher limestone cliffs having caused the rock to shatter.[3] Halfway up the valley is an outcrop of basaltic lava with a few small columns.[4]

Cave Dale, Derbyshire
The northern part of Cave Dale near Castleton.

A bridleway runs the entire length of the dale, part of the Limestone Way footpath which travels 80 kilometres from Castleton to Rocester in Staffordshire.[5] Cave Dale is accessed through a narrow rocky opening almost from the centre of Castleton and Peveril Castle is seen high up on the almost vertical western slopes. The Normans chose this site because the steep sides of Cave Dale gave a natural defence and good lookout.

The chambers and caves of Peak Cavern run directly below Cave Dale and any small streams in the dale quickly disappear into the ground down limestone fissures and into the caverns beneath. Mineral veins can also be seen within the limestone of the dale. The cliffs at the northern end of Cave Dale are used by rock climbers and there are several routes in the Very Severe category. There are several small caves or old lead mines within the dale's limestone walls, with one being larger than the rest with bars preventing access. Cave Dale's steep north-facing grassy slopes are damp and bryophyte-rich and are dominated by oat grass (Trisetum flavescent) and Sheep's Fescue (Festuca ovina). Lesser meadow-rue (Thalictrum minus) grows extensively on ledges in the dale.[6]

At the southwestern extremity of the dale as it merges into the moorland between Castleton and Peak Forest are the remains of several old lead mines. The Hazard Mine lies at grid reference SK136812, and was one of the major mines of the area. Over 5000 tonnes of lead ore were mined and the main shaft goes down 700 feet. The Hollandtwine Mine lies 250 metres to the east. Drainage from both mines went directly into Peak Cavern.[7]

In 1983 Cave Dale was the scene of the murder of a 21-year-old Manchester Polytechnic student, Susan Renhard. Norman Smith, a local 17-year-old, was subsequently jailed for life at Nottingham Crown Court in 1984.

Cave Dale features in the 1987 film The Princess Bride, and the 2008 film The Other Boleyn Girl.[8]

Peveril Castle and Cave Dale
The view from the top of the steep section.


  • Rocks & Scenery of the Peak District, Trevor D. Ford, ISBN 1-84306-026-4
  • Lead Mining in the Peak District, Trevor D. Ford & J.H. Rieuwerts ISBN 0-901428-25-6
  • Castleton SSSI at English Nature
  • Info from (Third Paragraph)


  1. ^ The Peak District: Dark Park Area (OS Explorer Map), OL1, Southampton: Ordnance Survey, 2009-02-02, ISBN 978-0-319-24067-0
  2. ^ Info from Quotation on natural arch.
  3. ^ Rocks and Scenery of the Peak District p.70 (gives info on scree).
  4. ^ Rocks and Scenery of the Peak District p. 82 (gives info on basaltic lava outcrop).
  5. ^ Archived 2007-02-17 at the Wayback Machine. Ramblers Association page on Limestone Way.
  6. ^ Biology information.
  7. ^ Lead Mining in the Peak District pp. 46–47 (Gives information on Hollandtwine and Hazard mines).
  8. ^

Coordinates: 53°20′19″N 1°46′40″W / 53.3386°N 1.7777°W

Castleton, Derbyshire

Castleton is a village in the High Peak district of Derbyshire, England, at the western end of the Hope Valley on the Peakshole Water, a tributary of the River Noe, between the Dark Peak to the north and the White Peak to the south. The population was 642 at the 2011 Census.

Coverdale (dale)

Coverdale is a dale in the far east of the Yorkshire Dales, North Yorkshire, England. It takes its name from the River Cover, a tributary of the River Ure. The dale runs south-west from the eastern end of Wensleydale to the dale head at a pass, known as Park Rash Pass, between Great Whernside to the south and Buckden Pike to the north. It is accessible by a single track road, which runs the length of the dale and over the pass to Kettlewell in Wharfedale. Speight suggests that the name derives from the Anglo-Saxon Cofa-Dal which means Cave-Dale (in part due to the many caverns in the dale) or it may derive from Kofur which means Arrow; an allusion to the swiftness of the water in the dale.

Eldon Hill

Eldon Hill is a hill in the Peak District National Park in the county of Derbyshire, England, 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) southwest of the village of Castleton. It is a 470-metre (1,540 ft) limestone hill whose pastureland is used for rough grazing, although a large proportion has been lost to limestone quarrying. It lies within the Castleton Site of Special Scientific Interest. Eldon Hill was formed when a bed of pure limestone was squeezed and upfolded by geological forces to form a dome; it is the highest limestone hill north of the River Wye.The hill is of considerable geological, historical and industrial interest; it lies at the northern limit of the carboniferous limestone in the Peak District, as further north it merges into the millstone grit of the Dark Peak. The name Elveden is first attested in 1285 as Elvedon and seems to have meant 'Elves' hill'.Quarrying permission was granted in 1950 and huge quantities of limestone have been excavated, mostly for road-building purposes. A large amount of the northern and northwestern slopes of the hill have disappeared and it has been called the best-known eyesore in the Peak District. In 1995 an application by RMC Aggregates to extend the quarrying further east was denied as parliament tightened up on environmental problems caused by old mineral permissions granted between 1948 and 1981. The quarry closed in 1999 and now stands unused with vegetation starting to grow on the quarry face. There have been some attempts at natural restoration with several aquatic pools being established in the former workings. The termination of quarrying has also given cavers the chance to explore some of the narrow caves exposed by the work, with Sidetrack Cave (discovered 2002) being one of the most impressive.

350 metres south of the summit lies Eldon Hole. At 55 metres it is the deepest pothole in the area and was named as one of the Seven Wonders of the Peak by the philosopher Thomas Hobbes in 1636. According to folk tradition, it is the abode of the Devil. Close to the summit of the hill lies a Bronze Age tumulus, a large burial site measuring 16 by 15 metres and 1.5 metres high. The tumulus, a Scheduled Monument, has been excavated on several occasions with human skeletons and jewellery amongst the finds. The hill is dotted with numerous lead mines, all disused and many capped off for safety.

Eldon Hill can be climbed either from the villages of Peak Forest to the south or Castleton to the north. The approach from Castleton goes up Cave Dale with a return down Winnats Pass to give a very interesting walk. The approach from Peak Forest is shorter and passes Eldon Hole on the way. The summit of the hill stands just 100 metres from the edge of the fenced quarry workings and gives good views with Mam Tor, Axe Edge Moor and the town of Buxton all well seen.

Limestone Way

The Limestone Way is a long-distance footpath in Derbyshire, England. It runs through the White Peak of the Peak District National Park, from Castleton south to Rocester over the county boundary in Staffordshire. It originally ran to Matlock, but was diverted to its current, longer route to join up with the Staffordshire Way. The trail is named for the limestone scenery along its route. It was created by the West Derbyshire District Council (now Derbyshire Dales).

Limey Way

The Limey Way is a 65-kilometre Challenge walk through Derbyshire, England. It starts at Castleton and progresses through 15 major and 5 minor limestone dales to reach the River Dove and Dovedale, the walk's end.

The walk was first described in the 1960s and a Challenge Recorder was appointed: all persons who submitted a full verified account received a woven badge. The walk was later superseded by the Derbyshire Council's own walk, the Limestone Way, which uses the route of the Limey Way down to Thorpe and adds some extra mileage.

Peveril Castle

Peveril Castle (also Castleton Castle or Peak Castle) is a ruined 11th-century castle overlooking the village of Castleton in the English county of Derbyshire. It was the main settlement (or caput) of the feudal barony of William Peverel, known as the Honour of Peverel, and was founded some time between the Norman Conquest of 1066 and its first recorded mention in the Domesday Survey of 1086, by Peverel, who held lands in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire as a tenant-in-chief of the king. The town became the economic centre of the barony. The castle has views across the Hope Valley and Cave Dale.

William Peveril the Younger inherited his father's estates, but in 1155 they were confiscated by King Henry II. While in royal possession, Henry visited the castle in 1157, 1158, and 1164, the first time hosting King Malcolm IV of Scotland. During the Revolt of 1173–1174, the castle's garrison was increased from a porter and two watchmen to a force led by 20 knights shared with the castles of Bolsover and Nottingham. The Earls of Derby had a claim to the Peveril family's estates through marriage, and in 1199 William de Ferrers, the fourth earl, paid 2,000 marks for the Peak lordship, although the castle remained under royal control. The closest Peveril Castle came to seeing battle was in 1216, when King John gave the castle to William de Ferrers, but the castellan refused to relinquish control. Although they were both John's supporters, the king authorised the earl to use force to evict the castellan, who eventually capitulated, although there is no evidence that the castle was assaulted.

In 1223 the castle returned to the Crown. In the 13th century there were periods of building work at the castle, and by 1300 its final form had been established. Toward the end of the 14th century, the barony was granted to John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster. Having little use for the castle, he ordered some of its material to be stripped out for re-use, marking the beginning of its decline. From the time of John of Gaunt to the present day, the castle has been owned and administered by the Duchy of Lancaster. Peveril Castle became less important administratively, and by 1609 it was "very ruinous and serveth for no use". In the 19th century, Sir Walter Scott featured the castle in his novel Peveril of the Peak. The site is situated in a national park, and cared for by English Heritage. Peveril Castle is protected as a scheduled monument and a Grade I listed building.

Susan Renhard

Susan Elizabeth Renhard (17 November 1961 – 27 June 1983) was a student murdered in Cave Dale near Castleton, Derbyshire in 1983. Norman Hugh Morrison Smith, a young student, admitted to her sexual assault but denied strangling her. He was found guilty of murder on 24 February 1984.

The Other Boleyn Girl (2008 film)

The Other Boleyn Girl is a 2008 historical romantic drama film directed by Justin Chadwick. The screenplay by Peter Morgan was adapted from Philippa Gregory’s 2001 novel of the same name. It is a fictionalized account of the lives of 16th-century aristocrats Mary Boleyn, one-time mistress of King Henry VIII, and her sister, Anne, who became the monarch's ill-fated second wife, though much history is distorted.

Production studio BBC Films also owns the rights to adapt the sequel novel, The Boleyn Inheritance, which tells the story of Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard and Jane Parker.

The Princess Bride (film)

The Princess Bride is a 1987 American romantic comedy fantasy adventure film directed and co-produced by Rob Reiner, starring Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin, Chris Sarandon, Wallace Shawn, André the Giant, and Christopher Guest. Adapted by William Goldman from his 1973 novel of the same name, it tells the story of a farmhand named Westley, accompanied by companions befriended along the way, who must rescue his true love Princess Buttercup from the odious Prince Humperdinck. The film effectively preserves the novel's narrative style by presenting the story as a book being read by a grandfather (Peter Falk) to his sick grandson (Fred Savage).

The film was first released in the United States on September 25, 1987, and was well-received by critics at the time, but was only a modest box office success. Over time, particularly with the introduction of the Internet, the film has become a cult classic. The film is number 50 on Bravo's "100 Funniest Movies", number 88 on The American Film Institute's (AFI) "AFI's 100 Years...100 Passions" list of the 100 greatest film love stories, and 46 in Channel 4's 50 Greatest Comedy Films list. In 2016, the film was inducted into the National Film Registry, being deemed as "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant".

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