Bagshaw Cavern

Bagshawe Cavern

Bagshawe Cavern is an extensive and active stream cave with many fine formations offering a variety of trips at all levels from a walk around the old show cave to a vertical descent into the lower streamway series for the keen outdoor adventurer.

What mud?

This is the second entry to Single Rope Techniques and moves on from single drops to the more intricate techniques of deviations, re-belays and aid traverse lines.

'Show Cave' Trip
Adventure Caving Trip
Advanced Adventure Caving Trip
Level 2 Caving Trip
History of Cave Exploration at Bagshawe Cavern.

Show Cave Trips
Not as strenuous as our adventure caving trips. There are many excellent 'Show Caves' in the Peak District with electric lighting and footpaths for people to enjoy. This trip is ideal for those who wish to visit the cavern without crawling about in the mud! We take you on the old 'Show Cave' route following the pathways. There is little bending and the only climbing to be done is up the stairs on the way out. Similar to other show caves in the area, however you will get wet feet so please bring your boots or wellies!

Ø      Open All year round

Ø      Any age

Ø      Most abilities catered for (96 steps need to be climbed)

Ø      Explore the "Dripstone" sections by helmet light

Ø      Wonder at the amazing "Dripstone Pools"

Show cave trip description

Enter the cavern through the door in the stone building and descend a flight of artificial steps cut into the vein through a mined tunnel (Mulespinner Mine) into the first chamber.

Here you will see mining archaeology, pick marks, stemple sockets and the start of the natural underground streamway that formed the caverns.

At base of steps, turn left along the main passage to a wonderfull dripstone waterfall, the "Elephants Throat ". Wet feet now as we pass through a couple of knee deep pools along the tourist path, bend under a low section to arrive at another well decorated chamber, the "Dream Cave".

Shortly after this, the passage bends to the left and then right, passing a turning on the right to the beautifully decorated "Calypso’s Cave" to reach the top of some steps at the "Devils Organ Loft" A good resting place with the low ‘Agony’ crawl behind you and a crawl to the ‘Mouse Hole’ connecting back to the main passage – a must for all adventure caving groups!At the base of the steps is a large open pothole, "The Dungeon" which is an eighteen feet deep natural shaft.

The main passage continues beyond "The Dungeon" for about eight metres to just beyond a tranquil pool which Nigel Atkins calls "Peter's Pool" named after the late owner and cavern guide, Peter Revell. It is here, just before the cavern lowers to a breakdown of boulders where the ‘Show Cave’ trip finishes.
What to bring:

Ø      Outdoor clothing that you don't mind getting a little dirty and scuffed! Waterproof clothing may be hired for a small charge.
Ø      Warm clothing underneath. Please note that you will get wet up to the knees in this cavern!
Ø      A pair of walking boots or wellington boots. Wellington boots may be hired for a small charge.- please contact us with the sizes required.
Ø      A bin liner is extremely useful to put wet boots and over trousers in.
Ø      Any medication that you or group members are currently taking.
You will be provided with helmets and lights.

Adventure Caving Trip
Challenge your groups with an exciting opportunity to walk, stoop, climb over boulders and crawl through a maze of underground passageways. This half day trip is an excellent introduction for anyone wishing to enjoy the thrills of caving without any previous experience. It is one of the most famous of all the adventure trips in the country and lasts between 1 and 2 hours… everyone loves it!

The trip starts with an introduction to the safety equipment followed by a safety brief. During the trip you will have opportunity to enjoy scrambling, climbing, squeezing, large and small chambers, muddy puddles, silent passageways and wonder at natural cave formations. This Adventure caving trip is ideal for school and college groups, scouts and guides, youth groups, social and sporting clubs, families, friends and the keen individual

You will be guided by one of our highly skilled and qualified cave leaders to ensure your safety and enjoyment at all times. We also provide you with the specialist equipment needed and insurance cover.
There is no maximum number required as we can take you underground on a 1 to 1 basis. For conservation and safety reasons we keep the group sizes to a realistic working number and large parties can be split into smaller groups. Our instructor to student ratio may vary slightly to accommodate the level of tuition required. Our instructors will tailor the trip to suit your needs.
Adventure caving trips can also be used for groups to learn about the natural underground environment.
Ø      Open All year round
Ø      Any age
Ø      Most abilities catered for (100 steps need to be climbed)
Ø      Pass through the old "Show Cave"
Ø      Wade through "Muddy Puddles"
Ø      Explore the "Dripstone" sections by helmet light
Ø      Wonder at the amzing "Dripstone Pools"
Ø      Experience crawling through the "Mousehole"
Ø      Squeeze through "The Masher"
Ø      Climb into the "Cave of Worms"
Ø      Navigate through "Colostomy Crawl"

Adventure caving trip description
As per the Show cave trip to the "Dream Cave". Shortly after this, there is a low slot in the left wall, the "Mouse Hole". Low at first and then widening out to connect with the low "Agony" crawl connecting back to the main passage. This is a real must for all adventure caving groups! Although we encourage, we never force anyone to do this unless they really want to try it.

Descending the steps passing the large open pothole, "The Dungeon" to just beyond the  tranquil pool which Nigel Atkins calls "Peter's Pool" named after the late owner and cavern guide, Peter Revell. Here where the cavern lowers at a breakdown of boulders, the "Show Cave" trip finishes and your underground adventure begins!

The passage lowers with a scramble over boulders to a junction. To the left is "Colostomy Crawl" with the right offering a choice of routes to the "Cave of Worms". Choose between a low crawl to the right or squeezing yourself through "The Masher".


The 'Masher'


Climbing up and down boulders re-joins the main route, which continues to a large passage and the connection with "Colostomy Crawl". The trip continues from here through more pools and another choice of adventurous routes to the Hippodrome, a very large boulder strewn chamber.

What to bring:
Ø      Outdoor waterproof clothing that you don't mind getting very muddy! Waterproof clothing may be hired for a small charge.
Ø      Warm clothing underneath with at least 2 layers. Please note that two thin jumpers are often warmer than one thick one and give you more flexibility; also jeans are not very warm when wet, hence cold or wool mixture trousers are often preferable.
Ø      A pair of walking boots or wellington boots. Wellington boots may be hired for a small charge.- please contact us with the sizes required.
Ø      A bin liner is extremely useful to put wet clothes in and maybe a towel to dry off with.
Ø      A change of clothes, for after you have come out of the cave. Often clothes will be wet and muddy.
Ø      Any medication that you or group members are currently taking.
You will be provided with helmets and lights.

Advanced Adventure Caving Trip
This wet trip is an excellent follow up or extension to the adventure caving trip and a great opportunity for the true caving enthusiast.

Advanced Adventure caving trip description
As per the adventure caving trip to the Hippodrome. Turning left at the Hippodrome, a sloping muddy passage leads to the main stream way. At the base of this muddy (but extremely great fun) slope is a pool with a low roof!
Passing through this pool is dependant on weather conditions. Left downstream leads to a sump. Right upstream, can be followed with minimal airspace to sump 1.
Back at the Hippodrome, an oxbow at floor level of the leads to a short climb down into Glory Hole passage, a phreatic joint controlled inlet which descends to a duck. This then rises again to the head of an impressive pothole, 14 metres deep to water, the "Glory Hole". The water level in the Glory Hole falls considerably in dry weather. Just to the right of the Glory Hole passage is a crawl, which gradually lowers until it is too tight to continue. The Glory Hole is only available on these advanced trips and the ratios are kept to a minimum.
What to bring:
Ø      Outdoor waterproof clothing that you don't mind getting very muddy! Waterproof clothing may be hired for a small charge.
Ø      Warm clothing underneath with at least 2 layers. Please note that two thin jumpers are often warmer than one thick one and give you more flexibility; also jeans are not very warm when wet, hence cold or wool mixture trousers are often preferable.
Ø      A pair of walking boots or wellington boots. Wellington boots may be hired for a small charge.- please contact us with the sizes required.
Ø      A bin liner is extremely useful to put wet clothes in and maybe a towel to dry off with.
Ø      A change of clothes, for after you have come out of the cave. Often clothes will be wet and muddy.
Ø      Any medication that you or group members are currently taking.
You will be provided with helmets and lights.

Level 2 Caving Trip
This involves descending the large open pothole, "The Dungeon" which is an eighteen feet deep natural shaft enabling you to explore the lower levels of Bagshawe Cavern on our Level 2 "Underground Caving Adventure".
This trip is designed to give you a taste of "vertical" caving at a basic level. These trips are especially popular for those who have already done the advanced caving trip at the cavern. These trips are done by special arrangement for small groups only.

Level 2 caving trip description


History of Cave Exploration at Bagshawe Cavern

An extensive and active stream cave with many fine formations, entered via the mined entrance tunnel of Mulespinner Mine. Operated as a showcave in the latter half of the twentieth century, it is now open to suitably insured, competent bona fide cavers. The Eldon Pothole Club are involved in exploring and maintaining this fascinating system, which continues to yield new passage.
Bagshawe was found accidentally in 1806 by lead miners and was named after Sir William Bagshawe who owned the land when it was discovered. New areas of the cavern are still been discovered today even after nearly 200 years since it was originally found. Once used as a show cave but now used exclusively for adventure caving trips.

Bagshawe Cavern is a significant mine and cave system situated east of the village of Bradwell in the Peak District, England. Mining records are available from the 1750s when the mine was known as Mulespinner Mine and in the early years of the twentieth century miners broke into extensive natural cave passage.
In the second half of the twentieth century, the owner Peter Revell operated Bagshawe Cavern as a tourist attraction and In 1984 he teamed up with Nigel Atkins of the Eldon Pothole Club, both leading show cave and guiding adventure caving trips. It was here that Nigel got the bug to teach caving to others and went on to become one of the best known and respected caving instructors and assessors in the UK today.
Today the Eldon Pothole Club continue to be involved in the maintenance and exploration of the mine/cave complex.

Bagshawe Cavern Location
Bagshawe Cavern is located East of the village of Bradwell in the Peak District at national grid reference SK171808 on a small lane leading to Bradwell Dale and is marked on many maps. Parking for a few cars is available in a small car park adjacent to the cavern.