Thor’s Cave in the Manifold Valley has been on my to-do list for a while. We were still a bit jet-lagged as we had just come back from our two-month-long road trip around Australia, a few days earlier. We couldn’t have asked for nicer weather that Easter weekend. Warm sunshine filled the blue sky and the blossoms had arrived. I love spring.
Everywhere you looked you could see the beauty of spring. So many little lambs enjoying the day with their mothers; gambolling, baaing and wagging their tails.
We parked our car at Wetton Mill car park and started our walk from the Wetton Mill Tea Room, owned by the National Trust. Following the footpath between the buildings, which leads along the field edge and up the hillside, we reached the waymark point at the top. We then turned left and went down through a wooden gate. Soon we went through a patch in between deep slopes pictured below.
Next, we reached an old manor house, known as Pepper Inn, pictured below. Pepper Inn was once a button factory and also an isolation hospital during a smallpox outbreak among the workmen building the Manifold Railway.
Just past the Inn we turned right through a squeeze stile and carried up the footpath along the dry stone wall through the Manifold Valley. You can see the footpath on the photo below, it was taken from the top.
We walked along the lane through the village to the road junction, until we saw a sign “Concession Path to Thor’s Cave. You can easily see Thor’s Cave from this path. Just follow the path right up to it.
This natural cavern is located in the Manifold Valley of the White Peak in Staffordshire. It is classified as a Karst cave. Located in a steep limestone crag, the cave entrance, a symmetrical arch 7.5 metres wide and 10 metres high, is prominently visible from the valley bottom, around 80 metres below.
Palaeolithic hunters once lived under the great roof of Thor’s Cave and watched wolves, bears and woolly rhinoceros in the valley below. Samuel Carrington, a Wetton schoolmaster excavated the cave in 1864. He found Romano-British remains consisting of pottery and bronze and iron knives which are on display in Buxton Museum.
At first, we climbed on top of the Cave where we had a picnic.
The far-reaching 360 degrees view of Manifold Valley is simply spectacular.
After our lunch, we finally descended to Thor’s cave which was waiting for our exploration. Our son was very excited. Easter bunny even left some chocolate eggs for him inside. 😉 Getting inside the cave is an adventure itself. Polished smooth rocks are usually more feared by adults than children. Take extra care when wet.
The inside of the cave is quite impressive. Take a torch with you.
Lastly, we followed the steep path with lots of steps down through the trees. The path was covered in bluebells and wild garlic. At the information board, we turned right on to the tarmac track, the Manifold Way. It used to be the course of the Leek & Manifold Valley Light Railway, one of the least successful enterprises of the railway era. The track was converted to its present use as a footpath and cycleway by Staffordshire Council in 1937.
We followed the track until we reached the car park at Wetton Mill. Before we headed back home our son had a little splash in the Manifold river under the fourth arched bridge next to the Cafe.
With well-deserved ice cream! What a wonderful day it was.