Caves & The Plague – two great days out in the Peak District
Fascinating visit to The Plague village, Eyam.
One of the main reasons we choose to cottage holiday in the Peak District is because our 7 year old son is fascinated by the story of the plague and really wanted to visit the famous village of Eyam.
We started our visit at the Eyam Museum where both boys received quizzes to suit their ages. The quizzes kept their interest and they were happy to go around the museum spotting things on their sheets. Unfortunately due to the speed in which they move around the museum we don’t get to read everything! The museum is packed with information about the village and the history of the families affected by the plague.
Village of Eyam
We then wandered around the village looking at the houses where the families lived and looking out for information plaques on houses. There are also stocks on the green which the boys enjoyed getting into but unfortunately didn’t stay!
Time for cake!
We then found a lovely teashop called The Village Green and purchased coffee and cake to take on our walk. The boys weren’t really in the mood for a long walk so we headed up the hill in Eyam to visit Montpessan well. This is where the villagers left coins in exchange for food from other local villages. The coins were washed with vinegar or water which they thought would stop the plague spreading.
We wandered back down from the hill via a different wooded walk. Then it was back to the car park which had a kid’s play park behind it so the boys had fun in there before heading off.
Before going back to our holiday cottage we popped in to Bakewell to buy the traditional Bakewell tart and custard for our pudding. It truly was the tastiest Bakewell that I’ve ever tasted!
Exploring Speedwell Cavern
The weather turned for the worse on our Peak District cottage holiday so it was not a day to go walking unfortunately. However, there was a good rainy day option. We decided to visit Speedwell Cavern and Peak Cavern near Castleton. They are in close proximity and you can get a special ticket to visit both.
We were the most excited about visiting Speedwell Cavern as this was an underground old lead mine which you have to explore via a boat. We all waited in anticipation with our hard hats on.
We were at the front of the queue and therefore to add to the boys excitement got the front seats on the boat. However, the feelings of excitement soon changed when people were boarding the boat and it started to rock and we went further into the dark tunnel. I could feel the boys jumping and at the same time both boys said that they wanted to get off. I was all jolly and reassuring as we had set-off and it was too late to turn back now!
Our funny tour guide soon lightened the mood. You reach a point called half way house where the tunnel widens and you let a returning boat go past. Then you come to the end of the tunnel in a large cavern and disembark off the boat. Our boat is taken back by another group and we have a few minutes in the cavern with a talk from our guide whilst waiting for the next boat to arrive.
At this point the boys realise that there is nothing to worry about and enjoy keeping look out down the tunnel for the next boat. Being boys they are precariously near the edge for my liking!
The boys were so much more confident on the return journey. They definitely enjoyed the whole experience as they wanted to go back again the next day!
After a good pub lunch in Castleton at Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese Inn we strolled up the road to the Peak Cavern. The entrance is a huge limestone gorge and tours further in to the cave usually run on the hour. Our tour guide was a very entertaining guy called Teapot!
Before the tour started we were given a demonstration on rope making which use to happen at the entrance of the cave for 400 years producing rope for the working lead mines. The rope was required in very long lengths for the mines and the rope makers lived in the gorge.
We were then taken further in to the caves on foot. Various films have been filmed in the cavern and our guide pointed out left over props and interesting rock formations. The cavern holds various events and concerts throughout the year.