Beginner Trip Caves

There is a huge variety of caves and mines that we visit on a regular basis, the ones listed below our own particular favorites that are suitable for scouts and novices. We have been visiting these for well over 30 years and give a good introduction to this wonderful sport.

Great Masson Mine

The complex and extensive Masson system is part natural/mined, having been mined for lead and fluorspar. The mine has an exceptionally long history dating back to the 15th century. Part of the system is open as a show cave but we use two entrances that are accessed through the quarry workings at the northern end of the mine. The mine is full of interest with hand picked coffin levels, buddling deposits and some modern mining artifacts. The trip will comprise of mainly walking size passages but will also include the odd crawl and scramble. There are a couple of large and impressive part- natural caverns and also an underground lake. The trip is generally quite dry.

Jug Holes

This is another complex of mined and natural caverns, this time in three parts. A little bit muddier than the other three mines that we visit in this area but worth it for the variety of passage. Its has an impressive entrance, one way in is via a short ladder pitch which enters a variety of caverns, a scramble down leads to old workings and finally out through the old audit entrance.

Another way in is down a short climb into a boulder maze. Once through this the way on is through some stalagmite caverns and then back along a small stream-way with green clay.

Great Wapping Mine

Another interesting lead mine that started working from the mid 1750's and from the 1920's it was worked for fluorspar. In this mine some very large dry caverns connect via a series of passages through to the old Victorian show mine of Cumberland cavern. Queen Victoria visited this show mine when she came to visit Matlock and in the 1960's after the show mine was closed it was inhabited by a group of people who called themselves the Troggs. This resulted in a large amount of graffiti in some of the chambers.

Carlswark Cavern

A natural cave system with over 2.5km's of passage with a variety of entrances. We use two entrances, there is the Eyam dale shaft which has an akward 30 foot ladder climb and also the easier Gin Entrance. We often do a through trip entering from one entrance and emerging from the other. The usual trip takes the caver through pools of water, flat out crawls and through the interesting Eyam Passage. Expect to get quite wet if you go on this trip!

Nicker Grove Mine

A short but interesting through trip in this old lead mine. An audit entrance leads to solution cavities and further levels. A ladder descent takes the caver into a lower level emerging in a lower passage that leads to a couple of scrambles before emerging at the bottom of a shaft. A short climb upwards is the way out!

Cavers have recently found new passages in this mine.

Giants Hole

This is one of the longest natural cave systems in Derbyshire and the cave has a little bit of everything including strenuous meandering streamways, ladder climbs, traverses and tight crawls. We don't go in here very often and when we do we will choose a route that is within the capabilities of the group involved. If we go down here there will be some extra cost as we have to pay the farmer a trespass fee.

Manchester Hold and Goydon Hole

These are two caves in Upper Nidderdale in Yorkshire and we will visit these in the summer if the weather is dry and settled. Here the river Nidd goes underground and provides one of the best river trips in the country. Its a bit of longer drive but well worth it.

Bagshawe Cavern

This is situated in the village of Bradwell and though the trip starts through the old Mulespinner Mine it soon enters natural passage. This trip has a bit of everything with streamways, crawls, big passages and for the more experienced a lower level which requires an 18 foot ladder climb that takes you down to a well decorated stream way.

The cave totals 3.1 miles of passage at the moment and is still being explored, as with Giants Hole there is an additional fee that we must pay the land owner.

Merlins Mine

This short mine connects to a variety of natural caves including Carlswark cavern. We generally only use the upper series and enter by the short 'Eyam dale Shaft'. The complex of passages are nice and dry and offer a variety of sporting challenges before we leave via the small lower entrance.


This is a fine cave for the more experienced caver and as it takes a streamway it can only be done during fine weather. An entrance climb down the wet sinkhole takes the caver down a fine meandering stream passage past idiots leap and to the first pitch which can now be bypassed with the use of a traverse line.

Cross the first chamber and keeping with the upper passage the caver soon reaches an other short traverse, cross this and we meet up with a 25 foot drop. Descend this ladder pitch and follow the main passage to the main stream way at the bottom to number 1 sump.

Devonshire Caverns

This is an interesting lead mine and dates back to the 16th and 17th centuries. It is a complex series of interconnecting vein workings which slope with the bedding at around 20 degrees. In the 19th century it was a show cave and we progress through the mine through a variety of walking, stooping and crawling with some easy scrambling thrown in for good measure. As Great Masson, it is quite dry.