'Amazing' new stalagmite formations will be on show when Buxton's Poole's Cavern reopens

Lockdown and covid restrictions may have curtailed our lives, but for the rock formations at Buxton’s Pooles Cavern, the lack of visitors has had a huge impact.

By Lucy Ball
Tuesday, 27th April 2021, 7:00 am

Cave manager Alan Walker said the rock formations had grown at a ‘phenomenal rate’ and while the growth of new stalagmites would normally take decades, they have appeared in mere months since the cavern shut its doors to the public at the end of October – the longest closure in its 44 year history since Buxton Civic Association took over the site.

He said: “While we would have rather been open to visitors in recent months, amazing things have been happening in the caves because of the lack of human intrusion to this natural habitat.

"We have seen more bats roosting in the cave than ever before which is brilliant.

Pooles Cavern manager Alan Walker with some of the stalagmites that have been growing undisturbed during lockdown

"Also without the footfall of people on the paths we have found brand new stalagmite formations that would never have been there before.”

The new stalagmites are around three to four centimetres high, which may not sound much but would normally take almost half a century to form, says Alan.

"Our cave is very special. It is under Grin Low hill which was an industrial site and the lime used in the work seeped into the hill which then entered the water and as the water drips out of the ground that is how stalactites and stalagmites are formed.

"Compared to other caves formations ours happen 100 times faster because of the industrial past but these new ones have appeared quickly even by our standards and it’s amazing.”

Pooles Cavern manager Alan Walker

Due to being an indoor attraction and following the government’s road map out of lockdown, Poole’s Cavern will not be able to open until May but Alan says he’s very excited to welcome people back.

He said: “We have wonderful caves and we love showing them off and telling people all about the history of them.

"We have a great team who can’t wait to start putting on the tours again although going forward there might be some changes."

Alan says to fall in line with social restrictions the tours will operate in smaller numbers but he thinks this will be a good move as it will allow one guide per family and hopes it will create a more relaxed setting where more questions get asked than they did on the bigger tours which were run previously.

Pooles Cavern manager Alan Walker with some of the scientific experiments the cavern has been hosting during lockdown

The maximum number of people on the new tours will be limited to 10. The number of tours each day will be limited to manage safe visitor numbers and must be pre-booked.

Face coverings must be worn in the cavern by everyone and refreshments such as hot drinks and snacks will be available from the pop up cafe with pre-packaged food and cutlery and drinks all in ecologically sustainable materials and there will also be outside picnic tables available.

The country park woodland trails to Solomon’s Temple viewpoint have remained open throughout lockdown will continue to be open for visitors.

For more information or to book tickets visit: https://poolescavern.co.uk/.

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