The Heights of Abraham
A great family day out when visiting the Peak District
The Heights of Abraham are a tourist centre strategically placed at the top of a spur on one of the bends in the River Derwent, high above Matlock Bath and opposite High Tor. The position is a fine one and the hillside is covered in beech woods which give some attractive short walks. The hilltop is crowned by the Victoria Tower which offers excellent views of the River Derwent below and the countryside around. There is a cable car up to the Heights, starting from just upstream of Matlock Bath railway station.
The main feature of the Heights are two caverns which are open as show caves. Both of these, Rutland Cavern and Great Masson Cavern, are part natural and part lead mines. The Rutland cavern was known as the Nestus mine and is probably the oldest in the area, so old it may have been one of those worked by the Romans. It has several large chambers, a spring of clear water known as Jacob's Wishing Well, fine examples of fluorspar and other crystals and graffiti from the 16th century miners. The pick marks on the walls indicate that it was worked entirely by hand and some of the marks are almost certainly mediaeval.
Great Masson Cavern lies further up the hill near its summit and is another of the oldest mines in the Peak, following the line of the Great Rake - a seam of lead which cuts across the Derwent valley and continues across the countryside for many miles. The cavern follows the vein and is initially quite narrow, before emerging into several larger chambers and exiting higher up the hillside.
For more details on this great family day out visit http://www.heightsofabraham.com/