Strap yourself in as this is going to be one amazing adventure of nostalgia.
Right, here we go. Stand straight, arms out and try not to dance around like a plane in flight while singing that iconic Dambusters theme tune!
This is the Dambuster’s Tour!
Full of promises of both a humbling reminder as to the history of the now sleepy waters of the Peak District and for the more adventurous of us a journey into what lies beneath with a trip down into the Blue John Cavern aswell as some equally impressive Caverns and sights across the Peak District.
What we promise on this extra long journey is ‘miles of smiles’ and a real escape from the average day as you head out.
We start out at the trusty Staffordshire tourist destination of Trentham Shopping Village where you will be shown around the car made comfortable with everything you need for this adventure.
Before you know it you will be heading through the gateway to the Staffordshire Moorlands with a short tootle through the heart of The Potteries alongside the River Trent before crossing the Trent & Mersey Canal and heading off towards the historic market town of Leek.
From here you are out on the open country roads climbing steeply up to meet Blackshaw Moors as the drive really starts to stun on the approach to The Winking Man which will appear on the left. Read more about The Winking Man here and be sure not to miss this unique natural wonder.
From here you will be heading over the moors and passing the now disused Stanley Moor Reservoir on your right hand side as you slide down into the Spa town of Buxton which sits at 1000ft above sea level, making it Englands highest market town.
This is an excellent opportunity to divert onto The Cresent to find the natural spring where you can fill up those empty water bottles with fresh Buxton mountain spring water from St Ann’s Well.
Now you are all refreshed the adventure continues towards Dove Holes. Evidence of human occupation at Dove Holes can be traced back to the Neolithic Period (late Stone Age) because of the existence of a Class 2 henge, known locally as The Bull Ring. It is oh so easy to drive through Dove Holes without realising the vast tapestry of history that this area holds.
Pull over, take in that fresh air and soak in the history.
From here there are so many hidden gems, just like the rest of the peak district such as ‘Eldon Hole’, a legendary chasm which has been the source of many local tales and known as one of the “Severn wonders of the Peaks’
Take a look at Blue John Cavern on the left which will be a great return stop for the adventurous.
Castleton is the next village with the famous Peak Cavern. Also known as ‘The Devil’s Arse’. Peak cavern is the largest natural cavern on the British Isles with the largest cavern ‘Titan’ measuring 100mtrs long, 20mtrs high and 35mtrs wide! See Peak Cavern’s historic Rope-Making works on your fully guided tour of the cave. Experience one of the year round musical events in the natural amphitheatre of the entrance. Check in advance for event schedules.
Peak Cavern links through to the Speedwell Cavern via 13 miles of underground passages. However, it is probably much more sensible to drive to the tourist entrance and be guided from there.
This is a magical chance to take a fully guided tour and take an amazing boat trip 450m under the Hills of Castleton to the awesome Bottomless Pit.
Understand a little of what life must have been like for the miners working in this eighteenth century lead mine.
This tour really is one not to be missed!
By now you will no doubt be feeling that setting off from Home this morning seemed so long ago as the final leg takes you through the town of Hope and onto Ladybower Reservoir where, if you like, you can check into one of our recommended hotels for some well deserved rest.
There is so much to see from here. Just up the road at Derwent Dam was the practice ground for the 617 Squadron and their legendary 6 week long practice runs with the ‘Bouncing Bomb’ with those iconic Lancaster Bombers and Shackletons. The runs were recreated in 1954 for the film and finally a fly past in 1988 by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.
Be sure to visit not only the dams, but also the Derwent Visitor Centre to fully take in the importance that this Dam played.
Fill yourself with a wealth of knowledge here and be sure to find a fountain of knowledge of this area.
The trip back is one of options.
For those feeling energetic then there is a visit to the Blue John Caven, home to eight of the fourteen known varieties of Blue John stone, a beautiful and ornamental fluor-spar. The Blue John Cavern is steeped in history and old mining equipment is on view inside the cavern. Guided tours are available throughout the cave system.
For the rest then there is a stop in Buxton with a visit to the Pavilion Gardens coming highly recommended.
Every adventure has to draw to a close though and now its time to head back across the Peaks, back through the Staffordshire Moorlands and head back to Trentham Shopping Village to hand back those keys, stretch the legs and maybe indulge in some Retail Therapy.