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The ancient woodland habitat here is rare in Europe and is considered a standout “Tilio-Acerion forest”, of the kind only found on slopes and ravines.Also fascinating is that the paths date back more than 270 years, which puts Lovers’ Walks among the oldest surviving examples of a public pleasure park in the UK.In both caves, man-made passages are grafted to natural chambers and tunnels that have been 350 million years in the making.Of the two, Great Masson is the showstopper, with vaulting ceilings more than ten metres high and high-tech lighting installations for extra spectacle.You could walk north towards the picturesque town of Bakewell and the magnificent Chatsworth House, while to the south the valley becomes a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as the place where the modern factory system was founded in the 18th century.We’ll mention Richard Arkwright’s Masson Mills and the Cromford Canal below.
At the top you’ll find 60 acres of landscaped woodland, awesome views of the valley, visitor centres in chalet-style buildings and two man-made caves which we’ll talk about shortly.
The Great Rutland Cavern puts you in the boots of a 17th-century mining family, and has lots of well-preserved inscriptions by miners on its walls.
A good complement to the Heights of Abraham’s showcaves, this museum back on the valley floor goes into depth on the region’s lead mining history.
Included in the price of the cable car are tours of the Heights of Abraham’s show caverns.
These labyrinths twisting through the hillside were first excavated by the Romans and grew over the next 1,800 years, reaching their apogee in the 17th century.