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Wapping Mine & Cumberland Cavern : Matlock

    Mining For Adventure

    Wapping Mine is a fascinating underground attraction in Matlock, Derbyshire. It is a former lead and fluorspar mine that dates back to the 18th century and has a complex network of tunnels, chambers and veins. Wapping Mine is connected to Cumberland Cavern, which was once a show cave visited by Queen Victoria. In this article, we will explore some of the features and history of Wapping Mine and Cumberland Cavern, and give you some tips on how to visit them safely.

    Wapping Mine & Cumberland Cavern Cave Exploring

    Wapping Mine was first worked for galena (lead ore) in the 1750s, along a mineral vein called Moletrap Rake. Miners reworked the mine for fluorspar (a mineral used in steelmaking and ceramics) in the 1920s and 1950s, and expanded it into a large area known as the Maze, which is a labyrinth of passages and pockets. The mine has an impressive entrance, which is 18 metres south of a point approximately 182 metres west of Masson Mills weir. The entrance leads to a main adit (horizontal tunnel) that runs west along the rake. Along the way, you can see various features of the mine, such as roadways, stopes (vertical shafts), ore chutes, winzes (small shafts), sumps (water pools), pillars (supports) and crosscuts (side tunnels). You can also see traces of the mining equipment and tools used by the miners.

    Mining Hidden Gems

    The Incline Level, which is a steeply sloping tunnel, is one of the most interesting parts of Wapping Mine. Miners drove it southwest from the main adit in the 1950s. The Incline Level was an attempt to cross the vein from the Main Stope working, but it proved to be unfruitful. However, it offers a challenging and exciting route for explorers who want to test their skills and stamina. The Incline Level is about 100 metres long and has a gradient of about 45 degrees. It is slippery, muddy and wet, and requires crawling, climbing and squeezing through tight spaces. At the end of the Incline Level, you can either return to the main adit or continue to another level called the High Level.

    Royal Cumberland Cavern

    Another highlight of Wapping Mine is the connection to Cumberland Cavern, which is located above Wapping Mine by about 12 metres. Cumberland Cavern was originally called Cumberland Mine, and was also worked for galena in the 18th century. Two links connect it with Wapping Mine: the Funnel Cave, which is at the end of the Fourth Stope in Wapping Mine; and the Devil’s Pit, which leads into the Maze in Wapping Mine. Cumberland Cavern has many natural chambers that were enlarged by mining activity. Some of them have stalactites, stalagmites and flowstones formed by dripping water. Cumberland Cavern was opened as a show cave in 1780 and renamed Royal Cumberland Cavern after Queen Victoria’s visit.

    Wapping Mine & Cumberland Cavern Cave Exploring

    A gang called the Troggs occupied it and left graffiti on some of the walls after it closed as a show cave in the late 1960s or early 1970s.

    Goinng Equipped

    If you want to visit Wapping Mine and Cumberland Cavern, you will need some basic caving equipment and skills. You will need a helmet with a light source, sturdy boots with good grip, gloves, warm clothing that can get dirty and wet, and a spare set of clothes for after the trip. You will also need some rope or webbing for safety purposes. It’s never a good idea to go alone, tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return. You should also check with local mining groups for current access details and permission before you go. Wapping Mine and Cumberland Cavern are not suitable for children or people with claustrophobia or health problems.

    Wapping Mine and Cumberland Cavern are amazing places to explore if you are interested in mining history and geology. They offer a glimpse into the past lives of the miners who worked there and the natural beauty of the underground world. They are also fun and challenging places to test your caving skills and experience some adventure. If you decide to visit them, please respect their heritage and environment, and follow the caving code of conduct.

    Guided Tours

    Join me for a guided tour if you are interested in exploring Wapping Mine and Cumberland Cavern. I am a professional caver and a local expert on the history and geology of these mines. I can provide you with the necessary gear and safety instructions, and show you the best routes and features of these amazing attractions. You will have a memorable and enjoyable experience that you will never forget. The tour lasts about three hours and costs £50 per person. To book your place, contact me using the contact form, or by using the email address on the contact us page. I look forward to hearing from you and sharing with you the wonders of Wapping Mine and Cumberland Cavern.

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