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Thor's Cave is a large limestone cave and is a popular destination for tourists and hikers as it has a rich history that dates back thousands of years.
This thoroughly enjoyable circular hike takes you to it and around some charming Peak District countryside, as well as to the lovely village of Wetton. The cave was formed over 360 million years ago during the Carboniferous period, when the area was covered by a warm, shallow sea.
The cave was created by the action of water eroding the limestone rock, and it has been inhabited by humans since the Palaeolithic period. Archaeological excavations have revealed evidence of human habitation in the cave dating back to around 10,000 BCE.
The cave was used as a shelter by nomadic hunter-gatherers who roamed the area during the Stone Age.
Excavations have uncovered a range of artefacts, including flint tools, animal bones, and evidence of fire. During the Iron Age, the cave was used as a shrine or sanctuary, and evidence of this can be seen in the form of carvings and inscriptions on the cave walls.
The Romans also used the cave, and there is evidence of a Roman shrine or temple at the site. In the Middle Ages, the cave was used as a hideout by bandits and outlaws, and it was also believed to be the home of Thor, the Norse god of thunder.
The cave's association with Thor is believed to be the source of its name. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the cave became a popular tourist attraction, and visitors would leave their names and messages on the cave walls.
This practice was eventually stopped to preserve the cave's historic value. Today, Thor's Cave is a popular destination for hikers and tourists, and it remains an important archaeological site.
The cave is managed by the National Trust, which has implemented measures to protect the cave's fragile environment and preserve its historic value. Either stroll straight out and back to it, or take the scenic option and follow this logical loop route.