Treak Cliff Cavern is an old lead and Blue John mine situated on the western outskirts of Castleton, Derbyshire. The mine has been operational since the early 18th Century, and was already receiving tourist visitors in the 19th Century to see the famed Blue John deposits. Blue John is a semi-precious banded form of Fluorspar, and the entire world's supply is found only in this one hill. Treak Cliff Cavern is one of two sites to still mine the mineral, Blue John Cavern (at the top of the hill) being the other.

In 1926, new caverns were accidentally discovered by Blue John miners who broke through from the surface workings, and which contained a stunning array of mineralised structures. The caverns were then connected internally by blasting, and eventually illuminated with electric lighting by John Royse, the noted geologist, cave-explorer and then leaseholder, and he officially opened the caverns as a show-cave in 1935; it has been entertaining visitors ever since with its splendid displays. Treak Cliff Cavern recently celebrated its 300th anniversary as a working mine, and its 75th as a commercial show-cave.

I've recently been producing a new body of work within the caverns, in an attempt to capture the immensity and weight of the natural forms, combined with the delicacy of structure, colour and material, all bound and constantly manipulated by gravity, and which are so brilliantly displayed in this very special environment. The images are all composites, made from many images stitched together, essentially underground panoramas.

Many thanks to Vicky Turner and all the staff at Treak Cliff Cavern for their hospitality and assistance in producing this project. The work is dedicated to John Royse, for his inspiring and pioneering efforts at better communicating the magic of the underground geological environment to a wider public. More images will be created as time allows.

Prints are available to buy at a variety of sizes, from actual size down to A3, and on a variety of materials. To enquire about pricing, please email me or phone +44 114 255 9976.

Aladdin's Cave 1 Aladdin's Cave 2 Aladdin's Cave 3
FairyLand 1 FairyLand 2 FairyLand 3
FairyLand 4 Dream Cave 1 Dream Cave 2
Dream Cave 3 Witch's Cave


Copyright 2021 Phil Wolstenholme. All Rights Reserved.