Pause where you can see the natural arch of Reynard’s Cave. To find out how it formed we need to travel back to the end of the last Ice Age, around 10,000 years ago, when glacial meltwater swelled the Dove into a powerful torrent. Icy waters cut down through fissures and faults in the rock like a knife through butter. The vertical crags and pinnacles we can see from here are harder bands of limestone that the water could not cut through, but just how did these natural caves and arches form? [caption id="attachment_7182" align="alignleft" width="1024"]read more)
DERSB : 9125b
Pottery fragment, found at Reynards Cave, Dovedale, 4,5003,500 years old (Late Neolithic or Early Bronze Age).
Reynard's Cave sits behind an impressive natural arch, high up on the Derbyshire bank of Dovedale. This object was discovered during 1959 when excavations indicated that the cave had been used a temporary shelter from at least 6,000 years ago through to the Roman and Medieval periods.
Archaeologists didn't think the cave had been used a permanent home. There weren't that many finds, or any signs of hearths for fires. Further excavations in 2013 also demonstrated that the cave had been used since the prehistoric period as a significant landmark.
Shaped by the River Dove, the scenic valley of Dovedale stretches between the villages of Milldale in the north to Ilam in the south. Dovedales limestone is made from the fossilised remains of creatures that lived in the shallow seas 350 million years ago. Over time, the movement of ice and water has created spectacular rock features and caves. During the 1600s, Dovedale become famous through the writings of Izaak Walton and Charles Cotton. In 1743, Thomas Smith of Derby published his Prospects of Dovedale. The books and prints sold well, inspiring artists and scientists to discover the landscape. Dovedale remains an important wildlife habitat and archaeological area, managed by the National Trust. It is now one of the most visited natural tourism sites in Britain.
- Rights: Creative Commons CC BY-NC 4.0 Buxton Museum and Art Gallery (part of Derbyshire County Council)