You should be standing on the Manifold Way, in front of Thor’s Cave. Above you, the cave entrance is visible from its commanding location around 80 metres above the valley floor. The cave is a natural cavern formed from the dissolution of the soluble limestone that makes up the White Peak. The cave is a popular attraction and was served by a station on the Leek Manifold Light Railway between 1904 and 1934. The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery’s Local History collection includes postcards of the cave from 1910 to 1920.
The name of the cave is somewhat of an enigma. Although it evokes links with the Norse god Thor or his Anglo-Saxon equivalent, Thunor, there is no evidence to support this etymology. Nevertheless, the cave was in use in Anglo-Saxon times with Early Medieval artefacts uncovered there. The origin of the name possibly lies in the word ‘tor’ from the Old Welsh word for a high rock or tower (ultimately from the Latin turris).