News and Events

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Buxton’s Woodlands Managed by BCA

Walking through Buxton Country Park

Grin Low (now Buxton Country Park)

Extensive woodland to enjoy including SSSI flower glades, former kiln sites and various routes up to access landmark Solomon’s Temple. For the brave, team-building or just family fun there is Go-Ape tree-top adventure.


Buxton’s oldest woodland and the popular Victorian Swiss Walks. This wood features a level path at the bottom of the wood so access is possible for wheelchairs to this area of the wood. A hillside route up to Corbar Cross and fabulous views over the town. Hosts show of beautiful bluebells in springtime.


Features: stream and stepping stones, pond, ford former brickyard. Adjacent to the Cavendish golf course.


A small wooded area adjacent to the lower end of Harpur Hill Road. Note only the northern part of wood is owned by BCA, the southern portion belongs to DCC. Access to the wood is via: a gate at the bottom of Harpur Hill road, a footpath off Trent Avenue next to Harpur Hill School, or from Fern Way.

The main feature of the Wood is stream, though usually dry in the summer months and a wooden bridge over the stream. There is also a small old quarry on the east side of the wood and a badger sett.

Hogshaw Woods

Small haven in residential area, access from 3 corners.

Shay Lodge Plantation

A tiny wood surrounded by farmland accessible only by footpath either from Burbage or through Plex Farm off Bishop’s Lane.

Ashwood Dale

Deep steep sided limestone tree lined gorge, with a river running through.

Access from the sharp bend on Dukes drive, short path to cliff edge to view of Lovers Leap on the opposite side of the gorge.
View of the A6, river Wye and railway goods line.

Keep away from the cliff edges please.

Flora & Fauna

The flora and fauna of Corbar cannot compete with the rich variety you can find in Grin Low Wood, especially the limestone loving flowers in the glades there: Corbar is no SSSI, but it has its own beauties. In May the bluebells in the far western part of the wood are a sight to behold, and the eroded old quarries below them provide dramatic contours – and challenges to local children to scramble up or slide down. There are some splendid veteran beeches, ancient yews and a few gnarled oaks. If you haven’t explored Corbar Wood yet, do spare a few hours to get to know it: you will find it very rewarding and good for your health. Recent research has shown that regular walking through woodland reduces stress chemicals in the body and increases cells in the immune system that fight viruses and tumours.

Corbar Wood

Look at any 19th century print of the Crescent, such as the fine display in No. 6 Café or those frequently shown in the Art Gallery, and you will see a massively enlarged Corbar Hill in the background covered on its western side with trees. Corbar Wood, 54 acres – just over half the area of Grin Low Wood, is our only semi-natural ancient woodland, possessing some of the signs of very old woodland: a magnificent area of bluebells which grow best in woodland and take centuries to spread; a vestigial and possibly mediaeval boundary ditch to protect the valuable coppiced trees; and the remains of a white coal pit, dug to provide super-dried coppice branches which could create the higher temperatures than charcoal which were needed for smelting lead.

Victorian Period

In the early Victorian period when Buxton was being developed by the 6th Duke of Devonshire as a spa resort for the increasingly prosperous and numerous middle classes, Corbar Wood was developed as a visitor attraction by laying out broad walks, rustic bridges, seats, shelters, and viewpoints, probably supervised by Sir Joseph Paxton, the Duke’s head gardener, engineer and architect. Nothing remains of the pretty rustic bridges and summer houses, and to get the views you have to walk higher up to Corbar Cross, erected by Buxton Catholics in 1950 to mark the Jubilee Year. Considering the popularity of the ‘Swiss Walks’ and the Victorian fascination with the developing art of photography, remarkably few photographs of the Corbar Walks, bridges and arbours survive among the large collection of historic photographs in the Buxton Art Gallery and Museum.

The layout of the Victorian walks survives but over many decades their surfaces have been badly eroded and there is poor natural drainage as the rock beneath is impermeable gritstone. The annual autumnal leaf litter has built up and after rain and snow creates a potentially hazardous quagmire which walkers naturally avoid and so broaden the paths and extend the slippery areas. Over the last few years BCA has made a determined effort, mainly by Mike Monaghan and Alan Walker, and with valuable advice from Phil Beh-Mycock, to rebuild the surfaces of at least the public rights of way (also on the ‘Ring of Trees’ guided walk), applying to local quarries (Tarmac, Lhoist and Omya) for many tons of aggregate and to High Peak Borough Council for grants to employ a skilled professional path builder, Martin Wragg (Oak Tree Landscapes). After a few seasons the surface of the paths blends in with the woodland floor and has certainly made walking through this beautiful wood a much more agreeable experience. Some repaired paths are now even accessible to wheelchair users and buggies. We are very grateful to all who have made these improvements possible and we hope to repair the very slippery paths around the western perimeter and the top when we can solve the logistic problem of getting about 100 tons of stone up quite a steep hill.


Keep everyone happy after your morning or afternoon's activities, replenish hungry bellies with good food, hot and cold refreshments.

Here is a blog post about how good the food is and a family who can recommend a hot chocolate on a winter's morning. A refreshing fresh orange juice in summer after playing in the park and woodlands

Media, Filming and Press

Interested in using BCA land as you location?

We manage stunning ancient woodlands if you want to film or create a photographic image that is historically correct then look no further.

If you require a great location with facilities for your production crew then get in touch. We have land and the facilities you need.

Introducing Our New Business Manager

An interview with Simon Fussell.

Our New Business Manager Simon Fussell

What are your main priorities for our charity?

There are, I think, four key objectives. Firstly to increase awareness about of the Buxton Civic Association and its importance as a guardian of the town heritage and its surrounding woodlands. This raised interest will generate more members - which is my second key objective. Thirdly we must maximise the potential of Poole’s Cavern and the Country Park as major attractions in the town and fourthly look at ways to develop new business opportunities and to generate the revenue required for BCA to fulfil its responsibilities to the town. I would encourage people to see Poole’s Cavern and the Country Park as a whole day out experience, incorporating the existing cave, Go Ape, and Country Park and additional attractions such as Country Craft days with Wild Food foraging, Flint Knapping and Falconry displays.

How else do you aim to put BCA on the local map?

Based on some conversations that I had running the successful stall, with BCA members, at the Spring Fair and the Charity Bazaar many local people are not aware that the Woodlands surrounding Buxton are owned and maintained by the Civic Association for the public. There is a vague assumption that the woods are owned by High Peak Borough Council or some other public body. So there is a need to raise awareness of the Civic Association and the work it has done, continues to do and will need to do in the future.

Some future projects include:

A NEW WEBSITE; We have plans to develop and launch a new website for BCA that will pull together the Civic Association, the Cavern and the Country Park under one consistent brand. The new website will enable members and non-members to have up to date information about their charity. It will be easier for members to comment on and raise issues.


We plan to place a series of panels in the Cafe to explain the work that the Civic Association has done in the past, is doing in the present, and will need to continue to do in the future. Again this is about making people aware that the Buxton Civic Association is behind the cavern and the country park.


This is both to get the schools to use the woods and the cave as part of their curriculum activities but also to raise awareness about the work that the Buxton Civic Association does. Buxton Community School are interested in getting involved. In addition we will have a competition open to all local schools across the school age range to produce a painting or piece of poetry or prose that involves the Country Park in some way. This will, increase awareness of and
raise the profile of the Civic Association and give the opportunity to explain what we do to a wider audience and to attract the interest of the younger generation.

The plan is to announce the competition in the autumn with the judging to take place in the early summer.


We aim to get a survey carried out of the woodland birds. As well as being able to produce a guide book similar to the excellent one on wild flowers that was written by June Noble, it will provide us with a bench mark of species which we
can use to promote a range of educational activities with schools and members of the public. For example the sitting of species specific nest boxes in addition to the ones we already have, could enable us to set up nest cams and show the results on a screen in the cafe, “bringing the woods inside” in effect. Again this provides positive news stories as well as creating additional interest in the woods and the cafe.


Another project is to develop a corporate membership for the Civic Association and to look at ways of gaining corporate sponsorship to help defray some of the enormous costs faced when managing and maintaining woodlands. We would also
welcome the range of additional skills and expertise that companies may have to offer.


…How about an Ambassador for the Civic Association? We have had a number of suggestions but more are welcome, so if you know of anyone famous or wellknown who shares the values of the Civic Association and who might be interested then contact Poole’s Cavern or email: where all ideas and suggestions are extremely welcome.

Another Challenging Year

Freezing Temperatures Frosts and Snow

Poole’s Cavern is doing well despite these difficult times. On the back of the Jubilee and the Olympics when the whole world seemed focused on Britain, the question was this year what could we do to top that. Well we started off with a dreadful spring; remember the cold Easter with the car park under three feet of snow?

But … it’s been a really good year with lots of school visits and high visitor numbers. Caves have been promoted nationally through the Cool Caves hash tag with the English Tourist Board. The idea was to chill out in blistering heat – remember those days?

We now have planning consent for the toilet for the disabled which will include a baby change facility. This new toilet block is for use when the Visitor Centre is closed.

We must send out a huge thank you to all the cavern staff . Five star Recommendations have been scored on Trip Advisor and that’s because we have a great cave and friendly staff .

Download the full BCA newsletter Issue 25 Autumn 2013

Walking with your four legged friend

Why Not Take Your Favourite Four Legged Friend Too?

By Mel Stevens

The woodlands of Buxton offer infinite opportunities for dog-walks to suit everyone.
There are nine woods to choose from with a variety of terrain, paths and environments to explore and enjoy. As the seasons and foliage (and, yes, also the weather) changes the views and experience is forever new so each day’s dog-walk is different. The Ring of Trees is a circular walk through many of the woodlands which surround Buxton. It can be completed as a 10mile (16km) walk, or taken in three shorter sections so you (and your dog, of course) can take your time and explore each of the woods. The route is waymarked with signs.
A booklet with full route directions, suggested inter-links and local information is available at Poole’s Cavern Visitor Centre. If you prefer a more relaxed approach, just choose a wood and take your (or a friend’s) dog to visit it; they are all within easy reach of town and each have their own character for you to discover and enjoy.

Cavern News

Cavern News - Autumn 2013 (Issue 25)

Entrance to the Cavern

Poole’s Cavern Buxton Festival Fringe Events 2013 Hamlet in Poole’s Cavern

Once again we had a very successful visit from the talented Butterfly Theatre who performed in our own underground theatre. The Acapella Vocals added to the eerie darkness and prepared the stage for a ghost to appear! For just over an hour this professional and experienced cast led capacity audiences through the shadowy cave to hear their favourite quotes and share the play’s action packed final scene. Butterfly Theatre thanked the wonderful cavern staff and can’t wait to be back next year.

03.04.2014 Visiting Speakers at Poole’s Cavern

"Poole’s Cavern : A natural laboratory to study past and present environments"

Event details:

Location: Poole’s Cavern Cafe @ The Cavern Postcode: SK17 9DH Date: 3 Apr 2014 Start time: 7:00pm Duration: 2 hours Notes: The Talk will be open to the public Free to members of the BCA.

Prof John Gunn & Prof Ian Fairchild Birmingham University School of Geography and Earth Sciences will be talking about the cave and its past/present hydrology.

Ian will talk specifically about the present climate / drip studies & how they inform us about recent past environments at Poole’s but also make a wider contribution to the use of speleothems in climate change research.

£3 to non members - Join BCA today to gain free entry to this event as well as free parking and entry to Poole's Cavern.