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Caves and tunnels

 Route type

 walk (circular)


 3 miles

 Number of Stiles

6 or more

 Surface and gradients

 mixed surfaces and some steep gradients

 Parking nearby


 On bus routes

 yes - plan a journey

 Starting point

 Creswell Crags Visitor Centre, off the B6042

 OS map number

 Explorer 270

Creswell Crags is a striking limestone gorge honeycombed with caves. Stone tools and remains of animals found there by archaeologists provide fascinating evidence of life during the last Ice Age between 50,000 and 10,000 years ago. There are cave tours at weekends throughout the year and a Museum and Education centre containing exhibitions, videos and an activity room.


  1. From the start point at Creswell Crags Visitor Centre, follow the signed path downhill to reach the lake, encircled by a good path between the crags. Make your way to the far end of the lake and pass through the gate, turning left to follow a public footpath that climbs uphill. Cross the stone stile and continue to climb, bearing sharp left and climbing steeply as the field opens out. At the top of the rise you should be walking parallel and quite close to the stone wall on your left, soon reaching a stile in an old fence.

  2.  Cross the stile and bear slightly away from the wall, aiming for a stile at the left-hand end of the hedge ahead of you, which soon becomes visible over the brow of the hill. Cross this and walk ahead along a track with trees to your left. Continue in this direction, crossing one field, then following the field-edge path alongside two others (with the hedge on your right). The path then becomes enclosed briefly before you emerge by some cottages on the road in Holbeck. Turn left and cross the road, following a signed public footpath through a gateway and along an avenue of lime trees, soon passing Holbeck Church on your right.

    Holbeck Woodhouse was a Welbeck estate village and as such St Winifred's Church, built in 1913, was erected entirely by labour from the Welbeck Estate, on the instructions of the Duke and Duchess of Portland. It is a shrine to the Portland family, with the windows at the west end having the gracious Duchess depicted as Saint Winifred! The graveyard is immaculate, with tombs of many of the family to be found here. Also note the very impressive mock-Norman gatehouse.

  3. At the far end of the avenue pass through a gate by some houses to reach another quiet road. Turn left and soon the road forks, where our route takes the left fork and soon bears right to emerge on the A60, opposite a wooden shelter. Turn left following the pavement for 3/4 mile, (after 1/2 mile you pass the entrance to the Harley Gallery and Dukeries Garden Centre) until you reach a signposted bridleway by Nursery Lodge. Follow the bridleway through the gates past the lodge house, returning to Creswell Crags Visitor Centre within 1/2 mile.