Thor's Cave (also known as Thor's House Cavern and Thyrsis's Cave) is a natural cavern located at SK09865496 in the Manifold Valley of the White Peak in Staffordshire, England. It is classified as a Karst cave. Located in a steep limestone crag, the cave entrance, a symmetrical arch 7.5 metres wide and 10 metres high, is prominently visible from the valley bottom, around 80 metres (260 feet) below. Reached by an easy stepped path from the Manifold Way, the cave is a popular tourist spot, with views over the Manifold Valley. The second entrance is known as the "West Window", below which is a second cave, Thor's Fissure Cavern.
Thor's Cave from the Manifold Way
|Location||Manifold Valley, Staffordshire|
|Length||150 feet (46 m)|
|Elevation||870 feet (265 m)|
The origin of the name is uncertain, possibly from the word "tor". Links with the Norse god Thor and the Germanic paganism of the early Anglo-Saxons in general have been suggested, but evidence is lacking. Other hypotheses have included lost ancient dialectal terms, and obscure English saints.
Excavations in 1864–65 and 1927–35 found human and animal remains, stone tools, pottery, amber beads, and bronze items within Thor's Cave and the adjacent Thor's Fissure Cavern. The caves are estimated to have contained the burial sites of at least seven people. The finds suggest the cavern was occupied from the end of the Palaeolithic period, with more intensive use during the iron age and Roman periods.
Thor's Cave has been used by rock climbers since explorations in the early 1950s by Joe Brown and others. Eleven limestone routes are listed by the BMC, ranging in grade from Very Severe to E7, and several more have been claimed since guidebook publication; a few routes are bolted.
- Grade I: Easy caves. No pitches or other difficulties.
- Barker, Iain; Beck, John S (2010). Caves of the Peak District (7th ed.). Derbyshire Caving Association. ISBN 978-0-9563473-2-9.
- Chamberlain, Andrew T; Williams, Jim P (June 2001). A Gazetteer of English Caves, Fissures, and Rock Shelters Containing Human Remains. CAPRA (Cave archaeology and palaeontology research archive). Dept. of Archaeology and Prehistory, University of Sheffield. Archived from the original on 27 December 2012. Retrieved 6 April 2016.
- Browell, M (1987). Peak Limestone – South. British Mountaineering Council. ISBN 0-903908-26-3.
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