Thor’s Cave has been formed over thousands of years by the effects of water and wind. The name may be a corruption of tors (meaning hills), and some people think it comes from Thor, the Norse god of thunder.
The rocks are limestone, formed from layers of dead marine animals between 280 360 million years ago. During this time, stands was south of the equator warm, shallow sea. the area where Thor’s Cave now and was submerged under a The hillside would have been a reef, similar to those found in tropical seas.
Many of the caves in this area have been used by humans and animals for shelter. Bones of Giant Red Deer and Bears have been found in the area, and Thor’s Cave itself was the site of a Bronze Age Burial. Some artefacts are on display in nearby museums.
The pathway which runs through the Manifold Valley is actually the route of the Leek & Manifold Light Railway. There was a station at Thor’s Cave, which was popular for tourists. Local people used the railway to send produce to market further afield. Today the area is popular with Walkers and cyclists
The area around Thor’s Cave is a special place for plants and animals. The woodlands have been a local source of coppiced Hazel. This woodland management allows sunlight to reach the woodland floor, which, in turn, means that wildflowers can grow. Rare butterflies such as Northern Brown Argus (top) and Dark Green Fritillaries find a home here.