Manifold Valley from Thor's Cave
|Main source||South of Buxton near Axe Edge|
|River mouth||Confluence with the Dove
|Length||12 miles (19 km)|
The Manifold rises just south of Buxton near Axe Edge, at the northern edge of the White Peak, known for its limestone beds. It continues for 12 miles (19 km) before it joins the Dove. For part of its course, it runs underground (except when in spate), from Wetton Mill to Ilam. During this section it is joined by its major tributary, the River Hamps.
- See main article: Manifold Way
The Manifold Way is an 8-mile (13 km) long-distance footpath from Hulme End to Waterhouses, along the former route of the narrow-gauge (2' 6") Leek and Manifold Valley Light Railway which operated between 1904 and 1934. Opened in July 1937 after the LMS handed over the trackbed to Staffordshire County Council, it is tarmacked throughout.
The Manifold Valley Visitor Centre is housed in Hulme End Station, which also has a model of the railway.
Limestone crags and caves
The limestone cliffs that fringe the valley contain several rock-climbing areas, and named rock features, including Thor's Cave (grid reference ) and Beeston Tor (grid reference ), which overlooks the confluence with the River Hamps.
Mining in the Manifold valley
The Manifold valley was famous for the mining of copper and lead, and the mines at Ecton were some of the richest in the country. The discovery of Stone Age implements in some of the caves imply that minerals were mined around the Manifold valley thousands of years ago. Nowadays there is little trace of the industry that made many people (mainly the Duke of Devonshire who at one time owned the Ecton mines) very rich. The main areas of interest are around Ecton where the old spoil banks and the old engine house still remain.
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