Pardon the expression, but we’re just about to enter the Devil’s Arse. No doubt had Queen Victoria heard this when she visited this show cave she would definitely not have been amused. So, just for her, its name was changed to Peak Cavern.

My 12-year-old daughter, Sophie, is desperate to know why it’s got such a rude name.

When she’s told that it’s because of the flatulent sounds the water flow makes as it echoes around the cave she’s dumbfounded.

Peak Cavern’s gaping entrance is enough to slacken anyone’s jaw. We’re standing in the largest cave mouth in Britain, 60ft high (18.3m) and 100ft wide (31m). I feel as if I’ve been miniaturised. A few moments later and I wish I had been as we delve deeper into the Devil’s Arse via the quite-rightly named Lumbago Walk.

Our trip to Buxton and Castleton to visit the subterranean network of caverns and mines has been one proverbial sharp intake of breath after another.

The first was dropping down to the Hope Valley, where Castleton lies, via the steep limestone gorge of Winnat’s Pass.

The approach through Castleton to the entrance to the Devil’s Arse brought us past old miners’ cottages with roses around their doors and shops selling the Blue John mineral for which the area is famed. The picture-postcard scene darkened suddenly as we entered a huge limestone ravine, with 280ft (85m) cliffs and the ruins of Peveril Castle above us.

The Devil’s Arse is one of Castleton’s four caverns and mines. Titan, Britain’s biggest known cave – twice the size of St Paul’s cathedral – is also here, but only experienced cavers can go in to it. There are said to be dozens, if not hundreds, more caves waiting to be discovered.

We enter the Great Cave; it’s about 197ft (60m) high and there’s plenty of echoing calls because of wonderful acoustics. We’re told there’s an opening in its roof which surfaces near Peveril Castle on the hillside above. That sparks much persistence from Sophie about going to find it. Thankfully she gets distracted by a water cascade and ‘The Devil's Staircase’ and unusual flowstone and stalactite formations. One of the most impressive moments comes when we look back at the ‘Five Arches’, beautifully lit and perfectly shaped.

Looming over the other side of the valley is Mam Tor. It’s also known as the Shivering Mountain and it’s easy to see why. A landslip creeps down its side and across the road below. The road’s as buckled as if it belongs in an earthquake zone, having collapsed in the 1970s. Alongside it is the Blue John Cavern, where a long series of steps leads to a series of caverns, including the impressive Crystallised Chamber.

It’s another (undamaged) part of this old road that also takes us to Treak Cliff Cavern. This hillside is the only place in the world where Blue John – the prized, colour-banded form of fluorspar – is mined. Zig-zagging up the hillside to the entrance is so gusty that I have to hold tightly on to Sophie. She can’t wait to get inside. We’ve told her that she’s going to visit Fairyland.

Here we’re on the trail of the last semi-precious stone mined in England, but Sophie’s fascinated by 330 million-year-old crinoid fossils in the limestone.

There are just two Blue John veins left out of 14. Now it’s only mined for a month or so each January.

The biggest bit of Blue John ever found, called The Pillar, appears. It’s a mighty 16 tonnes and worth around £1.2m. It’s not going anywhere. It’s holding up the roof.

For further information visit