Reynard’s Cave is located high up on the eastern bank of the gorge of Dovedale in the Peak District. The gorge is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and is owned by the National Trust. A natural arch frames the entrance to the cave, which is said to be named after a local brigand who used it as a refuge. To the left is a smaller cave known as Reynard’s Kitchen. As is typical of many such caves in this region, both are fairly shallow in depth.
The caves were formed by the erosion of limestone and have a long history, having been used as shelter by hunters from around 13,000 BCE. The larger was also used for tombs in the Neolithic era. Further evidence of Bronze Age activities and the artefacts found there are on show at Buxton Museum and Art Gallery; and in 2014, a hoard of Late Iron Age and Roman coins was found in the Kitchen Cave, the first time such a collection from these two separate civilisations has been found together; and buried within a cave. The Roman coins predate the Roman invasion of Britain and are thought to have belonged to a member of the Corieltauvi tribe, although this area was not part of their usual territory.
The caves can be reached from the path alongside the river, but the route to openings becomes very steep: wear appropriate footwear and take care when ascending. There is an appealing view of Dovedale when the cave mouth is reached.