Blue Lagoon of Buxton

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The Blue Lagoon of Buxton isn’t quite the paradise you might imagine based on the name alone, as the picturesque blue waters here are actually not safe to swim in. Still, it remains a popular tourist attraction just because of how it looks, and some visitors defiantly go swimming anyway despite the clearly posted warnings – not recommended (see reasons below). Still, this attraction has managed to keep an interesting mystique to it, so many tourists still stop by and see it just to take pictures and learn the odd and interesting history of the place. Why not view this oddity when visiting the most popular tourist stop in the Peak District?

Photo by Simon Harrod

Why Can’t You Swim Here?

The reason you can’t swim in the “lagoon” is because the water is extremely alkaline (11.3) to the point of being almost as bad as ammonia (11.5) or bleach (12.6). Thus, if you swim here for even a few minutes you can get bad skin and eye irritations, fungal infections like thrush, other infections, rashes, and stomach problems. There are also a few wrecked cars at the bottom of the quarry along with some rubbish, so that unknown material is also leaching into the alkaline water making it even more unsafe to swim in. In fact, there’s a sign posted at the site that says, “you wouldn’t swim in ammonia, would you?”

The History of the Blue (Black?) Lagoon of Buxton

While it appears to be a beautiful natural spring, it’s actually just the old Harpur Hill quarry that has been flooded with rainwater over the years. The quarry was used to extract limestone from the earth, so there’s a highly concentrated supply of lime there, which is what makes the water so alkaline. In 2013, the local council voted to dye the water black to discourage people from swimming in hopes that the black color would be less inviting than the bright blue waters that have given the site its name. This worked well for a couple years until the water began to turn blue again in 2015. The waters were dyed black again 2016 with a stronger dye that should keep it the “black lagoon” for a few more years.

What Else Is There to Do Nearby?

Now that you know the Blue – now Black — Lagoon of Buxton isn’t all it is hyped up to be, you’re probably wondering what else you could do in the area to make a trip here justifiable? Well, the city of Buxton has managed to put together a few interesting tourist attractions to serve as alternatives to the potentially hazardous flooded quarry that the town has become known for. Check out the Buxton Mystery Trail for starters, then head over to Poole’s Cavern and Country Park. You could also check out the Chestnut Conservation & Wildlife Park and the Speedwell Cavern.

Finding Another Reason to Stop by the Area

If you’re in the mood for more fast-paced adventure, you could travel 17 miles from Harpur Hill to reach the Alton Towers Amusement Park, or the Madrenaline Activity Centre is even closer at about 12 miles away in Macclesfield. Even so, the formerly “Blue Lagoon” is still interesting and a popular stop for tourists interested in what this water-filled quarry looks like after having been dyed black. With so many blue bodies of water around the world, tourists find this sight even more attractive in its uniqueness, and this wasn’t really what the town was looking for! An amazing side-effect of a good idea gone wrong.

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