a book of bees?

Build your own book

a Derwent Stories activity

On our Bumbles, butterflies and picnics day with Derwent Stories, we made Bumble Books and drew in these the insects and flowers we were finding.   These are concertina books which essentially fit one long folded strip of paper into a cover. Once you are used to doing these, you could experiment – stick books together by the cover to make thicker volumes, have sections that fold out in different directions….

You will need:

  • 1 piece of thin cardboard (about 15cm x 10.5cm)
  • scissors
  • glue or a gluestick
  • paper for the bookblock (see below)
  • pencils, wax crayons, coloured pencils, scrap paper…

we made bumble, butterfly, bug and beetle books

Make your bookblock: this is the set of pages that make the body of the book. You might use a long strip of paper (A2 (flipchart sized) cut into quarters lengthwise works well) or take a sheet of A4 (standard printer size) and cut or tear it in half lengthways. Overlap the ends by about 1cm and stick them together. We have a prepared sheet (“Bumble book”) that should print out on A4 paper with pictures of bees and butterflies and a couple of boxes to help you make this first book. Fold it in half, lengthwways, overlap the ends and glue…..

Bumble book


Write a poem for a page?

Falling sky splinters
Into scabious and cornflower blue,
While tormentil nestles in the grass,
Droplets of sunshine on the green


Concertina: fold your strip of paper in half and then in half again. Unfold it: this should give you 8 sections of about the same size. Use those folds as guides to now fold the paper into a zig-zag pattern

card cover and tearing paper for a bookblock


Try an acrostic perhaps? 

M – many harvest mice hiding

I  – in the long grass, swaying,

C – curl up in careful nests

E – every night in safety.


strip folded 3 times










strip folded again to make a concertina







Now you are ready to make your book! It is easier to work on the book before you fit it into the cover. Work on one side of your paper. On your pages you might:

  • pop-ups?


  • draw
  • add a patch of scrap paper and draw on that
  • make a pocket
  • do a rubbing
  • print
  • add a map
  • make a pop-up
  • think of something else….


add a map?


When it is done decide if you are having

  1. a) a book that unfolds completely – stick one end page into the cover. You could now work on the back side of your pages (Picture 9: stick one end of the finished block into the cover)”


  1. b) a book that is fixed at both ends. If you are going for this, you might need to refold your concertina so it looks like picture 10 (Both ends ready to glue in)


Cover: fold the card in half. Decorate the cover. Glue in the book block….Title? Author?

ready for a cover






Please, send us a picture of your finished book! stoneandwater@btinternet.com

how will you decorate your books?




A day for picnics

a Day for Picnics

Light through oak leaves

a Derwent Stories event

Darley Park

6th August


Where did we go, 2

After our Derwent Stories events, we are posting blogs  a) where did we go – so you could go there yourself, maybe, and b) the activity we did there – so you could do that yourself, either in the same venue or somewhere else

This is the “place” report for  our Bumbles, Butterflies and Picnics day. You could look at our Fossil Day reports here (National Stone Centre) and here (make your own ancient rockpool)


At Darley Park, we had a day of sunshine and sprawling comfortably on the grass, taking time to make and draw and talk: a relaxed and cheerful sort of day. We were making our own Bumble and butterfly books – do it yourself instructions can be found here


But for now….

butterflies still on the nettles?

Where did we go: Darley Park, Derby. This is a large park with lots of beautiful old trees, wide meadows and gentle hills for rolling down. There are good paths and lots of different areas to explore

Getting there: buses stop on the edge of the park and there are car parks round the edges. This link will take you a sit for directions and bus numbers. We used the free car parks at Darley St, DE22 1 DX, and at the end of Darley Park Drive

Access: there are wide, even paths across the path so wheel- or push- chairs can get around easily. Some of the hills, while not very steep can feel quite loooong so do your exercises first


finger bumbles…

Facilities: there are toilets and an excellent café towards the northern end of the park (about 5 minutes from the car parks above)

Wildlife: there are lots of beautiful trees, some patches of woodland, a wildflower meadow and a lovely butterfly garden near the cafe

Busy-ness: yes, this is a large park near the centre of Derby so it does get busy. But it is so large that it is easy to find your own spaces and feel comfortable there. The café and toilets area can feel a bit crowded at times

we made bumble, butterfly, bug and beetle books






What did other people think? Tripadvisor report on Darley Park


Make your own ancient rockpool

Inspired by fossils

Make your own ancient rockpool

what might you find…

A Derwent Stories activity

What might you have found if you had strolled along the beach of an ancient sea a few hudnred million years ago….

beachcombing might have revealed all sorts of finds…

We have used this easy technique many times. We designed it for public events where we would have to make a lot of rockpools with visitors in a short space of time but it is very versatile and you could adapt to suit your situation. While this was set up as a prehistoric event you could of course make a modern rockpool, or perhaps a pond!

We used this activity on our Derwent Stories event at the National Stone Centre

This activity guide uses the materials we used with notes about why we chose this or that

You will need

  • a dish – we used waxed card pie dishes (buy in packs from discount stores and supermarkets). Most of our dishes were white but the occasional black ones that we found worked well, too!
  • acrylic paint – to paint on the waxed card – we use large bottles but you could get some small tubes, or try mixing some poster or redimix paint with PVA glue and see if that works
  • paint brushes or sponges
  • Plastic plate to squirt the paint onto (easy to clean)
  • small pieces of this card
  • coloured pens or pencils
  • sharp scissors
  • a small stapler (the smaller the better)
  • PVA glue
  • scraps of stuff: sponge, wool, carrier bag, felt, glitter, sand…..

materials and a sheet of paper to work on


Thinking about fossils

Our aim was to make a rockpool that you might have found if you could have gone walking along a Carboniferous seashore 300 million years ago. You might want to find pictures of some of the animals of the time to help you. Or maybe you have some fossils to look at? Or some plastic ancient sea creatures? Could you visit your local museum and do some drawings…Perhaps if you printed out this page and waved it at them, they would set up an event for all you ancient rockpoolers?

starting to paint

Prepare the pool

Cover your work surface with a sheet of paper – acrylic paint can be hard to clean off. Cover yourself as well if you are a messy worker. You might want an old shirt rather than another sheet of paper

Select your rockpool colours: blue, green turquoise and raw ochre are often good. Smear them round the inside of your pool (paintbrush or painting sponge). You do not need to be too precise here. It is  background and more a sense of sand, rock and water that is needed rather than detailed painting

Set to one side to dry

a pool set aside to dry


Prepare the wildlife

Ok. Now it’s up to you……

our rockpool animals

In this pool we have:

  • drawings of a trilobite and an ammonite (should we have coloured these in?)
  • drawing of a horseshoe crab that has been cut, folded and stapled to give it a more 3-D effect
  • drawing of a coral
  • fragments of one of my painting sponges have given us some rock
  • green wool and a shredded green carrier bag have give us some seaweed
  • Fingertip coral: made by wrapping plastercloth round a finger…

Fitting the wildlife

You could glue everything straight onto the dish, or make little brackets to lift things up off the floor and wall a little


Brackets might be small bits of foam or thin strips of card either folded or zig-zagged into a spring

brackets and supports

Carefully glue them in place.  A matchstick can be helpful in applying glue


Let it all dry, sit back and admire. Then go and tell someone about the day you found a trilobite…..or take and print a photo and send it as a postcard to someone else?

a finished rockpool



Or send us that photo and we’ll have a gallery of rockpools!






a pool made in an (old) mixing bowl



Derwent Stories

Derwent Stories

seasons, stories and art outdoors


what will you find?

Over the summer and autumn of 2018, Stone and Water are running a series of creative outdoor events structured to support families with children with additional needs. With funding from Derwentwise and Foundation Derbyshire, and advice and support from Umbrella, events are happening along the Lower Derwent Valley.


Activities are planned to encourage people to come out and enjoy the local environment in simple, cheerful ways that families could repeat for themselves. So we look at the places where families might go, wildlife they might meet and activities they could do. Activities are planned to use everyday resources and to be simple to plan and deliver – the sorts of things you could rummage out of a cupboard, stuff into a bag and have fun with


In planning for additional needs, we are trying to find readily accessible sites – wheel- and push- chair friendly (not all of them will work but the majority ). Events are very relaxed in timetable: there is structure here, a shape for us to work around but that shape will respond to our visitors so if you need to just stop for a bit, we can, or if you need to go and shout a bit on your own we will plan for spaces where that can happen. And if you decide you are feeling grumpy and fed up, then none of us will judge you for it or hold it against you….

So, we are off adventuring and after each events we post blogs

  • Where have we been and
  • What did we do – so you could go to the same place or take the same activities somewhere else
  • Today, we are catching up with these posts – as they complete, we will post links here


fingers full of coelacanths


July: National Stone Centre with some fossil moments


August: Darley Park: a day of bumblebees, butterflies and picnics

The next events:

  • Wednesday 29th August at Carsington Water – a day of storytelling and storymaking using natural materials – session through the day
  • Sunday 16th September: Altitude Festival, Wirksworth: making puppets inspired by rocks and fossils
  • Saturday 22nd September: autumn art and stories in Lea Woods (meet at High Peak Junction car park)
  • Friday 2nd November: Mills, canals and creatures: a day of big drawings at Cromford Mills as part of the Discovery days programme


All these events are free (some places there might be a charge for car parking). Materials are provided and no bookings Is needed. Check on each day for timing of activities


Details of events will post here and on our facebook page: Stone and Water

ready for action…


  • Wednesday 29th August Summer Stories at Carsington Water – a day of storytelling and storymaking using natural materials – session through the day

Field, flowers, fruit and picnics

Fields, flowers and fruit

A day of art and picnics

Dove Valley Centre, Staffordshire

Tuesday 4th September


Join the Stone and Water team at the Dove Valley Centre for a relaxed session making the most of late summer sunshine (we hope!)

early for apples maybe…

At this beautiful setting in the Upper Dove Valley, there will be time to walk if you want to, and wander if you will, to look at flowers, hope for butterflies, watch the ravens wheeling overhead, examine the apples ripening in the orchard and draw, write, scribble, print or sew the things you have discovered.


There will be artists to help but this will be a relaxed day without lots of formal teaching. Bring a picnic and spend a day on the farm.


butterflies still on the nettles?

Where: Dove Valley Centre, Under Whitle, Sheen, nr Longnor, SK17 0PR

When: Tuesday 4th September

Times: 11am – 3pm

What to bring: your own picnic, a raincoat (just in case – there is indoor space as well!), a smile

What we’ll provide: art resources and helpful artists, friendly people to talk to, warm spaces, refreshments and a wonderful location!

Finding DVC: the centre is signposted on the road between Sheen and Longnor/ Postcode: SK17 0PR


Parking: the track down the hill is steep but drive down to dale floor (past the farm and keep going)

Or park just inside the gate off the Sheen road and have a gentle stroll down to join us!

Cost: the event is free and no booking is needed – but it would help us a lot if we know you are coming!


Contact: if you have any questions, contact Gordon at stoneandwater@btinternet.com


turn discoveries into artwork

Summer stories at Carsington

Summer stories

Tales of wild creatures and adventurous children!

hero, clay monster and useful twigs

Wednesday 29th August 2018

Carsington Water, Derbyshire


There are adventures everywhere and stories waiting to be told, tales waiting to be heard. In the wind whispering through the leaves, in the shadows under the bench, in the sudden splash of something in a pond.


Join artist and storyteller Gordon MacLellan for tales of brave hedgehogs and naughty rabbits, fierce mice and reckless beetles. We will tell a tale or two and then create our own, making brand new stories for ourselves out of leaves and weather and whatever we find


There will be short sessions through the day, so come along and join in, listen, laugh and create your own tales of excitement, adventure or maybe terror


a story collected on a plate

When: Wednesday 29th August

Where: Carsington Water, Ashbourne: DE6 1ST

Times: there will be sessions running 10am – 12noon, 1pm – 3pm: any one session of stories and making things up lasting about 45 minutes – but feel free to drop in and drop out as you will!

The activity is free but there is a fee for car parking

Materials provided

Meeting point: outdoor classroom area

Booking: none needed


Like all the Derwent Stories events,  Summer Stories is open to anyone but is planned for and structured around families including children with additional needs

The Derwent Stories project is put together with help from Umbrella, Derwentwise and Derby Parks. Stone and Water is happy to acknowledge grant aid from Foundation Derbyshire  and Derwentwise


Contact for more info:

Facebook: Stone and Water

Email: stoneandwater@btinternet.com

a drum a rug and a kettle: a recipe for adventures

small creatures event

Wild Beasts and Fabulous Flowers

we are hoping for bumblebees

21st August, 10 – 15.00

In the grounds of

St Bartholomews School, Longnor, SK17 0NZ


What wildlife lives in the fields and gardens of Longnor? With wildlife walks and a bit of rummaging, we’ll bug-hunt and butterfly count and hope for beautiful bumblebees

From bees, flowers, butterflies and wildlife: investigations will lead onto drawing and making until visitors can make a whole hand full of tiny creatures to take home

will there be rabbits?

  • Free
  • Materials provided
  • Children 7 years old or less need to bring a grown-up with them
  • No booking needed, just drop by and join in for an hour or so
  • More information: stoneandwater@btinternet.com
  • Or find us on fb: Stone and Water

Emergency excitement event! We have a day available for a community or community group in the South West Peak area for sometime in August or September: we will bring activities if you can offer a space and an opportunity open to anyone. Talk to Gordon or Sarah at our email address or at an event


will there be toads?

Working with support from the South West Peak Landscape Partnership and the Bingham Trust, Stone and Water is running this series of free family activities in the South West Peak and Buxton area through the second half of 2018.

We have 8 days of activity planned. Some places are stand-alone events. At others, we’ll invite participants to also propose ideas for a future winter event – maybe we should make lanterns of the houses in your village, maybe have a cosy storytelling session, maybe we should make kites of local birds…


there may well be mice on people’s fingers!

Next event: probably in Corbar Woods in Buxton – soon!