The Lost Beasts of Buxton

what beast would you become?

The Lost Beasts of Buxton

make a mask, a hat, a monster

1 – 4pm, Saturday 29th June

Buxton Museum and Art Gallery

 

Make a carnival mask or hat inspired by our very own sabre-tooth cats, cave lions, wild horses and mammoths.

Once upon a time, and not so long ago, there were wolves in the Peak District hills, wild boars in the woods and beavers in the rivers. Once there were wild ponies here, and cave lions, reindeer and bears. There were scimitar-toothed cats and straight-tusked elephants. Before that, long and longer ago, there were strange sharks swimming in ancient limestone seas.

What wonderful animal would you celebrate?

You might make something that lives here now, something that lived here once or even something that really should have lived here (unicorns, maybe?)

 

are you a colourful shark person perhaps?

This event is free, no booking or tickets needed. Children under 7 should bring a grown-up with them and you need to allow 45 minutes to make an animal hat

Venue:

Buxton Museum and Art Gallery

Terrace Rd

Buxton

SK17 6DA

 

Celebrate the ancient animals of the Peaks and join Two Left Hands in the Buxton Carnival Parade on Saturday July 13th. Check the Two Left Hands facebook page for parade details and meeting points: Two Left Hands.

2LH at Buxton Carnival, 2018

This is the first event in our new “A Year In Our Town” project. We are aiming to have at least one event a month that will encourage people to find out more, explore and celebrate Buxton and the High Peak

Look out for the next events!

 

Lost Beasts is a Stone and Water event in partnerhsip with Buxton Museum and Art Gallery and Creeping Toad

 

Rock guitar and apples….

Apple Day

Dove Valley Centre,

14th October 2018

early for apples maybe…

An applyfish, not to be trifled with

Small feet flapping on a tablecloth,

small hands wave with fruity good cheer,

an angel flutters wings

and a strawberry fish and an Appllyfish* swam together through the waters of the Dove….

 

This was a Creeping Toad event for Stone and Water, I do hope no-one was expecting sensible….

 

There was a musician, a musical apple, who couldn’t play but who could hold his guitar and head bang dramatically……

 

We were at Apple Day at the Dove Valley Centre. A celebration of old orchards and new trees, a wonder of cakes and apple juices. Apple Days are almost always lovely events. This one was wet. Very wet and very cheerful with about 80 people over the afternoon coming to taste and test apple cakes, sip apple juice and help crush the apples that arrived in bags and boxes and baskets from trees across the Moorlands and the High Peak.

 

Quietly, there was also a chance to think “owl”, to watch images, to talk about help and listen to their stories, to see what any of us could do to support these beautiful, mysterious ghosts of field, meadow and open moor

 

And I was there to tell stories and lead people astray…so we did

 

There will be some film of our assorted puppets posted shortly

 

the strawberry fish, very rare, very wiggly

Apple Rock Star, one day

 

(* like a jellyfish but freshwater and probably tastier)

 

This event was a combined one with partners including Stone and Water’s Summer Excitements! project and Buxton Museum and Art Gallery’s BM125 project

The next Summer Excitements! activity will be posted on this blog soon

The next BM125 activity will appear on the Creeping Toad and Buxtom Museum pages soon

a sea of grasshopper sound

sinking into a sea of grasshopper sound

National Meadows Day

6th July 2018

National Meadow Day (Saturday 6th July) found the Stone and Water team loitering in the dry but beautiful meadows of the Upper Dove Valley, revelling in the sweep of grass, sudden flutters of butterflies and swallows flickering overhead. In a partnership with with the Dove Valley Centre, South West Peak’s Glorious Grasslands project and Buxton Museum and Art Gallery’s BM125 project, our Summer Excitements! project got off to a hot and flowery start

During the day, there were meadow walks and river dipping, insect drawing and book-building, time to talk and sit and enjoy the atmosphere of an ancient meadow under the wide skies in that peaceful valley.

Our Summer Excitements! project will see events running through the South West Peak area. Other event themes will include old buildings, local wildlife and the value of picnics. Other Excitements! events can be found here

Meadows are part of our agricultural heritage as much as any old farm tools or buildings or ancient farmers. Their use, management, decline and recognition reflect our own awareness of the importance of our agricultural landscapes. You may find old scythes and seed drills in a museum, you may even find a toothless ol’ farmhand, but a meadow needs the earth beneath its roots and the weather that ruffles the grasses. You won’t find a meadow in a museum and they cannot be collected. They can be protected, grown and valued as places where history, culture and wildlife coincide. As well as experiencing the meadow for themselves we invited visitors to think, reflect and record their thoughts about the importance of such places both to themselves as individuals and within the landscape.

Those reflections became lines within a poem growing out of a hot, dusty afternoon among the grass stalks…..

 

 

We sink
Into a field rustling and bustling with life,
Into the froth of grass,
Into a sea of grasshopper sound,
A dream where nothing changes.
The cows sleeping under a willow
Have been resting there for centuries.

trees hold the edge of the meadow

Memories are rooted in these meadows,
In the fleeting lives of butterflies,
In nodding seedheads,
In thistledown drifting on a hot breeze.
Farms, families, paths, tools and stories,
All knitted to the earth as tightly as the turf.
Childhood holidays rooted here too,
New names, first meetings,
Stonechats, curlews, those grasshoppers again.

The rhythm of a scythe echoes across centuries
They walked where we walk,
Those old farmers on a summer day,
The slice and hiss of a blade and
The whetstone that hones the edge,
Finding shade under these same trees,
Cutting the waving grass from the same sward.

Harebell and cranesbill
Selfheal and tormentil,
Scabious and burnet,
The names are an enchantment
A spell for a meadow,
Whispered on a dusty wind
Colour, scent, pollen and promise,

Foxtail, cocksfoot,
Fescue, vernal and bent
The rooted and the free
Meadow brown and large white
Ringlet and tortoiseshell,
Prayers between earth and sky.

Futures are rooted in this rare and ancient place,
Still growing memories
Having fun in the river, catching insects,
A diving beetle!

Knapweed and burnet nod purple heads
Studding the rippling ribbons of colour
Black medick nods, yellow heads in the hot dry grass.
Seeds of the future in a rare and ancient place,
Lose the meadow and the memories wither too,
The cows across the field will sleep only in the present.

 

 

 

 

 

 

SNIPPETS
And here is a set of small pieces that didn’t quite fit into the larger poem

1. Bumblebees embroider the meadow
Knotting threads with flight paths
Charting by pollen, by nectar, colour coding
Scent-coding, the maps of their lives.

2. Yellow rattle whispers,
Dry and sandy,
Small bones in a bag,
A snake’s angry warning.

3. Bony fingers in the tops of the ash trees
Point a warning to the future

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

5. The promise of memories to grow with the hay
The dread of fields empty of hope

 

With many thanks to all our hay meadow artists and poets

and our partners on this rewarding day

Stone and Water thanks South West Peak

and The Bingham Trust for their support

A Bronze Day

Bronze Age Technology

Saturday 4th or Sunday 5th March 2017

Dove Valley Centre, Longnor

Bronze dagger in Buxton Museum

The ability to work bronze changed our world 3,000 years ago. It took an edge and held it, finer and sharper than flint that chipped or chert that cracked. Bronze offered a new blade, a different weight, a certain shining glamour. Working bronze set us on a path that led to iron and eventually, well, us!

Upper Dove Valley - no snow for us we hope!

Upper Dove Valley – no snow for us we hope!

As part of the Collections in the Landscape Project, Buxton Museum has been working with ancient technology specialist James Dilley to review Stone and Bronze Age collections. James has done various public events with the museum but now we are offering an intensive day exploring those Bronze Age technologies. Under James’ expert guidance, participants will work with moulds, a charcoal furnace, bronze and copper and bellows to make their own bronze artefact to take home

  • tools, materials and protective equipment will be provided
  • this is a 1 day workshop repeated on the Sunday
  • participants must be 16 years of age or older
  • £50 per person includes lunch – advanced booking is essential
  • to book: call the museum on 01629 533540 during office hours
  • directions and further details sent nearer the time

Another March event:
Exploring Ancient Landscapes: a walk through time
Saturday 25th March 2017

(this event was published in the blog “Walking through time”)

Have you ever wondered what the grassy lumps in the field are, why the field hedge is where it is or what that old building was used for? Archaeologist and heritage interpreter Bill Bevan will help you identify and understand the clues from our past that survive in the landscape. The Hope Valley between Castleton and Hope is an excellent place to find these remains of the past. the day will begin by looking at historic maps before walking and talking in the landscape itself on a circular walk between the two villages.

Please note, the Museum is closed for redevelopment until May 2017

Dove Valley Centre

Dove Valley Centre

The end of the bones

Bone Detectives

for British Science Week

12th – 20th March 2016

Orbit-2

There were bones, and teeth, there were skulls and even the fragmented paw of a cave lion. And there was time to look, to handle , turn over, touch, test a fingertip against a crocodile’s tooth.

the buffalo skull was very popular

the buffalo skull was very popular

Time to talk, wonder, ask and ask again and say, “No!” and “What’s a hyrax?” and

“This is a porpoise?”

“Where is the elephant’s trunk?”

“Can I pick this up? Oh. Can I pick that up? Good”

 

There were beautiful replica skulls for the slightly squeamish and gloves for the bolder – or for anyone who just wanted to look sort-of-scientific like they were on some police procedural drama

Skulls- long

For British Science Week, in a collaboration between Stone and Water, Buxton Museum’s Collections in the Landscape project and Creeping Toad, we ran a series of “Bone Detectives” workshops. These set out to introduce people to some basic skull features to look for and understand the clues they can give us about the original animal. The thought was that this would encourage people to look – to really open their eyes when they are out or maybe even to set off and do the hopeful walk they wouldn’t have done before

 

Skulls, skeletons or bits often turn up on walks over the moors of the Peak District, or perhaps are found by someone strolling in a casually acquisitive manner along a beach. We were looking for the questions (and their answers) that would set some inspired investigation in motion. We concentrated mostly on British mammal skulls – given time and the scope of vertebrate anatomy we had to draw some lines somewhere. But there were extension opportunities and as confidence grew, participants could move onto British bird skulls, a few exotic extras – a crocodile, assorted horns, replica hyrax, lynx and wallaby and a wide selection of shells including a spread of annoying cone shells (this one? That one? No, the other one? Why would you call something a geographical cone, for goodness sake”. There was even a d-i-y snake spine

Low BD 302

The workshops were a delight: from keenly questioning WATCH members to the surprise of casual visitors, workshops invite participation and challenged preconceptions. “But it’s so small! “ (same comment applied to rabbit, rat and squirrel skulls). People brought their own puzzles with them: beautfully delicate mouse and hedgehog skulls, a mysterious jaw bone (probably sheep), the museum added some mind-boggling teeth: woolly rhino and hyena.

 

The very bold in the museum went off to find the cave bear skull

Low Cave bear 2

We were pleased: these were sessions that maybe didn’t get quite the quiet, dedicated concentration we had imagined but they were sessions that got people handling material, talking, asking questions, feeling more confident.

 

Sources:

Just to be clear, the skulls and shells we sued were all found materials or were already in established collections. Nothing was killed for the sake of this project

 

Reproduction skulls came from a wonderful online shop: CrimsonRichDesire

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Bone Detectives, 1

Bone Detectives 1

The secrets of the skulls

Buxton Museum and Art gallery, 12th March 2016

Low-BD1

There were skulls, and some more skulls, and a Victorian Engineer’s cabinet of little bits of things and a decoupage box of seashells and then a box of mystery skulls….There was laughter and drawing and attempts to have big sisters/little brothers eaten…and there is more to come

a shell that went round and round, and the drawing that did the same

a shell that went round and round, and the drawing that did the same

see the foot of the page...

see the foot of the page…

the buffalo skull was very popular

the buffalo skull was very popular

Wednesday 16th March: Bone Detectives, 2:at Buxton Museum and Art Gallery, Terrace Rd, Buxton, SK17 6DA, Tel: 01629 533540. 1 session: 10am – 1pm

This is a free session with activities and delivery aimed more at adults or young people of secondary school age

Again, this workshop is free and visitors are welcome to drop in. We recommend allowing an hour to work through activities but you are welcome to come for longer and spend more time handling, drawing and talking about the bones, skulls and shells we will have on display

Visitors are welcome to bring their own clean mystery finds with them – with no guarantee that we’ll be able to solve the mystery but have confidence that we will be enthusiastic about them!

Our wonderful friends in the community group Stone and Water have achieved a grant from BSW towards the community participation in these events and to cover the costs of a similar session with a youth group. In fact, we’ve got 2 – so a local WATCH group is going to be going all skeletal and what will happen to Taxal Scouts, I almost dread to think.

deeply involved

deeply involved

These events are supported by British Science Week and are also part of Buxton Museum’s Collections in the Landscape project

That drawing: australopithecus skulls, sheep skull, the bear in the corner of the gallery, some scared people…and a landrover…you can sort the story out yourself!

skulls, packed, a mug of tea and a stray chamaeleon bone...

skulls, packed, a mug of tea and a stray chamaeleon bone…

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Bone detectives!

BONE DETECTIVES

Discovering the secrets of the skulls

Orbit-2 copy

We are very excited to announce some delightfully bony workshops happening in March. As part of British Science Week, we are working with Buxton Museum and Art Gallery and Creeping Toad to offer a series of events and workshops exploring skulls. Stone and Water was awarded a BSW grant to support these workshops.

BSW2016RGBMID_BBLUEHere are the clues that will help you identify the mysterious skull you found on the beach or the bones on the moor, or perhaps here is simply the skills to exercise a fascination with ancient remains, old bones and hidden histories. We will guide visitors through the wonders of animal teeth, and horn cores, the marvels of eye sockets and tympanic bullae. We’ll even introduce you to scroll bones and senses of smells

“There are so many bones in so many animals,” said Gordon from Creeping Toad, “that we had to focus on something. So we are starting with skulls, especially mammal skulls. We’d like to invite people to look more closely at the skulls of Peak District mammals ( I suspect some birds might sneak in as well, and possibly a selection of sea shells…) and understanding the signs to look for and the questions to ask that will help you find out what the animal is and something about its life”

For the Museum, this is part of the Collections in the Landscape project, aiming to both remind people about the museum and its collections but also to get people out there in the Peaks, looking, thinking and wondering about the history of the places we visit. There will be skulls to handle (we’ll supply gloves if you’d rather) and quality replicas if you really don’t want to touch the actual bone (it will all be clean!), other bones to look at, some shells for a bit of the exotic. We’ll hold and think, question, count and scribble. There will be useful guide sheets to take away and drawings to do to build up your own forensic notes. And we’ll do a mystery quiz at the end….

 

Events

Public event: Saturday  12th March 2016, Buxton Museum and Art Gallery : free public sessions: no booking needed just drop by and join in but give yourself 45 minutes for a good skeletal experience. Sessions 10 – 12 and 1 – 3

Youth group: we have one free workshop on offer for a group of young people in or around Buxton in the week of 12 – 20th March. Activity best suited for 8 – 12 year olds

A workshop introducing young people to exciting natural history forensics. If you are interested, please contact us at stoneandwater@btinternet.com

Venue and time: to suit you

Older group workshop: we will also be running a workshop with a limited number of places during the week. Date and time to follow. This will be a more formal session than the Saturday events, aimed at  young people and adults. Details to follow

Skulls 714 copy

Peak District creatures? or not?