Summer stories at Carsington Water
A Derwent Stories event
shape your own stories
With all our DS events, we are following up the actual event with reports like this – with notes about where we went – so you could go again yourself – and what we did – so you could do it yourself!
Follow the Derwent Stories links to see where else we have been and where else we are going to be!
The water was low, mud and gravel spreading round the edge of the lake. There were brambles in the bushes and young rabbits on the lawns. And in a clearing in a thicket, we uncurled stories. I spoke about giants and trolls, marshmallows and foxes while I heard about Minecraft monsters, and dinosaurs and the adventures of children on scooters. Much better for adventures, it would seem, than bicycles, although none of us could quite work out why….and there were rabbits and more rabbits, rabbits raiding picnics, rabbits on scooters, rabbits escaping in pirate ships across the Water
Where is it: just north of Ashbourne in Derbyshire: address: Big Lane, Ashbourne, DE6 1ST. Follow this link for more information
Costs: entry is free, car parking charges apply
Facilities: toilets, café, visitor centre
Access: an extensive network of paved paths: easy access for wheel- and push-chairs
Things to do: bird-watching hides, play ground, just now with the water level low, visitors are making patterns out of the stones that line the floor of the lake and clearly having a great time. It has to be pointed out, however, that there are also warning signs about soft, deep mud on the shores. This is a good site for a quiet visit (it can get very busy). If you are quiet and careful, as well as the birds, there are rabbits to watch, butterflies in summer, frogs in the long wet grass and lots of wildlife generally
Organised events: Derbyshire Wildlife Trust have a base here and do a range of activities – The Wildlife Discovery Room
Overall: bring a picnic and have a good day of wildlife watching and exploring
What other people think: tripadvisor reports here
What we did: we were telling stories and making up stories…so here is a suggestion for how you might structure your own stories as you wander
Building instant stories
You will need:
- Maybe a piece of card and a pencil to write on
- or record ideas on a phone
- or tie finds onto a string
- …or just wander and talk
Just use the moment
1. i) Instant atmosphere
As you walk, find two adjectives to describe the weather at this time of day, add a phrase to tell us more about the moment, add your character:
One bright, sunny morning when the wind was blowing the golden leaves off the trees, a girl walked down the rough path between the pools….
ii) Stop, listen, touch, smell, look, feel
– write (or speak) phrases that capture the moment – don’t do just a list (birds, sun, cars), write phrases: birds are singing in the trees, the sun is warm on my face, cars are rumbling by just out of sight…these might become a poem, a speech or maybe an opening paragraph
2. Pick up a random object
Try one-sentence stories: tell us something (sensible? scientific?) about the object – describe it eg “This is a yellow and brown leaf that has been growing on this tree all summer and has now died and fallen off” and then make up something strange or special about it (And if you can add some evidence that helps): “This leaf has been used by mice as an umbrella and you can see here where they’ve been very hungry and nibbled a hole in it so the rain got them after all”
3. Try two or more objects
as you walk, pick up something every few steps and see if you can join these things together. Treat them as clues to an adventure…”this is moss from the beard of a forest giant…and here is the twig a squirrel used to tickle him….and here is the stone that tripped him up when he was laughing…..will we see the giant when we turn the corner?” Ending with a question allows us to guess what might come next
4. Keep going: three clues will give you a story
Expanding on the earlier activities, you could just pick things up as you go
- The first thing: is a clue to who is going to be the hero of your story ..this moss is really the beard of a small but ancient man who…
- The second thing: tells us a bit more about the hero: …who lived in a house with a brown leaf door..
- The third thing: tells us what is going wrong: …but today, an avalanche of beech nuts came rolling through the forest…
- ….now keep going: can you find more things that will help the hero solve the problem – remember in stories the first thing you try almost never succeeds. You can have great fund with the things that went wrong….
- …but the mud was too sticky
- …but the badger poo was so smelly that…
- …but the magpie took one look at it all and flew away laughing….
Sit down and share your stories…..