Mills, canals and creatures: holiday drawing event

Mills, canals and creatures

Friday 2nd November

Cromford Wharf, Mill Lane, Cromford, DE4 3RQ

Sessions: 10.30 – 12.30 and 1.30 – 3.30

Meet: classroom at Cromford Wharf (opposite the Wharf Café)

the canal inspires…


a bird on the water

Using old pictures, local wildlife and our own ideas, we’ll design giant mill machines and autumn landscapes on long rolls of paper – help us create a 20metre monster of a machine!


Draw, design, sketch and scribble a mill as long as a monster, a canal full of creatures, a world of wonders and delights: join our team for a day of giant pictures and miniature moments


well-scribbled trees

As autumn edges towards winter, let’s try to catch the sharp edges of buildings, the wrinkles on the canal, the worn steps and wooden lintels of the mill buildings. Watch the canal and add The Portrait of a Duck. Or dream about the mill’s complicated machinery and fit some strange contraption of wheels and cogs and levers and lines somewhere….


and stories unfold with our drawing

Last time we did an event like this at the Mill, the finished picture spread along about 4 tables or lay out on the grass like a beached whale! A day of relaxed drawing – drop in for a scribble or two, draw us something for our piece and – or – do your own drawing to take away!


Like all the Derwent Stories events, Mills, canals and creatures is open to anyone who wants to join in but activities are structured around families with children with additional needs


This is part of the Derwent Mills Discovery Days programme with events running through October. Follow the link to find out more

buildings at the wharf


Rockpools and trilobites

After rocks, fossils and wriggly creatures

our day at the National Stone Centre

we don’t know if there were hammerheads all those years ago…but there could have been!

completing a crinoid

Fossils to hold, investigate and draw, a sheet to fill in, or new sheets of paper for your own drawings. There were plastic models of what the organisms who we meet as fossils might have looked like “why is this shark pink?”, “this one’s got lots of legs”,  “Someone thought it might be…”, “Is there a better colour for a prehistoric shark, do you think?”, “Hmmmm….”

Our fossils collections were mostly of Carboniferous Limestone animals: the sorts of  creature who might have been swimming in the sea 290 million years ago that eventually gave us the limestone of the White Peak. No, we had no dinosaurs. We had no giant sea-reptiles or winged pterosaurs. But we did have goniatites and crinoids and the last of the trilobites. There were giant fish in our seas swimming over the coral reefs that would one day raise the spiky peaks of Chrome and Park House Hills

We made prehistoric ecologies on our fingers ( see idea below)

We even made some prehistoric rock pools for a walk along an ancient shore…..

Our next Derwent Stories event will be Butterflies, bumbles and picnics  on Monday 6th August in Darley Park in Derby


stroll along an ancient beach, look in an ancient rockpool


On our fossils day…..

Where did we go:

The National Stone Centre just outside Wirksworth. Postcode: DE4 4LS

Tripadvisor: what do other people think?

taking time with a coelacanth

What did we do:

there are walks round the site where you can see fossils in beds of rock and the bigger patterns caused by ancient seas and sand in the old quarry walls. There is lots to see and touch but they do not like people taking things away from the site or damaging their rocks (so don’t turn up with a geological hammer!)

Other activities: you can go “panning for gold” with bowls full of sand and small polished gems. The aim is to wash the sand out (big troughs of nice cool water outside for this) and find your treasures

See below for one of the activities we brought with us

Costs: there is a £1 honesty box for car parking. Otherwise access to the site is free

Toilets: in the main building, including accessible toilet. We’re not sure about changing table

Café: good selection of lunches, cakes and ice creams and nice places to sit*

Busy-ness: we were there on a sunny day at the start of the school holidays and there were always people around but not so busy that it felt crowded and noisy

Recommended: for people who like finding things out and looking at things and people who like having a bit of room

* We thought some site-specific ice creams might be good…“rare gem”– with shiny sweets in, or maybe sandstone (with caramel fragments), or even fossil ice cream with sugar shrimps…..

Derwent Stories events: after each of our DS events, we’ll post a report like this on what we did,

and where we went in the hope that other people might visit that place themselves.

We will also post instructions to try some of the activities we did as well.


In this blog there are finger puppet trilobites….make your own ancient rockpool and an invitation to try the Carboniferous Fossil Poem will follow shortly!

Derwent Stories

With support from Derwentwise and Foundation Derbyshire,

Stone and Water are running a series of public events in 2018 across the Derwentwise area.

All the Derwent Stories events are open to anyone but are planned for and

structured around families including children with additional needs

Fingerpuppet trilobites

You will need: a postcard-sized piece of thin card, pencil, coloured pencils, a pair of scissors, a small stapler

half a trilobite, folded card

These can start with either a drawing like the one above or half a drawing, drawn onto a piece of folded card with the fold corresponding to the main line of the cross

Cut it out, cut a line in from the edge to the side of the eye (the longer the better usually). Fold the cephalon (head) along this line, folding front over the sides. Staple in place. This will pull the head into a nice curve and the original fold will help shape the rest of the animal.

Add a ring of card to the underside, slide the puppet onto your finger and off you go! (Why not make one for every finger and have a family of them?). Use similar ideas to make other animals…look at their symmetry and overall shape: some work well with folded card (use the fold as the line through the middle of the animal to get symmetrical sides) while others are easier as simple drawings cut out and put on a finger ring





finished trilobites






fingers full of coelacanths












Butterflies, bumbles and picnics

Butterflies, bumbles

and picnics


Monday 6th August 2018

Darley Park, Derby



The Derwent Stories project has got off to an old stones and fossils start with a lively day at the National Stone Centre last week (pictures and report to follow soon!). The next event will be a day of picnics and wildlife wanderings in Derby….


Event: Butterflies, bumbles

and picnics


When: Monday 6th August 2018

Times:we’ll be around 11am – 4pm, so choose a time within that and come and join us. Activities will happen as people are ready for them (see below) – latest time for new arrivals is 3pm

Where: Darley Park, Derby

How to find us: we are aiming to base ourselves in the Butterfly Garden or on the lawns hear the Café so head for the Darley Abbey Park Tearooms. For parking, try the car park on Darley St, DE22 1DX

what will you find?

 Our plan is for a relaxed day looking at the flowers and insects of the Park. There will be a bumblebee and butterfly survey to try. You can listen to wildlife stories and add your own, and help us make up some completely new ones. There will be wildlife walks and chances to draw, sketch, scribble and print the animals and plants we find.

Bring a picnic to extend your visit and enjoy open spaces, old trees and room to run and roll

Like all the Derwent Stories events,  Butterflies, bumbles and picnics 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

ready for action…

Rocks, fossils and wriggly creatures

Rocks, fossils and wriggly creatures

Wednesday 25th July

Times: 2 sessions: 11 – 1 and 2 – 4

Where: National Stone Centre, Wirksworth, DE4 4LS. More directions, here

A chance to look at a world older than the dinosaurs!

A day of handling fossils, examining rocks and wondering at the animal life of the Carboniferous Era that gave us our White Peak limestone! You might even go home with your own ancient rockpool to tend or fossil fish on a finger!

Free, no need to book and materials are provided

Just drop by and join in

This is a Derwent Stories event, open to anyone but planned for and structured around families including children with additional needs


For more information, look at

Stone and Water facebook page

Stone and Water blog:

Or contact Gordon at


This is a Derwent Stories event created in partnership with Umbrella, Creeping Toad and Derwentwise. This is one of a series of events for families with children with additional needs. Events and activities are planned to accommodate a wide range of learning styles and movement possibilities. If you have any concerns about suitability for your family, drop Gordon an email at

Spring delights and summer events


as the frogspawn starts to bubble our ponds and the last snowdrops and first ramsons meet in the woods, Stone and Water are gearing up for a lively summer

There are various grant applications brewing which will hopefully underpin several series of exciting events over the summer months. More details will appear as plans confirm but just to whet some appetites and get your diaries slightly scribbled on, here are a few things that are definitely happening


Spring art, woods and wildlife
Wednesday April 4th
Lea Bridge car park at the High Peak Junction Visitor Centre: postcode: DE4 5AA. Note: the car park is off Lea Rd (from Cromford to Holloway)
11:00 – 15:00

Join Gordon from Creeping Toad for a session designed for families with children with additional needs with art activities to capture a sense of spring, stories and walks through the woods. Bring a picnic if you would like to make a day of it! Our activities might last an hour or so, more if you join us for a walk

Cost: free but there is a charge for car parking
Booking: no booking necessary
Ffi contact:
Partners for this event include Derwentwise and Derbyshire Umbrella

We are hoping that there will be more events of this kind in the summer so keep an eye on this blog or on our facebook page

Buxton Festival Fringe
534917_10150930664873616_269837826_n.jpgTiny! an underwater world
Sunday 15th July
Where: Pavilion Gardens (by the young children’s play ground), St John’s Rd, Buxton SK17 6BE
When: 11:00 – 15:00
Cost: nothing but smiles
The Tiny! team are back for another day of making and laughter. Join us in creating a whole submarine world in our sea tent. Mermaids and monsters, sharks, dolphins and sea-horses: who knows what will be wriggling in our seaweed?
Lamellib-2We have lost count of how many Tiny! events we have done as part of the Fringe over the years, sitting in Pavilion Gardens in sunshine, rain and sogginess. With the unifying theme of “make nothing bigger than your hand” they are always great fun. We hope that on a lively day in the Gardens, our Tiny! corner becomes a place to stop; for everyone and anyone to make, for people to sit down on the grass and chat and laugh and make new friends….

And this year there will be deep underwater wonders – we are bringing the crochetted Carboniferous seabed from our Ancient Landscapes project so that your creations will have somewhere to explore before they swim you all off home


Picture is from a painting by Victoria Brown


Thursday 19th
A day of storytelling and storymaking in Buxton library
details to follow


Buxton Pride Picnic
Saturday 21st July
Where: Pavilion Gardens, St John’s Rd, Buxton, SK17 6BE: look for us on the lawsn in front of the swimming pool
When: 14:00 – 17:00
An occasion for some glamour, delicate sandwiches, hunky lumberqueens and booted timberjacks, or maybe just about anyone who would like to come and be part of it all


Celebrate Queer Buxton (LGBT+ and friends!) with an afternoon of graceful silliness and frivolous strength. Bring your own exquisite nibbles, an umbrella or parasol if appropriate, and join us for a picnic as elegant as we can make it.
The first Picnic, last year, won the Spirit of the Fringe Award.

The beautiful Rainbow Cake is by Little Chelly Cakes of Chelmorton