Colouring the canal at Cromford

Mills, canals and creatures

Drawing the canal

the picture

 

Back in November as part of the Derwent Mills Heritage Site Discovery Days programme, we took the Derwent Stories project to Cromford for a final event

There, between the Canal and the Mill we invited people – and their dogs – to add to a long, unrolling, unravelling picture of the area. Over the day, 80 people paused to talk to us, to look, wonder, chat a bit more and cautiously or confidently, subtly or in bold and bright colours add their contribution to the drawing…..

the canal and trees

This was the last of the Derwent Stories events for this year. We are hoping we might manage a couple more in the Spring. If that happens we’ll post the news here and invite anyone and everyone to come and join us

The Derwent Stories project set out to offer families easy creative ways of exploring the world around them. We aimed to work in places that:

  • were we easy to get to
  • had good access for people pushing buggies or steering their own wheelchair
  • offered interesting outdoor spaces to explore
  • gave us a mix of busy public spaces and quieter options

We planned activities that invited exploration

  • that gave participants new ways of expressing their discoveries
  • Where materials would be easy to find again
  • techniques used would be easy to repeat without us there to mutter at everyone
  • that suited children with additional needs

watervole

So, Mills, canals and creatures simply used:

  • a long roll of paper (discount shops often have rolls of paper for children’s painting easels, or you could use some lining paper for home decorating)
  • A selection pencils, pens, charcoal, and mud (for dog pawprints and human fingerprints)
  • Some reference pictures, just in case,
  • But mostly we simply stood or sat and look at what was around us

The fun was in scribbling, feeling free to just have a go and to add our ideas to ones that had gone before, building stories as we did it

Another blog listing and linking the various sites and activities that Derwent Stories visited will be posted shortly

careful work

 

Where were we:

Cromford Canal: parking at Cromford Wharf car park (there is a charge for this)

Getting about: easy paths along the canal. At weekends there is also a canalboat that runs down to High Peak Junction (1 mile down the towpath)

The towpath is a level walk with no obstacles. It can feel a bit narrow at times when there are other people and cyclists around so travel with due care.

Facilities: there are toilets at both Cromford Canal Car Park and at High Peak Junction 1 mile down the path

Risks: yes, there is a canal. There are also stinging nettles in summer on the banks and prickly brambles here and there. The canal, however, is not deep and the general recommendation is that if someone does fall in, tell them to stand up, BUT BE SENSIBLE AND USE YOUR STANDARD “SAFETY AROUND A WATER BODY” PRECAUTIONS

 

a dinosaur in the trees*

What to look for: ducks! Moorhens, and coots are all to be seen most of the year. In spring and summer watch for Little Grebes (Dabchicks) on the water and Swallows above it. People see grass snakes and water voles regularly. Just past the Junction there is also the impressive Lea Wood Pump House which looks very exciting (and opens occasionally) and a little further there is the charming Aqueduct Cottage with its painted windows. About ½ miles along the path from Cromford to the Junction on the other side of the canal there is a lifesize model Stegosaurus tucked away in the woods.

This is a site that you can just turn up at and have a lovely walk. A little research in advance, however, can help you coincide with things like the Pump House openings or Boat Trips

 

Useful links

Boat trips

https://www.cromfordcanal.info/boat/boat.htm

General information

https://www.derbyshire.gov.uk/leisure/countryside/countryside-sites/waterways-wetlands/cromford-canal.aspx

 

  • the dinosaur photo was found at this site:Stegosaurus: http://www.pictame.com/media/

    If there is any problem with us posting this, please let us know and we’ll take it down

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Rocks, fossils and cheerful puppets

Rocks, fossils and cheerful puppets

limestone fossils

Derwent Stories at the Altitude Festival

16th Sept 2018

 

First there were rocks. And some lovely stones. And fossils. Chalk and limestone, granite and gabbro. Rocks to hold and think about. Trilobites, goniatites, crinoids and teeth.  We thought these would feed into lovely puppet and word activities inspiring quiet conversation around mineral stories and the arguments of crystals

 

Then it rained

 

there are always mermaids

The Altitude Youth Arts Festival at the Mt Cook Adventure Centre where we were working was a lovely afternoon. There was some excellent music to keep us entertained. Songs from young musicians, dance from another young group, some quiet storytelling from others. There was a cap fire in the woods and bushcraft activities to try. And us making pebble puppets on a field while people sailed, shrieking, down a zip wire overhead

 

Great fun!

 

Our carefully planned activity dissolved a bit in the rain but we made some wonderful puppets all the same. We got people holding rocks. Talking about what they might find in their gardens at home or out on a walk. And they went home with some wonderfully crazy little characters….

a cheerful pebble with his assorted fossil friends

Make your own pebble puppet: instructions will follow shortly

 

DERWENT STORIES

After Derwent Stories events we post a note of where we went and how we found it, encouraging people to go again in their own time…

Visiting Altitude

When: Altitude is a Youth Arts Festival within the bigger Wirksworth fsetvial. aS such it happens once a year – watch for dates for enxt September

Access: activities happen at different sites. My Cook Adventure Centre has parking, easy access for wheelchairs and good toilets. Activities were free. The music was great. On a good day it would have been a lovelt afternoon to sit on the grass with a picnic and nejoy the music, do a bit of making and generally relax. At the Eco Centre next door there was more acoustic music

 

The next Derwent Stories events will be

Autumn Art and Stories on Saturday 22nd Sept at High Peak Junction (follow the link for details).

GIVEN THE POSSIBLY BAD WEATHER THIS WEEKEND, CHECK THE FACEBOOK PAGE

OR THE BLOG ON SATURDAY MORNING FOR A DEFINITE YES OR NO

Mills,  Canals and Creatures at Cromford Mill on November 2nd as part of the Derwent Mills Discovery Days Festival

Derwent Stories events, are open to anyone who wants to join in but activities are structured around families with children with additional needs

Useful links:

Autumn art and stories

Autumn art and stories

Saturday 22nd September

1 – 4pm

High Peak Junction car park

a Derwent Stories event

log benches and delicate toadstools

Summer birds are leaving,

Summer lives sinking into winter stillness,

But Rosehips are shining,

Delicate toadstools sprout in the leaf litter,

Conkers drop on unguarded heads,

And squirrels are busy burying acorns

While jays dig them up again and hide them somewhere else

 

What secrets will the woods share in autumn? Join us for a wander along the canal to peer into autumn waters, pass the magnificent Leawood Pump House, meet the mystery of the cottage in the woods and explore the woodlands at the edge of autumn.

 

We’ll be at High Peak Junction car park between 1 and 4 pm on Saturday 22nd September. There will be a base there and we will wander off along the canal in a couple of sessions. But there will always be someone on hand to help you explore. You might want to draw the autumn, make your own autumn book or get messy with an autumn clay and seed ball…..

after acorns, add a toadstool…

Like all the Derwent Stories events, Autumn art and stories

is open to anyone who wants to join in but activities are structured around families with children with additional needs

This event is planned and will be delivered with the help of Derbyshire Wildlife Trust

 

 

 

Contact for more info:

fb: Stone and Water

Email: stoneandwater@btinternet.com

 

 

 

 

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Summer stories and dangerous rabbits

Summer stories at Carsington Water

 A Derwent Stories event

shape your own stories

secret maps, lines to treasure, stories waiting….

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!

 

hedgehog bristle, witches brush, the teazle starts a story by growing

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

 

Visiting Carsington

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

log benches and delicate toadstools

 

what story might start…

Building instant stories

You will need:

  • yourselves!
  • 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

after acorns, add a toadstool…

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”

could leaves cause a crisis?…

 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…..

take time to listen and talk

 

 

Talking Stones!

Talking stones!

Sunday 16th September

12 – 4pm

Mt Cook Adventure Centre

Wirksworth DE4 4LS

Derwent Stories

 at

Altitude Youth Music and Arts Festival

 

a shouting stone

Do you like rocks?

Do you investigate stones and enjoy fossils?

Join us for a different take on some familiar minerals!

We’re going to be making puppets inspired by the rocks and fossils of the Adventure Centre site. There will be stones to handle, fossils to look at and artists to help you turn ideas into puppets. We know that there are stories hidden in rocks, secrets in stones and every fossil has a tale to tell. So, why not join us to help some puppets fossilise, sediment out or just erupt, and add your own wodnerful pebble person to our pile of talking stones and wandering rocks….

a grumpy lump of pumice

Activity is free: just come along and join in

Like all the Derwent Stories events, Talking stones! is open to anyone who wants to join in but activities are structured around families with children with additional needs

 

Contact for more info: fb: Stone and Water

Email: stoneandwater@btinternet.com

 

a crowned sedimentary queen

I am the Calcite Queen with a crown of crystal,

I am the Boulder King, round and heavy as granite,

We are The Lava Gang, waiting, ready to run,

Waiting, waiting, waiting for the volcano alarm clock!

 

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?

    write

  • 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?

pockets? 

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)”

Or

  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