Well - Dressing in the Peak District

Many Peakland customs & festivals are unique to the area. Believed to date from pagan times, the most famous festival of well - dressing was an ancient offering of thanks for the supply and provision of water in the predominantly dry limestone uplands.

Well dresssing in the Peak district Originally this was the simple offering of floral tributes to the local well in the village, but nowadays large wooden frames are filled with soft clay and decorated with flower petals, leaved, twigs and mosses.

It is a difficult task that combines hard work with artistic skill, and requires many willing hands.

The designs are first sketched onto the damp clay and the patterns and scenes are filled in with separate overlapping petals, berries, cones, moss and lichen. The finished trays are arranged at the wells for all to see.

Well dresssing in the Peak districtWells are dressed every year throughout the Peak, possibly the best at Tissington where 6 wells are dressed for Ascension Day.

Details of exact dates for the custom can be obtained from information centres, but the months in which they occur are as follows:-

MAY- Ashford, Etwall, Tissington (Ascension Day), Monyash, Wirksworth (spring bank holiday)

JUNE - Tideswell, Youlgreave

JULY - Bakewell, Hope, Pilsley, Great Longstone, Little Longstone, Stoney Middleton.

AUGUST - Barlow, Bradwell, Wormhill, Eyam, Taddington.

SEPTEMBER - Hartington, Longnor.

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Well dressings in Derbyshire, Peak District, England, UK