Another season of Well Dressings is upon us. These festivals are a speciality of the Peak District, and date back to ancient times when people gave thanks for their supplies of good water. Most villages still have wells in them, not always easy to find except during the week in which they are dressed with pictures made from flower petals and seeds pressed into clay. They are very skilled pieces of craftwork, and often also works of art, all produced by the inhabitants of the village, who after months of planning, work all night on the damp clay and the next morning the picture is revealed. They are on display for a week.
One of the first is also the nearest to us, at Tissington, a picture-pretty estate village between us and Ashbourne. They have several wells decorated, and always start on Ascension Day. This year their festival is May 14-20.
Another very impressive collection of pictures is made in Youlgreave later in the summer.
The season this year runs through to September 12th, and dates of all the Well Dressings can be found on www.welldressing.com