This might be something you’ve visited every year for as long as you remember. It might be something you’ve even gotten involved with yourself. Or maybe it’s a Derbyshire tradition you’ve yet to discover. What are we talking about? Well dressings of course!
What are well dressings?
There’s a bit of a mystery as to how well dressing came about. Some believe it was originally done as a sacrifice to the god of wells and springs to ensure a continued supply of water. Later it was adopted by the Church as a way to say thanks for water.
Wooden boards are decorated by hand with blossoms, flowers, seeds and berries. They typically take around 7 days to make and last for around 7 days before the clay and flowers dry out. These boards are usually placed near springs or wells for everyone to enjoy.
Why are they so well known in Derbyshire?
In 1349, Tissington was the first Derbyshire village to reintroduce well dressings as a way to celebrate after escaping the Black Death which had affected much of England at the time. Now lots of villages and towns all around Derbyshire take part with this unique tradition.
What well dressings can I find near me?
There’s a huge number of well dressings going on all around Derbyshire. Here are a few you’ll definitely want to check out:
Wirksworth Carnival & Well Dressing
May the 25th to the 28th
Carnival procession, treasure hunt, craft fair and of course lots of beautiful well dressings made by Wirksworth locals. Find the full list of everything going on here.
Tissington Well Dressing, Tissington Hall
May the 30th to June the 5th
Visit the place where it all started.
Check out a time lapse video of a well dressing being made at Tissington Hall here.
Whitwell Festival of Music
7th of September
Fancy getting involved with well dressing? At Whitwell Festival of Music there is a free workshop giving you the chance to really get stuck in with well dressing.
Find out more and book your tickets here.
You can find the full list of well dressing events going on throughout May until September all around Derbyshire here.