Woollen woods 2018

We have just taken down the Woollen Woods and 2018 has been an amazing year. The sun has been very good to us and more individuals and groups have joined in the fun. I have written about previous years on this blog and also linked to videos Woollen Woods 2015 . This one was created for us by a Derby company https://www.ablewild.com . We were written about on the Angel Eden Blog in 2016 and there are links to videos on their page.2017 was very wet year but people still visited and we added two story sessions with the help of Lauren from Into the Wild Wood. There were  also two new videos Part 1  and Part 2 .I am still waiting to see if we have any videos from this year’s event. I do know however that hundreds of photographs have been taken and I am going to share a few to show some of the amazing new trees we had in 2018. A Tree hugger was seen in the woods as was a Viking Tree.The photos below show a very small part of a large tree decorated by a group called Chronic Creatives. Items for the tree were made by people who are often unwell and unable to leave their homes.The next amazing tree was made by a group called Chatterbox, they are a group of adults with learning difficulties who meet socially once a week and often do something creative.

This large tree covered in flowers and birds was made by the volunteers of Kedleston Hall National Trust.The beautiful blue bunting was made and hung in the trees by the Blue Box Community Group.

There were also a number of schools who joined in and decorated trees for the woods, these included Long Row in Belper, Milford Primary School and St John’s School Ripley.

Long Row School
Milford primary School
St John’s Knit and Natter Group

Valley Arts organisation decorated an area with work from children from a number of different schools. One of them was Shirland Primary School

Work by valley Arts Amber valley

Stepping Stones Creative Playgroup decorated the area around a large den made from sticks and branches. There was also a tree decorated by tree Tops nursery Belper who I know visit the woods regularly.For the second year Spencer Grove Care Home decorated one of the trees.Two of the many new trees this year were the Secret garden and the Wizard of Oz.

There was a tree hung with bacon and eggs, ice cream cones, roast chickens with gravy, delicious muffins, carrots and sprouts and a deconstructed sandwich.One of the trees was seen to have an infestation of giant red ants.

There were so many trees in 2018 that it is impossible to include them all in this blog . There are many more photos on Belper Woollen Woods Facebook page. I am really grateful to all those who took part in the event this year and I know others are already making plans for 2019 which is exciting.

Belper in Bloom

Once again this year Belper will enter the RHS Britain in Bloom competition. The competition is now over fifty years old and is entered by communities in towns, villages and cities with different categories for each size of settlement. Groups are assessed for their achievements in three core areas: Horticultural Excellence; Environmental Responsibility; and Community Participation. Over 1,600 communities around the UK enter each year, participating in their local region’s  “in Bloom” campaign. From these regional competitions, roughly 80 communities are selected to enter the national Finals of RHS Britain in Bloom.Last year ‘Belper in Bloom’  was selected to represent the East Midlands in the Large Town Category in the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Britain in Bloom UK Finals.

Andrea Van Sittart, RHS Head of Community Outreach, reacted by saying: “Congratulations to Belper on reaching the UK Finals of this year’s RHS Britain in Bloom campaign. To represent their region on the UK stage is an incredible achievement and shows they are already at the top level of community gardening, going the extra mile to improve their local area and make it cleaner, greener and more beautiful for everyone.”

Belper has numerous  volunteers and groups who get involved with the towns involvement in Britain in Bloom. These include Belper Gardening Group, Transition Belper, the Open Gardens Team, Belper Goes Green, Friends of the River Gardens, Guides, Brownies, Scouts, local schools and for the first time this year St Peter’s Parish Community Garden. As well as volunteers, the staff at Belper Town Council and Amber Valley Borough Council, will be working to make Belper bloom. Once again this year they will be planting thousands of bedding plants in the parks and planters in and around the town, putting up hundreds of hanging baskets, keeping Belper Railway Station and the grounds of Strutts looking beautiful and keeping the Parks, Wyver Lane and other Nature Reserves accessible and well maintained.

This year as part of the town effort the Belper Woollen Woods are asking  local people who can knit, crochet or felt to make flowers which will be used to brighten up part of the route that the judges will walk along.Belper is a fantastic town full of residents willing to be part of Community events. So I am asking everyone who reads this to help make flowers for the Belper in Bloom Group. There are plenty of free patterns on the internet that can be used for events such as this.

I am a knitter so I am adding a few quick and simple knitting patterns to this blog post. However flowers can be crocheted or made out of felt.Flower OneOne main colour of DK Yarn (A) and a small amount of a different colour for the centre of the flower, (B). Needles size 3.25 (10)

Body of Flower Using Col A Cast on 60 stitches
Rows 1 –10 : K2, P2 across whole row. Row 11 : Knit 2 stitches together across the row (30 sts).
Row 12 : Slip 1 stitch, Knit 2 stitches together then pass the slip stitch over… repeat across the whole row (10 stitches).
Break off yarn with long tail and thread back through remaining stitches and pull tight. Join edges with mattress stitch

Centre of Flower Using B, cast on 20 sts, knit 2 rows, cut the yarn and thread through all the stitches. Pull the thread tight and sew base to the centre.

Flower TwoUsing 3.23mm (10) needles and DK yarn, cast on 160 sts, Knit two rows. Next row: Knit two together across the row (80 sts), Knit the next row.

Knit two together across the next row (40 sts), Knit the next row.

Knit two together across the next row (20 sts), Knit the next row.

Knit two together across the next row (10 sts)

Break off yarn with long tail and thread back through remaining stitches and pull tight. Join edges with mattress stitch.

The flower will naturally curl to make an interesting shape.

Flower ThreeUsing 3.25mm (10) needles and DK yarn, cast on seven sts

Row 1: knit,  Row 2: Knit 1, kfb k to last two sts, kfb, k1. (9 sts)

Row3:as Row2. (11sts),     Row 4: as Row 2. (13 sts)

Rows 5-8: knit,    Row 9: Knit 1 (knit two together through the back of the loops) twice,   k to last four sts, (k2tog) twice. (9 sts)

Rows 10-12: knit,   Row 13: (k2tog through the back of the loop) twice, k to last four sts, (k2tog) twice. (5 sts)

Rows 14-16: knit,    Row 17: knit 1, slip 1,k2tog, psso, k1. (3 sts)

Row 18: knit and then Cast off.

Make three or four more petals to complete the flower.

Sew lower sections of petals together by threading a length of wool through all five petals and pull up tightly.

Centre of Flower Cast on 20 sts. Knit 2 rows.

Cut the yarn and thread through all of the stitches and pull to make a circle, sew onto the centre of the flower.

Flower FourUsing DK yarn and size 3.25 (10) needles cast on 86 sts. Knit 2 rows.

Last Row, (Knit 2 sts, cast off 12 sts) repeat this across the row.

Cut the yarn and thread through the remaining stitches and pull up to make a flower that looks a bit like a daisy. Put in a few stitches to hold in place.

Flower Centre Cast on 20 sts. Knit 2 rows. Cut the yarn and thread through all of the stitches and pull to make a circle, sew onto the centre of the flower.

It would be fantastic if lots of people would help with this effort and we do not have very long before Britain in Bloom. The completed flowers can be left in a box in St Peter’s Church Chesterfield Road, Belper or given to me Anne Clark

If you would like to print off the patterns here is a PDF Flowers

Nature and the Great War

A love of nature and the horror of World War One are not usually thought of as being connected. However having read the book ‘Where Poppies Blow’ by John Lewis-Stempel, I realise there is a connection.

During the war soldiers lived inside nature. There was no escape as they lived and fought in trenches dug out of the earth. There are lots of references to the natural world in the poems written during the war and in letters written home to family members. Many said it was a love of the British countryside that encouraged them to volunteer. Continue reading Nature and the Great War

The Joy of Autumn

Autumn is such a special season. There is fun to be had walking along kicking the fallen leaves, searching for conkers and brightly coloured berries. The season used to start on September 21st and it can be a bit confusing these days as media weather people start talking about it starting on September 1st. Continue reading The Joy of Autumn

Tomorrow, the film.

Do you believe that climate change is happening? Are you worried about the amount of Co2 in the atmosphere and the air quality in towns and cities around the world? What about the damage that plastics are doing to our world. It can be very easy to feel that there is nothing we can do, the problems are too large and so it is easier to bury our heads in the sand. Continue reading Tomorrow, the film.

Padley Gorge Derbyshire

Padley Gorge is a fantastic almost magical place to visit. It is easy to access from Grindleford Railway Station. You can still get to this Station by train but it is much easier if travelling from Sheffield or Manchester. The train in the photo is going into Totley Tunnel which has a date above the entrance of 1883. It was the longest Railway tunnel in the U.K. up until 1985. Continue reading Padley Gorge Derbyshire

Fun Palace at Belper Goes Green

After the success of our first Fun Palace in Belper it was decided to run another at Belper Goes Green. This is a fantastic Eco Festival run by Transition Belper for the local community. All the information about the festival can be found here Belper Goes Green ,this includes what’s on and parking. Continue reading Fun Palace at Belper Goes Green

Belper Woollen Woods 2017

Its that time of year again when the people of Belper are working hard to produce this years Belper Art Festival. A tremendous amount of planning goes into this event which each year gets bigger and better. Yesterday there was a small crowd who met at Number 28 on the Market Place to produce the festival trailer for 2017.  Continue reading Belper Woollen Woods 2017