The Peak District is renowned for its tradition of Well Dressing every summer. Once a year, from May to September, the wells in each village are decorated with elaborate pictures, each made entirely from natural materials such as flower petals, seeds, leaves, berries, mosses, wood and sheep wool. The materials are painstakingly pressed into clay, piece by piece, to create beautiful images to ‘dress’ the well.
For such a prominent and ancient tradition, it’s perhaps surprising that the origins of Well Dressing are vague. It’s generally thought to have started as a pagan custom of sacrifice to the gods of wells and springs, and a celebration of fresh water. Many of the Peak District Well Dressings today have religious themes, or themes of thankfulness for the water in our streams, rivers, lakes and reservoirs.
Creating the Well Dressings in each village is an activity that brings the whole community together. It’s painstaking, fiddly work, but it’s a skill that anyone can learn and join in with. Many primary schools get involved and make their own. The villagers usually love showing off their creations, so do make the effort to get out to a village near you soon and have a look, or make a little tour of it!
Peak District Well Dressings 2019
Here’s a list of all the places you can see Peak District Well Dressings this year … (Please do check dates before travelling.)