Whaley Well Dressing: Sat 23rd June onwards

The Whaley Bridge Well Dressing, now in its twelfth year is taking place across the next couple of weekends in the undercover marquee in Whaley Bridge Canal Basin. The rain may come but it’s dry inside ! The well dressing custom is unique to Derbyshire and is the art of decorating springs or wells with pictures made from natural materials. Wells have been dressed in Whaley Bridge since the millennium as a thanksgiving for water.

The first well dressing in 2000

This well dressing activities start this weekend – the 23rd and 24th June, with the Childrens mini welldressing , where children of all ages can come along and have a go at making their own well dressing. Each child gets a board filled with a flat layer of soft clay, and there are a selection of seeds,flowers,coloured pebbles and many other objects which can be pressed into the clay to form a pattern. Some of the children doing this today are shown below. It’s great fun, and the children can take their designs home with them. They can work from patterns or let their imagination run riot. Only £2

A multi coloured cat appears in the clay!


Filling the childrens boards with clay.

Also this weekend, on the Sunday, the main welldressing boards are loaded up by potters throwing the clay into the boards. These boards, incredibly heavy, will then be decorated over the following week (Monday 25th June – Fri 29th June) in the marquee, with parallel events taking place in schools and churches throughout Whaley. Volunteers are always welcome to come along and learn this art and to contribute to the final designs.

The main well dressing boards await the clay and then decoration.

Saturday the 30th June is a busy day, with the ROSE QUEEN CARNIVAL assembling in the morning in the canal basin and starting their parade at 2pm. It’s a great day out, and your last chance to see the final touches to the welldressings before they are erected.

Once the final designs are complete, they are erected in the Canal Basin at Tom Brads croft, and elsewhere  throughout  the town,  and there is a Blessing in the canal basin on Sunday 1st July,2.30pm attended by the Whaley Rose Queen and Retinue, Whaley Band, Whaley School Choir and Churches Together, hopefully with good weather!

Over the following week the well dressings remain in place and can be seen by all.

The Whaley Well Dressing group receive financial support and help from Whaley Bridge Town Council, the Rose Queen Committee, High Peak Borough Council and British Waterways. More volunteers are always required, especially strong young men to help move and erect the welldressings on the Sunday 1st July 10am-11am, and to take them down on the Monday 9th July 9am-10am. The well dressers would also love some new blood to come along to learn the art and to help them to keep the event going in future years.  Just call down over the weekend of 23/24 June or over the following week and talk to Dorothy, or contact her on 01663 733490

An intricate 3D train comes to life...


All sorts of materials and all sorts of designs can be created.

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