A Life in the Slow Lane

Well Dressing in Youlgreave

This weekend we went to the Camping and Caravanning Site at Youlgreave, in Derbyshire. It’s a nice laid back site with no toilets or wash block, which tends to make it quiet.

It’s really well located for numerous walks in the Peak District and best of all it is about a one mile walk to Youlgreave, which is a lovely village with 3 decent pubs.

After arriving late on Friday, we made our way up to the village for a pub dinner, only to find that our favourite, the Bull’s Head couldn’t serve us food due to prior bookings. Never mind we wandered down to the George Hotel for a few pints and the most enormous Fish and Chips.

Satiated we headed back to Boris with the dogs in tow, only to meet, coming in the opposite direction, a man from the campsite who had lost his lurcher dog. We could do no more than tell him that we hadn’t seen it and off he went.

Purely through luck the weekend was Youlgreave’s Well Dressing weekend. Well dressing is an ancient custom. Some think is originated during the great plagues of the middle ages, where villages who escaped the plague decided to honour their wells. Others consider that the tradition is much older and possibly pagan.

We woke on Saturday morning and after an hour or so relaxing in the sun, we headed up to Youlgreave for the Well Dressing ceremony.

The Well Dressings themselves are now very large pictures made up of flower petals. One of these is stationed by the village well, but there are others all around the village.

The ceremony starts at the church and clergy are led by a brass band around the village stopping at each Well Dressing to bless the well dressing; to have bible readings; and to sing hymns. There was a large turnout of perhaps 200 -300 people and the whole event was very colourful and great fun. The weather forecast has not been good, but someone smiled on us and the ceremony was completed in sunshine.

We finished the day with a prawn and pea curry made by my fair hands and after a relaxing start to Sunday morning we headed off home.