Autumn: the season of beginning

Autumn: the season of beginning

I love Autumn. The colours, the smells, the sense of anticipation as the year marches ever more quickly towards the cliff edge. Here in the Peaks, it is also the season of knowing where you stand weather-wise. The summers are greeted with high expectations, but are often punctuated with drizzle, while the winters come with warnings of impassable roads and school closures, but are most often accompanied by... well... drizzle. Autumn on the other hand is greeted gladly with the full knowledge that days will be shorter and jumpers will be required. [...]

Deer and the (former) Derbyshire Laureate

Deer and the (former) Derbyshire Laureate

For a relatively compact city, Sheffield – our closest metropolis – is a hive of culture, creativity and composition. Over the last month, Sheffield's curious minds have been soothed by Off the Shelf, one of the UK's largest literary festivals, as writers, poets and thinkers have been spouting forth in various venues across the city. Acclaimed poet and one of Sheffield's own, Helen Mort, took to the stage alongside Stuart Maconie at The Leadmill last week with the pair's 'poetry pub crawl' – a collection of contemporary poetry celebrating the nation's favourite sanctuary. [...]

More landscape and language

More landscape and language

Thanks to Robert MacFarlane and his attempts to keep the vocabulary of nature vital and accessible to all (see previous blog post), I've been learning new words that describe succinctly some of the wonders of the valley. My favourite has to be rionnach maoim, an old Gaelic expression meaning the fleeting shadows of the clouds as they scud across moorland. It's such a precise distillation of something so beautiful, but there is huge pleasure to be had in knowing that the moving picture show I see playing across the sides of the valley has been loved enough by others to have been given its own name. [...]

Book of the Month: The Lost Words

Book of the Month: The Lost Words

Naturalist and writer Robert MacFarlane is not only a champion of nature, but a committed hoarder and conserver of natural language – the language of landscape. His latest book, and our Book of the Month, is The Lost Words, a beautiful collection of wild plants and animals whose names have been unceremoniously dropped in recent [...]

For the love of the long grass

For the love of the long grass

Educational Outing by Vanley Burke ©Vanley Burke There is something about a field of long grass that invites flopping, hiding, mark-making, mischief. Like virgin snow or a still, blue swimming pool, it makes the urge to jump in almost impossible to resist. And so it has always been. Educational Outing by eminent British-Jamaican photographer Vanley [...]