Places of Poetry in Dovedale

The rolling hills and beautiful woodlands of Dovedale - inspiring poets past and present

As part of our national People's Landscapes Portfolio, we are proud to be taking part in the exciting community arts project Places of Poetry, that aims to inspire and encourage new poems about places, heritage and identity. Join us this August in Dovedale to explore this iconic National Nature Reserve through creative and unique styles of poetry.

Places of Poetry - community arts project

The Places of Poetry is an exciting community arts project led by the renowned poet Paul Farley and the academic Andrew McRae. This inspiring project is happening across different locations of England and Wales and involves at least three National Trust sites. The project is centred on a distinctive digital map of England and Wales, based on iconic seventeenth-century images. Through the course of a four-month public campaign, writers from across the country will be invited to write new poems of place, heritage and identity, and pin them to the map.

Places of Poetry - inspiring people to get creative about the places they love
Places of Poetry - inspiring people to get creative about the places they love
Places of Poetry - inspiring people to get creative about the places they love

For centuries, authors have used poetry to reflect on local and national identities. One of these poets, Michael Drayton, published the epic of national description, Poly-Olbion (1612, 1622), that included the county maps that have been adapted for Places of Poetry. The modern technology of crowd-sourcing enables this innovative project to revive this model, for writers of all ages, backgrounds and levels of experience. Through these methods, the project will prompt reflection on national and cultural identities in England and Wales, celebrating the diversity, heritage and personalities of place.

Events and activities will be staged at heritage sites across England and Wales to promote the project and generate new writing. A poet-in-residence will be situated at each partner site, to write and engage with the public. Our poet-in-residence at Dovedale is British poet, academic and editor Sarah Howe. Her first book, Loop of Jade (Chatto & Windus, 2015), won the T.S. Eliot Prize and The Sunday Times/PFD Young Writer of the Year Award; it was shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Centre Poetry Prize and the Forward Prize for Best First Collection.

For more information on the Places of Poetry project please visit their website or follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @placesofpoetry

The inspirational poet Sarah Howe will be getting creative in Dovedale this August
The inspirational poet Sarah Howe will be getting creative in Dovedale this August
The inspirational poet Sarah Howe will be getting creative in Dovedale this August

Places of Poetry events in Dovedale

From Monday 12th - Friday 16th of August 11:00am - 15:00pm, we will be encouraging visitors to join us in Dovedale and share your thoughts, short stories or poems of why Dovedale is special to you and how you look after it. You can then add your thoughts to our word wall and take a picture of your work and share it with us over Facebook, Twitter or Instagram @peakdistrictNT Look for signs on site to help guide you to where our teams are based for the day. For more information please visit our What's On section. 

Sarah Howe will be on site in Dovedale on Wednesday 14th and Thursday 15th August and will be sharing tips and tricks of how to write your own poetry. If you create a poem that you are really proud of then why not pin it to the map on the Places of Poetry website!

There is also a unique poetry walk that will be led by Sarah Howe and our rangers on Friday 16th August. On this guided poetry walk, Sarah will lead you through some writing exercises as you walk from Ilam Park to Dovedale. Be inspired by the landscape of the White Peak and hear why Dovedale is such a special place from our Rangers who care for it all year round. This one-off experience needs to be booked in advance and costs £5 please visit our What's On section to secure your place. 

Thorpe Cloud rises above the stepping stones in Dovedale
Thorpe Cloud rises above the stepping stones in Dovedale
Thorpe Cloud rises above the stepping stones in Dovedale

The poetry and People's Landscapes connection

Dovedale has been inspiring poets for hundreds of years with it's beautifully dramatic landscapes and ancient woodlands. Poets of the past William Wordsworth, Charles Cotton and George Byron all created poems that were inspired by their passion for Dovedale and the outdoors.... 

In summer, making quest for works of art,
Or scenes renowned for beauty, I explored
That streamlet whose blue current works its way
Between romantic Dovedale’s spiry rocks;
Pried into Yorkshire dales, or hidden tracts
Of my own native region, and was blest
Between these sundry wanderings with a joy
Above all joys, that seemed another morn
Risen on mid noon; blest with the presence, Friend!   William Wordsworth

Dovedale is also an area that is deeply embedded in local history and was the place that in the1930s saw F.A.Holmes address a crowd of around 8000 ramblers at Thorpe Cloud, campaigning for Dovedale to become a National Park as part of his involvement in the National Park movement. Dovedale has since become the place of choice for hundreds of Peak District visitors each year. Movements like this demonstrated the power of a group of people standing together in a shared place with a shared vision. We remember those who fought for our access to the countryside by honouring them with the People's Landscapes Project and raising awareness that it has become all of our responsibilities to look after and care for these landscapes so that they may be cherished and protected for years to come.

The Dovedale appeal back in the 1930s
The Dovedale appeal back in the 1930s
The Dovedale appeal back in the 1930s

With thanks 

The Places of Poetry project is based at the universities of Exeter and Lancaster and is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England, and is underpinned by partnerships with the Ordnance Survey and the Poetry Society. 

People's Landscapes is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and with additional support from Art Fund.