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Buxton Civic Association Newsletter Issue 42

Autumn 2019

What’s Inside Best For Kids Page 2 Sensory Garden Page 3 News On Our Landscape Page 5 Limestone and Wildflowers Page 7 News from The Edge

The Best of Buxton

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News from the Editor The Best of Buxton & Volunteering is our well spring. In this ‘Best of Buxton’ edition there really is no competition for top spot because it springs out in every article – its volunteers. They actively make Buxton better and BCA is only one of hundreds of groups, small and large, that encourage people to get involved locally. The new BCA Sensory Garden is an example of how volunteering makes its mark. An individual or a group get energised. A time comes when something just must be done. Now take an opportunity to walk up Water Street and stay awhile to enjoy this new very accessible garden. It will be maintained by BCA volunteers. The beauty of our natural and built heritage is celebrated with articles on the ‘Best of Buxton’ from BCA members of all ages. They chose places, events, walks, flowers, the moors and the woodland that embrace our town. We are spoilt for choice. The amazing skills of the volunteer well dressers, who made the portrait of Duchess Georgiana, are displayed on our flower-filled front cover. This year they celebrated the Buxton International Festival and Fringe Festival, showing off the best of Buxton in petals. The Pavilion Gardens are such a perfect space for people to enjoy ‘best’ moments across the generations. BCA, along with other groups and individuals, are all alert to the challenges that the change of management from High Peak Borough Council to Parkwood Leisure is causing. There are new boats on the lake and the creative use of the Octagon for huge inflatables all adds to the fun. Our Victorian Conservatory is in desperate need of TLC and some progress can be reported. (See back page News from Our Groups). Peter Phillipson has volunteered to be the BCA representative on the Visitor Economy Strategy (VES) steering group. With its successful bid Buxton will be part of the next stage in the evolution of the UK’s high streets. Look out for opportunities for the wider community to give its views or contact Peter email: chairofboard@buxtoncivicassociation.


Helping the Swifts Creating a Screaming Frenzy words Simon Fussell

They are one of the sights and sounds of summer. Stand on the forecourt in front of the Opera House on a warm balmy evening and see and hear a screaming frenzy of swifts racing across the sky. They have been doing this for thousands of years and they return to the same nesting site year after year. They spend as much as ten months of the year on the wing. Some have been recorded as going a whole year without coming down to earth. They are built for a life in the air and to watch them, whether hunting high in the sky or racing between the canyons of our terraced housing, is to marvel at an animal totally at one with itself and its environment. Unfortunately, they are red listed by the RSPB as numbers have dropped by 50%. Some of the decline is because of events and factors beyond these shores. However some of the decline is down to the loss of nesting sites and the continued reduction in food sources. In the days before humans occupied these islands swifts nested in natural cavities such as caves or tree hollows. Today, apart from one or two exceptions, they nest in human-made structures, seeking out crevices, cracks in the masonry and holes and gaps under the eaves. The age of the buildings is key. The use of modern materials and building design deny swifts the opportunities they need. Studies have shown that buildings built before 1919 offer a ten percent chance of a nesting site. Buildings post 1944 offer only a 1.4% chance of a site. The good news is that swifts love nesting boxes and will readily adopt them. However, they need to be established in the right places and made to the right specifications. The swifts are part of our natural heritage and Buxton Civic Association wants to play a part in halting their decline. photo Ben Andrew RSPB

The Best of


Our youngest BCA Members have their say... words Tom, Jaspar and the Ryan twins Tom said, “I think the park is great but the best thing about Buxton is the ‘climbing tree’. I like it when my sister has her swimming lessons and I can even get to go on it in the dark.” Jasper said, " I like swimming and Splash Hour at the pool," and … "I like playing at the Pavilion Gardens." The twins enjoyed the inflatables at the Octagon too … We also enjoy the cinema and Opera House, especially at Christmas and special occasions like the David Walliams plays like Gangsta Grannie.



Water Street

Sensory Garden – A Volunteer’s Vision. words Diane White During the Buxton Festival the Sensory Garden was opened for the enjoyment of the people of Buxton and visitors. The project was the result of the work of a dedicated group of volunteers from the BCA Places and Spaces Group. BCA received generous sponsorship for this project through grants and individual donations. In her article below, Diane White explains the importance of having the determination to start a project and the delight at seeing it bear fruit. In February 2016, I was walking with Jon in the central part of Buxton and we happened to stop and look at the old toilet site on Water Street. It was a mess, with broken red tiles and cars parked on it. Surrounded by historic buildings, this ugly little corner stood out as being vulnerable and neglected but I felt that it had huge, untapped potential. I had a vision that this could be turned into a beautiful sensory and wildlife garden, complementing the historic centre of Buxton. My inspiration came from research into the benefits of such places generally, but especially to people with mental health problems and sensory impairments. I felt that by creating a sensory wildlife garden, the volunteers of the Places and Spaces group of Buxton Civic Association would …make a little difference to the quality of life in Buxton. The garden now has seating and is a suntrap, enabling people to sit and relax. It is also a haven for birds and insects, bees and butterflies in particular. The small area of wildflower meadow provides a new, attractive and diverse habitat. The Water Street Sensory Garden project has received considerable support from the community, illustrating what a small, determined group of volunteers can achieve. I have appreciated the unwavering support of Buxton Civic Association throughout this project.


A Walk In The Woods “To dwellers in a wood almost every tree has its voice as well as its feature.”

From Under the Greenwood Tree by Thomas Hardy words Simon Fussell After several days of rain, the weather gods relented momentarily, the evening sun warmed the damp air and in the shelter of the woods the wind was calm. Perfect for BCA’s Member's Guided Walk around Corbar with our new Chairman, Peter Phillipson, as leader.

A large sign welcomes you. The welcome sign at the entrance to Corbar, with a picture of people enjoying the woods is important. The woods are a home and refuge to flora and fauna and a vital recreational resource for the people who live in and visit Buxton. People need to use them respectfully, enjoy them and learn to love the different shades, shapes and sounds that come with the seasons.

Corbar – a plantation wood. Like many other woods in Buxton, Corbar is mainly a plantation wood, but there are traces of the ancient woodland that it once was. We set off to look at a part of the wood that is clearly plantation. This involved a bit of scramble uphill, passing a den built by children during the summer holidays, an activity that reaches back through the generations and is part of the woodland landscape. Pausing to catch our breath and to look around, we could see beech trees, regimented, growing in lines, planted by the 6th Duke of Devonshire and his successors. This was to hide the scars of quarrying and perhaps to balance the plantation at Grin Low, which served to hide the lime burning that had gone on for centuries on the hill above Poole’s Cavern. Though not native to the Peak District, the beech seems to do well, but its size and the spread of its canopy means that there is little in the way of under storey. Vital life giving, growth enhancing light struggles to make any headway through the dense foliage and branches.

The importance of light. Move a few metres to a space created where a beech tree has come down in a storm or been felled, then the difference is marked. Light floods in, photosynthesis works its thrilling chemistry and the once dormant soil awakes and fills the space with plants and mosses.

This is the way with woods. They are living. They change with the seasons and with time. There is as much life under the ground and above. Fungal hyphae spread everywhere and link with each other, communicating by chemical signals. All the centuries of death and decay lie dormant in the soil waiting for a chance to spawn new life. Just as important as light is dead wood. The tree that falls or is felled becomes a host for fungi, invertebrates, bacteria and plants. A vital source of food and habitats without which the wood cannot remain healthy.


Photos Thanks to Ros Westwood at Buxton Museum and Art Gallery

Leek Road, Buxton: A Case of Persimmon vs Landscape words Andrew Wood Friends of the Peak District Planning Officer I confess I fell a little under Buxton’s spell, living there for six days to work on the Leek Road appeal inquiry. My ten-minute walk to and from the inquiry venue took me across the Pavilion Gardens, in beautiful spring sunshine (usually), admiring the heavy-lidded architecture that seems to somehow have been carved straight out of the rock and formed its own version of civilisation. This short but hypnotic love affair was made all the more poignant by what I was there to do battle against: those dogged purveyors of distinctive, exciting developments, Persimmon Homes. Forgive my mocking tone, but it highlights the irony of the situation.

Woodsmanship so different from forestry. For thousands of years human beings have understood this. The ancient woodlands so valued and prized for their biodiversity were once common to every parish. The wood was managed to provide raw materials for the villagers. They used the natural processes and had a deep understanding of the ways of the wood, handed down through the generations. In Corbar there are remains of a ditch and bank constructed to keep grazing animals out, and evidence of coppicing. A beech tree that had died had been pollarded and left standing as a source of food and nesting sites for woodpeckers feeding on the invertebrates that in turn feed off dead wood.

Bluebells provide an historical clue. Corbar’s beautiful secret is the spring display of bluebells, further evidence of its long and ancient history and its symbiotic relationship with man. Bluebell seeds do not travel far, unless helped on their way by animals. They spread slowly, perhaps only a few inches a year. Their extent in Corbar marks out the age of the wood.

The walk ended at Corbar Cross. There we stopped for a few minutes and looked down on the town. The sun was setting and in the fading light the buildings glowed softly, the woodlands providing a beautiful natural setting for the wonderful architecture and heritage of Buxton. The woods are part of a network of vital corridors allowing wildlife to move in and around Buxton.

Without the woods Buxton would be a different place. A lesser place, different and harsher. We should celebrate our natural as well as our built environment and Buxton Civic Association plays a vital role in both.

The appeal concerned an outline development for 120 homes on an unusual, bowl-shaped fragment of a once much more expansive area of pasture land between Burbage and the junction of Leek Road and Macclesfield Main Road. From within the site, the grander hills loom over you, denoting the boundary of the National Park. Make a fifty metre ascent to the east or west of the site, and you immediately see how it stands in a pivotal position, defining the relationship between town and country. The application was refused by High Peak Council last year, on the grounds that it would cause an unacceptable intrusion into open countryside. In their appeal case, Persimmon took what we might generously call a creative approach. It’s worth looking at their tactics in some detail. Firstly, they tried to re-open decisions made by the Local Plan, which was adopted in 2016. The site was rejected as a site allocation then, despite Persimmon’s protestations, because it was deemed to be unsuitable in landscape terms. Considering the emphasis that Government places on local authorities having an up-to-date Plan, it is disappointing but unsurprising that developers are unwilling to take ‘no’ for an answer. Secondly, they put forward a perverse interpretation of a particular policy in the Local Plan. This policy allows for the possibility that small, unallocated sites may come forward during the life of the Local Plan, on the edges of settlements, and these could be considered for development if they meet strict criteria. It’s self-evident from the Plan that this policy was never intended to give an opportunity for large sites, rejected when the Local Plan was being prepared, from having another bite at the cherry. Thirdly, Persimmon suggested that any greenfield development will inevitably be an intrusion into the countryside, so you can’t judge one proposal against another on that basis. This is plainly nonsense. The amount of ‘inevitable’ intrusion has already been established by the Local Plan and the settlement boundaries it marks out. And the scheme was refused because the intrusion was deemed ‘unacceptable’, meaning judgements were made about the location and nature of the intrusion. Finally, the appellant sought to downplay the value of the landscape that would be harmed, suggesting that if land is not within the boundary of a National Park, or other landscape designation, then it cannot be considered to be valued. Again, this is a dogmatic misinterpretation of national policy which has already been given short shrift by the courts. But it’s a deeply worrying idea. People place great value on all kinds of landscapes, all over the country, depending on their context, their history, how they use them day-to-day. If planning was only empowered to consider landscape value in the small proportion of land protected by designations, our relationship to landscape would be greatly impoverished. Reflecting on the inquiry after it closed, the more I think about it, it’s very clear to me that a victory for Persimmon at Leek Road would have been a travesty, and a diminution of what planning is supposed to be about. We once again extend our thanks to everyone who donated to our fundraising appeal to help us fight this case.


The Limehouses of

Burbage and Grin Low Limehouses were an unusual and perhaps unique form of habitation. The three surviving limehouses are extremely rudimentary but remain an evocative part of the social history of Buxton. On this page is an example of an early print. There is also a small watercolour in Buxton Museum. John Leach, historian and writer of the History of Buxton, has kindly given permission for an extract from his article on limehouses to appear in our newsletter.

The Burbage Magazine of 1863 recorded that, “ A very sad incident occurred …at Dove Holes by the falling of a room cut out of the lime ashes by which two women and two children lost their lives. We should be very thankful we have no such accidents to note in Burbage where lime huts used to be all too common.”

The kilns can clearly be seen in William Martin’s view of Buxton from Fairfield engraved in 1796 before the hill was planted.

In the 1841 census limehouses are recorded in Burbage with occupants from 12 to 70 years. Labourers, limepickers and widows. At least two of the limehouses were single-celled units, which, in 1841 housed a total of five people. An 1855 survey refers to tenants in Lime Ash Cottages but there are no references in the 1861 census.

The surface of the lime tips became very hard while the centre remained relatively soft, making it very easy to excavate a habitation under a very hard, waterproof roof.

By the middle of the nineteenth century they had become a social disgrace and so the Duke’s agent, Mr Wilmot (1856 - 64) had the occupants rehoused.

French geologist Faujus de St.Fond wrote in 1784 “…the whole tribe, like so many moles, had formed their residences underground …I felt much pleasure in visiting the houses of these troglodites.”

In 1977, F.Morgan described the limehouse to the rear of No. 37 Macclesfield Old Road as the best preserved in his Preliminary Account of the Limehouses in the Buxton Area.

Grin Low Hill is composed of the very fine Beelow, carboniferous limestone. Lime burning has taken place since, “Time out of Mind” (1662 Chatsworth Archives).

Buxton’s first historian, Arthur Jewitt (1811) acknowledged that, “these hovels as they are, have different pretensions to convenience and even beauty.” Whilst the houses probably repelled rainwater, they must have suffered from ground damp. This may not have been, however, any worse than some of the poorer stone cottages. Reference to chimneys indicates the use of fires which were necessary for cooking and heating.


Rhodes (1818) described the roofs of the limehouses, “which are partially covered with turf and heath and not infrequently a cow or an ass takes a station near the chimney on top of the hut.”

“It is cut out of a rounded waste heap about 10’ in height. The roof has fallen in around the entrance but the interior takes the form of a rectangular room… There is an opening in the left hand (eastern) wall which may represent a former window hole.” On the hillside above, and behind No 49 Leek Road, is another, but it is not as well formed. Limehouses Near Buxton – Extract from an article for the Buxton Archaeological Natural History Society Bulletin No 17. Spring 1994 JT and JR Leach Photo Thanks to Ros Westwood at Buxton Museum and Art Gallery

The Best of

Buxton Limestone and Wildflowers

words Alyson Phillips An interview with Carol Vize Carol has been a member of BCA for over five years. “It’s important to show off Buxton’s natural beauty, especially the wildflowers in the fields and alongside the traditional stone walls each summer. They make you feel ten again with the same freedom to explore. They make you feel invigorated.” A childhood spent in Harpur Hill means that the flowers Carol searches for are those that grow on limestone outcrops like those near Solomon’s Temple. “Children are physically closer to flowers like harebells, egg and bacon, buttercups, sweet violets and purple spotted orchids.” Carol feels that as the countryside is so easily accessible from everywhere in Buxton it is integral to our way of life. “I can’t name all the flowers but I can go to the places where I know they appear each year. They need protecting when new housing developments are planned. New housing results in the loss of dry-stone walls too. They are so much a part of Buxton.” “The hills that surround Buxton have always been part of my life and I realise they are an important part of the history of the area. The Bronze Age burial mounds at Staker Hill, the tumuli at Staden Lane and ‘Skellybob Wood’ at Fairfield, frame the town and some knowledge of this history makes the landscape so much more interesting.” “The Crescent redevelopment is important but it doesn’t blow me away like the loss of simple workers’ cottages because these are the homes of the people who worked in the quarries. The limehouses at Burbage are not magnificent like the Crescent but they are more important to me. Quarrying has always been in my family, back to my Great Grandfather who worked in Grin Quarry. It’s always been our bread and butter so why can’t we have a monument to this heritage and learn about the lives of these people too?” “The land around Buxton has been quarried for hundreds of years but nature is reclaiming it on Grin Low and creating its own unique beauty. It’s the lime tips from the old kilns that provide the nutrients for the wildflowers that give me so much pleasure today. Flowers at eye level to children mean they still ask, ‘Do you like butter?’ as they hold a buttercup to your chin to check. There’s a magic in being close to nature and if you start as a child it’s a connection with nature that lasts a lifetime.”


The Best of

Buxton The Hidden Secret of the Pavilion Gardens words Steve Phillips Imagine a beautiful summer day - hardly a blade of grass not covered with people enjoying hot sunshine in our fabulous Pavilion Gardens. Just like the Good Old Days! The Victorian railways brought thousands of visitors, seeking entertainment, to the Pavilion Gardens; its theatres, bandstand, skating rink and boats. Victorian ladies and gentlemen in their finery would wish to be admired promenading along Broad Walk. Naturally noone in workers’ clothing was allowed on this prestigious thoroughfare. Admission charges to the Gardens were beyond the means of most, so local people adopted the Serpentine Walks, beyond Burlington Road, which the 7th Duke gave to the people of Buxton to enjoy for ever. For free. Less known is the Duke’s later gift of a piece of land, enlarging the Serpentine, specifically for horticultural use. For decades Serpentine Nursery produced plants for the Gardens and public places. It had a proud time wartime role too in our ‘dig for victory’. Owing to cheaper imported plants, the nursery drifted into dereliction until four years ago. Then the Council granted a licence enabling the area to prosper now as Serpentine Community Farm (SCF). On Wednesdays and Sundays volunteers go there to work and enjoy. They represent a wide section of the community – all ages, needs and abilities, people who simply love the place. Visitors arrive in increasing numbers to take a look round and maybe take away the local produce, flowers and seeds to grow. SCF is addressing climate change by testing out what will grow in Buxton. Plants from Central and South America, which survive extremes of weather like quinoa, tomatillo and achocha are being tried there. Seed diversity is promoted to combat increasing reliance on decreasing food diversity. The saving of the banana from a single plant at Chatsworth is a reminder that disease can decimate a species and why we need these heritage varieties. Historically SCF was probably considered part of Lismore Fields. Exhibits at Buxton Museum reveal that our Neolithic ancestors gathered right there at the Fields to trade cereals and exchange seeds. Hundreds of years later seeds still feature in the continuing legacy of the place, a wonderful place in the heart of Buxton.


Places And Spaces Report from the Places and Spaces Group This group has successfully changed the eyesore of land left from the demolition of the old public toilets in Water Street. The group notes that Jon and Di White, along with John Evans and John Aherne put in time over the summer to ensure that the BCA Sensory Garden was ready to be enjoyed as soon as planning permission had been granted. Huge thanks are due for all those extra volunteer hours. The garden will be maintained by the group. The group organised successful walks and talks for Heritage Open Day on geology, Burbage coal mines and the history of BCA. A member of PAS, Richard Patrick wants to raise awareness of local Regionally Interesting Geology Sites (RIGS) including fossils, chert and coral on Holker Road and used this opportunity to promote our local geology. We continue to wait for confirmation about the planting of new street trees with discussions still ongoing with HPBC about the best species to plant on the Market Place. A member of the public raised concerns about the state of Buxton Cemetery at the Charities Bazaar. Buxton Cemetery is being managed by subcontractors and the Places and Spaces group will monitor the site and will report back to the Board. Councillor Madeline Hall, Corbar Ward, is launching an initiative to look at allowing verges to be sown with wild flowers and only cut once a year. We will consider leaving the verges at Poole’s Cavern as part of the ‘Wilding of Buxton’ too. With no news on the High Path it has been once again added to our list of Vulnerable Sites. Memorial benches have been given to Poole’s Cavern by Friends of Buxton Station (FOBS). It was agreed to thank FOBS and circulate details on social media to find out if the original owners of the benches want to participate in an opening ceremony.

Places and Spaces at Play

The Best of

Buxton and Beyond

words Lyn Noble It all began last Christmas with a “mince-pie meander” around Lightwood and Corbar Cross for members of BCA’s Places and Spaces group. A pleasant social occasion taking a less known route on the edge of Combs Moss. Starting on The Old Tennis Courts with reminiscences about the old girls’ school we chatted our way past Nestle’s new water source, the old pumping station and the site of Lightwood Reservoir. It was difficult to picture this beautifully re-wilded area as one of Buxton’s main water supplies. Then decision time… back the way we’d come or up? No contest, fifteen minutes and several pauses for breath later we were on the edge of Combs Moss admiring the view and enjoying mince pies and hot coffee. The rough “path” round Flint Clough and along the edge took us over to Corbar Cross where cold hands confirmed it was time to drop down through the woods and back home for… you guessed… more mince pies! The cry was “We must do this again” so we did. This time it was a summer stroll around upper Lathkill Dale. The forecast wasn’t promising and as the rain lashed down at breakfast time I did remember my e-mail, “with enough rain we might see the resurgence of the river Lathkill from Lathkill Head Cave”. But the Places and Spaces bunch are hardy. So, down to Monyash and into the Dale where the sun came out and we speculated about the origins of the thinly bedded limestone and the dry valley. Further down was an area of limestone pavement… a mini version of the famous one at Malham. Then down past the (dry!) cave and through a veritable wild flower garden with impressive displays of mullein and the remains of Jacobs Ladder. A steep climb and more pauses for breath took us to the northern rim of the dale where a barely visible path led through wet grass and heavy showers to Ricklow Quarry. Dare we admit to a slight feeling of superiority as we looked down at walkers in the valley!? The quarry produced crinoidal limestone, polished for decorative use in 18th and 19th Century buildings. An easy return across sunny, flower-strewn hillsides led back to the Bull’s Head at Monyash and the end of another enjoyable morning. A Puzzle as a postscripit - Why Does it Always Take Longer? Walkers may remember “Naismith’s Rule”. It said when planning a route allow 3mph (or 2mph if carrying a heavy rucksack) then add 30 minutes for every 1000ft of ascent. The rule made no allowance for pausing to admire the view, panting for breath, puzzling over the map, eating your packed lunch, plastering your blisters etc. Many of us spend more time doing this than walking! WW Naismith was a Scottish Mountaineer who invented the rule in1892

Here Be Dragons Words Tara Hornsey Saunders – Babbling Vagabonds This summer Babbling Vagabonds took us on an adventure into the unknown to reignite imaginations on a trip to refresh the senses in the splendid ‘secret’ of Grin Low Wood. Best of all they needed help from young woodland adventurers. At the ‘Creature Carers’ Camp at the Buxton Fringe Festival they discovered the wonderfully weird and woolly, the slimiest and smelliest, and those shy secretive creatures that slither and wobble about in our wonderful world. The zany zoologists taught about what to look out for, how best to be calm and what tale to tell. Working together they created a new story that may tempt out a five-headed HottleSpottle or uncover the lair of the Big Bottomed Banghanger. Here Be Dragons! was just what a family needs and where family memories were made this summer in Grin Low Woods. Huge thanks to the Babbling Vagabonds. 9

Living on the Edge An Interview with BCA Director Lucy Marsden Best of Buxton for Lucy is the easy access to the countryside which she especially enjoys near her home in Burbage. “I can just walk a few minutes and I’m out on the moors or in woodland.” Her favourite walk is near Burbage Edge, along the disused Cromford and High Peak railway line that crosses the top of Macclesfield Old Road as it becomes a track. “I rarely see anyone up there and, at dusk, there are hares, grouse, pheasant, rabbits, toads, stoats and this year hundreds of butterflies. You can see the whole of Buxton, Solomon’s Temple, the circle of woodlands and the Dome nestled in the middle.” Lucy works for Buxton International Festival (BIF) which provides an opera, music and book festival each July, and smaller festivals and outreach work throughout the year. “The best of the Buxton Festival this year was the opera about the scandalous life of the 5th Duke of Devonshire’s wife. The specially commissioned opera ‘Georgiana’ was a sell-out, with people wanting to see it repeatedly. It attracted audiences that aren’t into opera because of the local history that intrigued and fascinated them as well as the costumes and creative and imaginative silhouette set design.” BIF generates huge income for our town. It is a charity and has to fundraise for everything achieved. Lucy is a professionally qualified fundraiser with degree-level qualifications from the Institute of Fundraising and BCA is very fortunate to have her as a Director. “If there is a worthwhile project there is a fundraising stream to support it and I like to find it and submit an application for the charity. It is important to me and Buxton.” She recently supported Simon Fussell with the successful application to trusts like the Bingham Trust for the BCA Sensory Garden in Water Street. “Volunteering, at this stage of my life, while still working, is important to me. My experience working previously for Blythe House Hospice, in fundraising and communications, made me realise that charities don’t work without volunteers. Getting involved widens your interests, you get a deeper understanding and you do make a difference.” Lucy has worked in the charity sector for over twelve years. Recently, while walking her dogs in her favourite woods, she decided to give time to BCA the charity that both looks after these woodlands and raises awareness of the heritage of Buxton. BCA owns and manages nine woods in Buxton and Lucy likes to contrast the long climb up through Buxton Country Park with the tranquillity of Gadley woods (off St John’s Road) where you can have a short walk in a rural space so close to town with the meandering river, stepping stones and huge canopy of leaves from mature trees. And a best place? “I didn’t want to be cheesy and say Solomon’s Temple because it is chosen so often in interviews but it’s mine too. Solomon’s Temple is a jewel in Buxton’s crown that would certainly be missed. Having a dog makes you walk in all weathers and Buxton can be beautiful in unpredictable weather. It makes each walk different like the two rainbows I saw over Burbage recently. I love it when the snow outlines the trees and I make the whole family go sledging. But my favourite season is definitely the summer and the Buxton International Festival of course.” 10

Our Archive We are getting to the end of our archive scanning project. If you have any old documents, newsletters or minutes of meetings from the early days of BCA please contact Frank Emerson with a view to having them included in our scanned archive. Mobile: 07480101640 email:

Our Website We are hoping to include plenty of your Buxton images on our new website. If you have photographs you would like to share please email: and they will be included in the new photo archive.

The Old Bridge By Peter Allsop

I love to stand on the old bridge And stare in the water like a heron; Finny trout hang in the sluggish current As if suspended in dark space: The dancing water lulls me to thinking. I love the coolness, the clarity. Sometimes I catch shadows there Or mischievous sunlight daring to dance On the rippling surface. There used to be voles, worn dark holes Can still be seen in the muddy bank Where the brook turns a bend, but They are gone now, and I miss them. I used to count them as I ran From home to my Grandma’s cottage. Thirteen once, then their luck ran out.

Elves Needed Another chance to volunteer … ELVES NEEDED. Costumes provided in a range of sizes! Please contact Poole’s Cavern if you can help with our hugely successful and really busy Santa’s Grotto.

BCA Stall BCA stall, organised by volunteers from the Membership and Communities Group, at least three times a year.

I sometimes stare into the moonlit water Watching the orb bob and stroke the coiling Surface, watch the river of stars glitter and dart Like a shoal of tiny silver fish. The river talks of owls with eyes darker Than the coal black night, of flittering bats Taunting the darkness with their noiseless chatter. The river hymn mutters Oblivious of time’s outstretched hand Dreaming only of ice, roots and bones A cold fish-eyed dragon realm. Then my thoughts glide on the water and Swirl beneath the bridge And are finally lost around the bend Where the alders hand their arms Above the current.

Talks & Events

Poetry of Peter Allsop

The Catastrophe of Bare Peat Speaker: Robbie Carnegie

Peter spent much of his childhood with his grandparents who lived in a cottage in Gadley wood and many of his poems go back to his feelings about nature, the streams, birds animals etc. He read widely, especially about folklore, ancient nature worship etc. Peter died three years ago. Thanks to Rod McKay for the photo of this painting by Mary Carpenter

November 21st at Poole's Cavern Visitor Centre, 7.30pm December 19th at Poole's Cavern Visitor Centre, 7.30pm Members Social Evening TBC: See Website January 19th at Poole's Cavern Visitor Centre, 7.30pm Breaking Stone - Two Prisoner of War Camps near Buxton Speaker: Alan Roberts


News From Our Groups Woodland

Planning and Environment

Monitoring of tree disease indicators sadly shows that Ash Die Back is rapidly encroaching across all our woodland but is especially prevalent across central Grin Low wood. Woods manager, Kevin Thomson, has been plotting the areas of disease to ascertain the long term impact of the loss of the ash population and the rapidity of tree loss. Mature beech trees are also showing signs of a disease that is spread through the soil. The removal of trees succumbing to disease is paramount. There will be significant cost implications.

See our current comments in full on our website and the HPBC portal.

County Tree Officer, Ruth Baker, has met Alan Walker, Kevin Thomson and Peter Phillipson to survey the woods. Advice from the Forestry Commission about an action plan to mitigate the effect of tree loss by replanting alternative species, creating opportunities for natural regeneration and monitoring and creating environments for potentially disease resistant trees to flourish will be followed. Kevin will work with schools and the Serpentine Community Farm to collect local seeds and raise them in a number of locations so that they can be re-planted in our woods. Volunteers continue to work with Kevin twice a month on the second and last Mondays. Autumn jobs include cutting and raking the glade areas, clearing ash regeneration and pulling up vegetation from the rides to stop encroachment and open the canopy. Proposals were made by Peter Phillipson for a new BCA Biodiversity Group. This will meet local concerns about issues connected to the conservation of biodiversity in and around the town, outside of our woodlands. This will be set up as soon as is practical.

Membership and Community See Talks and Events for more details The website is being updated and while we wait for the launch of the new site the old site continues to be a popular news feed for our rising membership, now on the way towards 600 members. The eNewsletter was a successful addition to our summer activities. We have enjoyed having stalls at the market and Charities Bazaar as these raise our profile in the town. We are offering a student membership and will have a stall at the Fresher’s Event at the Dome. We are looking for volunteers to help with the revision of the ‘Ring of Trees’ walk.

Leek Road – HPK 2019/0225 Application for houses on land adjacent to limehouses which are Grade II listed. Since BCA commented, the developers have contacted us about the limehouses and have now informed us that the application is likely to be refused and they will consult us should a new application be submitted. Buckingham Hotel - HPK/2019/0620 Redevelopment of the Buckingham Hotel, the demolition of the hotel, the erection of a replacement hotel building (95 beds) with substantial basement parking. Decision – Refused. Cowdale - HPK/2019/0097 Nestle Spring Water Pipeline. Members of BCA have visited the site. We have very detailed comments on the HPBC Planning Portal. Decision - Pending. Leek Road - HPK/2017/0110 Leek Road Housing Estate. Planning Inspection did not support this resubmission and planning permission was refused. See article on page 5, ‘A Case of Persimmon Versus Landscape.’ Market Place Development - HPK/2018/0462 Redevelopment of old Cattle Market. Current application withdrawn. White Knowle Road/ land off Fern Road HPK/2019/0088 Outline permission for Centre for Social engagement for adults with learning disabilities and difficulties. Application withdrawn. Parkwood Leisure – Victorian Conservatory. This remains a concern with a second petition showing local disquiet. Plant care has now been subcontracted to a local company owned by Jo and David Holloway (organisers of the Buxton Garden Trail). It will take time for new planting to replace the existing hot house display. There are also concerns over the state of repair of the Conservatory itself which remains the responsibility of HPBC.

Management Team General Manger Alan Walker Woods Manager Kevin Thomson Communications Simon Fussell

Volunteer Directors Chair of Board and Woodlands Peter Phillipson Secretary and Corporate Affairs Martin Wragg Treasurer Brian Shawcross Funding Lucy Marsden Planning and Environment Andy Banks Community & Membership Mike Wilde Helen Haywood Newsletter Alyson Phillips Heritage Adam Bench Community Arts Sarah Males

Corporate Affairs including Manager’s Report July and August saw our highest recorded visitor numbers. Santa’s Grotto events over 12 dates at weekends in December have sold out. The café continues to make a major contribution to our income. Staff training will improve the efficiency of sales in the shop.

To volunteer for any of these committees please contact Simon Fussell: communications@buxtoncivic We really enjoy reading your articles about Buxton and publishing your photos in our newsletters. Our next issue will be about 'Water'. Editor Alyson Phillips


Buxton Civic Association Poole’s Cavern Visitor Centre Green Lane Buxton SK17 9DH t 01298 26978


Registered Charity in England & Wales Reg. No. 258163 Design • Layout •Photography Bob Bohme / Lucy Marsden


Profile for BCA1967

BCA Newsletter Summer 2019  

BCA's summer newsletter on the theme of the best of Buxton

BCA Newsletter Summer 2019  

BCA's summer newsletter on the theme of the best of Buxton