Poetry gets pride of place on Peak District benches

This is an archived press release

Tuesday 22 November 2005

22 November 2005

Poetry gets pride of place on Peak District benches

Wooden benches carved with poems celebrating the Peak District are being installed across the National Park.

The 50 benches - commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Peak District Ranger Service - each have a four-line poem written by members of the public focussing on the life and landscape of the National Park.

Twelve-year-old Rhiannon Jones, a pupil at Chapel-en-le-Frith High School, was delighted her poem was among the 50 chosen from 500 entries to adorn a bench.

She and her family went to see it soon after it was installed alongside the Pennine Bridleway at Roych Clough, near to Shireoaks Farm, New Smithy, near Chinley.

Her poem, written when she was still at Chinley Primary School, goes:

"Every inch I climb
Up the old oak tree
Makes me realise
How much nature means to me."

Landowner Mrs Mary Simpson, who welcomed Rhiannon, her younger sister Rowan, and parents Martin and Helena onto the farm to see the location, said: "I'm very pleased it's there and that people will benefit from using it."

Rhiannon said: "The poetry bench is in a nice place, near to the river with good views. I got my inspiration from climbing trees in the Peak District."

The family were accompanied by area ranger Ian Hurst - the National Park's longest-serving ranger with 35 years' service. He said: "This was a fitting way to celebrate the 50th anniversary - the benches will be there a long time, and the poems will add to people's enjoyment of the National Park."

Entries came from people of all ages, local and visitors, varying from the amusing to the inspirational. Judging was carried out by a panel of local farmers, walkers, a retired ranger and schoolchildren.

All the benches should be installed, with permission of the landowners, by the end of the year, each with a poem and a plaque identifying the author.

The Ranger Service was launched in 1954 at the Nag's Head in Edale, when Tom Tomlinson was appointed the first full-time ranger (then called warden) in the country. It now has 200 highly trained full- and part-time staff and many more volunteers, who lead guided walks, carry out conservation work and widen understanding about the National Park.

This is an archived press release

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