This is an archived press release
Monday 20 June 2011
Ashbourne students will become time-travellers in March to find out what it was like to explore the wild reaches of Dovedale in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Swapping podcasts and apps for old manuscripts and engravings, some 60 gifted and talented students from Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School will conduct fieldwork throughout Dovedale to compare tourism then and now.
The 12-14 year-olds will trace the footsteps of early travellers such as Daniel Defoe, Celia Fiennes and Victorian travel-writer James Croston, who in 1876 described the Dove “rushing down with an angry force, foaming, roaring and splashing on its way.”
Another 30 students will create linked artworks, and the project will culminate in a sustainable tourism exhibition at the National Trust’s Ilam visitor centre in May.
The project is organised by the Peak District National Park’s learning and discovery team on behalf of Buxton Museum and Art Gallery.
Anna Rhodes, assistant collections officer at Buxton Museum and Art Gallery, said: “I really like the linking of old with the new, it adds a relevance to the museum collection and helps put it in to context.”
Steve Riva, of the national park’s learning and discovery team, said: “Tourists, writers and artists have long been inspired and thrilled by Dovedale. They often faced dangers, including deeply pot-holed tracks that could overturn a stagecoach, terrible weather, getting lost, or robbed and abandoned in remote and wild places.
“Their descriptions and paintings may seem wildly exaggerated to us but accurately represent the feel of Dovedale to earlier visitors. Students will compare this with their own impressions and work as teams to produce Dovedale guide booklets in contemporary and historic styles.”
Their work will be exhibited at the National Trust’s Ilam Hall Visitor Centre from May 13-23, supported by the Trust’s community and learning officer for the White Peak, Ken Sharples.
In a linked project, Buxton Museum will transform Dovedale into an open-air picture gallery from April 22-May 2, with a “Pictures in the Landscape” exhibition.
And Derbyshire Museums manager Ros Westwood will lead a guided walk in the footsteps of writers, artists and scientists inspired by Dovedale, including Izaak Walton, Smith of Derby and Lord Byron, on April 30.