Friday, 29 July 2011

LImeyards Stories

The Limeyards are a stunning area in the grounds of Calke Abbey (Calke) in South Derbyshire. Over several hundred years the land was quarried and the stone roasted in limekilns and an area that must have looked like a dusty nightmare landscape developed. Now it has been left and the wild has reclaimed the place to give a series of sunken arenas, woodland glades, dark reflective pools and others of clear, clear water

I am involved as a storyteller, looking at creating a set of activities that people can download and use to shape a wander through the Yards so that they can build new stories as they go....

To start us off, here are a couple of stories from a pilot project a year ago, more will follow...

Travelling in Time:
remembering what might have been….

Take away tall trees, small trees, and bushes and flowers
Take away woods and wildlife
Take away grass and leave only stone
Take away playing children
Take away people walking their dogs,
Take away birdsong
Take away peacefulness

Add horses and carts
         And thick grey smoke
Add boulders and rocks and crushing machines
         And fires and firewood and dust
Add hard working children
Add noises
Add loud bangs, crunching, neighs and clops and shouting
Add workers trudging through the tunnel
Add naughty children sliding in the snow
Add lanterns in the evening to light the way home

Dame Catherine Harpur’s School pupils

The Satyr’s stories:

“I was born out of the need of old stone and tree roots for a voice.

I began as an idea, shaped by water running through stone in deep caves, gathering a body for myself out of long lost bones, out of stranded horns and hooves and left-over memories. My flesh is earth, my skin grass and bark, my blood the mineral rich, crystal-growing streams of limestone darkness

Now I am here, playing the music of the wind, listening to bluebells ring, and the slow singing of carp in the cold pools. I am the watcher in the woods, the touch of the breeze, the rustle in the undergrowth. I am the shadow that slips away.
Always here. Never seen.”
Gordon MacLellan 

The Satyr’s stories:
The Calling Song
With the fire of foxes, come
With the endurance of limestone, come
With the persistence of tree roots, come
With the passion of orchids, come
With the excitement of children, come

And where the cliff
Crumbles into the grass;
Past Gilbert’s stone
And Sir Henry’s Yards;
Past Engine and Portobello and
Sad Molly Wootton’s Hole;
Beyond Perch Pit and
Over the Limeyards Flats

By the cold, carp depths
Of Blackwater
We’ll watch the moon rise over Margaret’s Close
and gather the woodland on the dancing lawns at
Ridings Nook

Gordon MacLellan


A dream died at Engine Pit,
On a long slow day of misery.
A hoof slipped, scrabbled, caught
And slipped again, wheels sliding.
A hand reached, caught, pulled, and reached again
But the wagon tilted, toppled,

Its load shifting, pulling over,
 Pulling down and Peacock went
With it, desperate, into the
Cold water, deep water,
The delicate, tropical blue water
That claimed load and
Life and

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