Monday, 3 May 2021

Bluebells, books and springtime

Into the Bluebells

Make your own spring wildlife book

In the first of the Creeping Toad events for BCA’s Stronger Roots project*, we had a day yesterday In the Bluebells of Corbar Woods in Buxton. Sessions were booked and gave visitors time to stop, have a chat and make their own little book to take exploring deeper into the woods…. There are more Stronger Roots events coming up: there will be outdoors, adventurous, creative, sensible and, performance events (and none of those terms exclude any of the others!). 

Find out more:

Facebook: @BCABuxtonCivicAssociation

Twitter: BCA1967

It should at this point be said that it is much better for the bluebells if we stand beside them to wonder at their beauty, rather than go trampling through their smoky blue haze. It is also, safer for you: woodland faeries do not take kindly to people disturbing their flowers and as you go singing  "in and out the dusky bluebells" you may go in and not come out.....

For now, however, we thought you might like to make your own concertina book and go exploring for yourself!

You will need:

  • 1 piece of thin cardboard (about 15cm x 10.5cm)
  • scissors
  • glue or a gluestick
  • paper for the bookblock (see below)
  • pencils, wax crayons, coloured pencils, scrap paper…
  • if you want some line drawings to get you started, you could print off the pdf sheet here

Make your bookblock: this is the set of pages that make the body of the book. You might use a long strip of paper (A2 (flipchart sized) cut into quarters lengthwise works well and makes 4 books – or one very long one) or take a sheet of A4 (standard printer size) and cut or tear it in half lengthways. Overlap the ends by about 1cm and stick them together (see right)

Write a poem for a page?

Falling sky splinters
Into scabious and cornflower blue,
While tormentil nestles in the grass,
Droplets of sunshine on the green

the first fold should give you this

Concertina: fold your strip of paper in half and then in half again. Unfold it: this should give you 8 sections of about the same size. Use those folds as guides to now fold the paper into a zig-zag pattern. if you have made your block from a sheet of A4 it won't fold easily in half because of the overlap....just let one end section be a bit bigger than the will still work!

re-folded to make the concertina

Try an acrostic perhaps? 

M - many harvest mice hiding

I  - in the long grass, swaying,

C - curl up in careful nests

E - every night in safety. 

Now you are ready to write your book! It is easier to work on the book before you fit it into the cover. Work on one side of your paper. On your pages you might:

  • write
  • draw
  • add a patch of scrap paper and draw on that
  • make a pocket
  • do a rubbing
  • print
  • add a map
  • make a pop-up
  • think of something else….

printing and drawing

try a rubbing? add a patch?

make a pocket?

add a map?

When it is done decide if you are having 

a) a book that unfolds completely – stick one end page into the cover. You could now work on the back side of your pages 


b) a book that is fixed at both ends. If you are going for this, you might need to refold your concertina so it looks like the picture below

Cover: fold the card in half. Decorate the cover. Glue in the book block….Title? Author? Cover picture

Please, send us a picture of your finished book!

BCA Stronger Roots Project

“Our woodlands form part of the mosaic that is Buxton. Throughout the pandemic they have provided us with refuge, solace and recuperation. In the coming months our Stronger Roots Project will offer a series of free activities and workshops that will further improve our health, well-being and connections with nature. 

The project recognises the need to repair the ecological damage caused by ash dieback and the important part our woods played during the Lockdown. Buxton people turned to BCA’s nine community woodlands, our Country Park and SSSI for exercise, play, solace and spiritual refreshment. Their appreciation of and need for our sites highlighted the urgency of our work in nature care and nature conservation. This project will accelerate that, enabling us to reach more people faster, whilst responding to the ash dieback crisis. With our partners and the community, we will create flourishing woodlands with enhanced biodiversity and build ecological, social and economic resilience."

Find out more:

Facebook: @BCABuxtonCivicAssociation

Twitter: BCA1967

The Stronger Roots project is funded by the government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund. The fund is being delivered by The National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with Natural England and the Environment Agency.

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