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Derbyshire Woodland Festival – celebrating all things relating to trees

Published: 4 September 2023

Our Derbyshire Woodland Festival, now in its 22nd year, is fast approaching.

Vikings of Middle England at the Woodland Festival
The Vikings of Middle England are invading The Woodland Festival again to re-enact their times, crafts and traditions, including a living history camp and some combat.

It will be staged at Elvaston Castle Country Park on Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 September 2023, and is set to be a weekend of good value entertainment for all the family, celebrating traditional and contemporary woodland crafts but with much more on offer as well.

Professional demonstrators will be showcasing their skills. From wood carving, turning, willow weaving, and bushcraft, to furniture makers, tools, arts and sculpture, there’s lots to discover with opportunities to have a go at some of the crafts too.

And there’s outdoor theatre, storytelling, working horses, arts and crafts and much more.

Councillor Carolyn Renwick, our Cabinet Member for Infrastructure and Environment, said:

“I thoroughly enjoyed my visit last year to our Woodland Festival in the beautiful and spacious outdoor setting at Elvaston.

“I can understand why it attracts many visitors back year after year and I will be there again. There’s always something new going on in an impressive line-up of activities and the walkabout theatre looks like it will be great fun whilst encouraging us to look after the environment.

“The festival offers good value for money as you can take part in most activities free of charge. You can have a go at various crafts and perhaps be inspired to take up a new hobby, enjoy outdoor theatre and relax and watch skilled crafts people at work.

“I highly recommend it for a family day out – or perhaps make a whole weekend of it.”

New for this year is the Pif-Paf theatre company with their bee cart walkabout a fun theatre piece for audiences of all ages exploring all things bees and pollination including a chance to learn the waggle dance or get your nose pollinated.

Pif-Paf will also perform their Seed show – a surprising and inspiring hitch-hike on the journey from small acorns to great oaks with a Rockabilly Tree-Planting Anarcho-Nomad. Join Wilford, planting trees where he shouldn’t, is living in his shed and on the run from his past and his arch-enemies, slugs, that are out to get him for his contraband seeds.

And performers from previous festivals are back by popular demand. Highlights for this year include:

  • Vikings of Middle England are invading again to re-enact their times, crafts and traditions including a living history camp and some combat
  • Green Man storytelling and visual theatre
  • Bees & Trees are back with expert advice on orchards, pollarding and bees in woodlands
  • The Master Wheelwright demonstrating the making of traditional hand-crafted cartwheels
  • find out more about our Million Trees Project and what you can do to help reach the target of planting a million trees across the county by 2030 as well as other tree initiatives.
  • have a go at wattle and daub or thatching on a third scale timber frame Tudor house
  • shire horses – come and meet these gentle giants
  • wild food and campfire cooking demonstrations
  • the Fantastic Homes Van – offering home energy efficiency and domestic renewables advice in a fun, interactive and engaging way. Ask about climate change as well and what you can do to reduce your carbon footprint
  • traditional fairground – a selection of rides for all the family

There are stalls selling unique gifts and crafts and a wide range of refreshments including vegetarian and vegan options. All this and much more besides in a beautiful setting.

Special event charges apply and offer great value for money given that most activities are free of charge. The cost is £15 per car or £7.50 per motorcycle per day. A weekend ticket is available for £20. Payment is by cash only. Dogs are welcome on leads.

Look out for updates and follow the festival on Facebook.

For details of other events and the countryside destinations residents can view and download the Countryside Destinations and Events brochure.