Dovedale

One of the pleasures of coming to the Dovedale Literary Festival is the pleasure of being in Dovedale itself:  the view across the valley of the River Dove over the hill from Cheadle with clouds settling in the valley;  the walk over the fields to Ilam in the morning;  walking up Dovedale;  and looking across the valley to Hazelton Clump:-

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Trees

We went on a morning walk up Dovedale, punctuated by talks about the trees by Thomas Pakenham, the great tree expert.   We began with the ash and the alder and a description of the difference between natives and invaders post-1500.   Then we had information about the origins of the Horse Chestnut – the false belief that it had come from Istanbul whereas it really came from the border of Greece and Albania.   And about the resilience of limes and their ability to reseed themselves:-

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Pipes in the Peaks

I have been once before to the surreal garage on a hill on the edge of the Peak District which contains the best and most spectacular collection of cinema organs.   Even a second time, it makes a big impact:-

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Pipes in the Peaks

The highlight of the festival was an evening at the local garage.   I had been to it in the morning to try and buy a paper.   Nothing had indicated that it contained a huge array of mechanical organs, including one called Pipes in the Peaks which had originally been installed in the ABC cinema in Derby and was acquired by the garage in 1999:

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Dovedale (2)

In the intervals of listening to Matthew Parris and John Carey, we escaped to the local hamlet of Stanshope, where there is a good Georgian front to an earlier house:

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Poppies in the gardens:

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Dovedale (1)

We first came to Dovedale about five years ago.   We were amazed how well preserved it is, a pocket of deep countryside, stone walls, steep wooded valleys and old field systems, the first of the National parks, with no postwar buildings.   Since then, we have been coming regularly to the Dovedale Arts Festival, which was held four years ago in a barn and two years ago in a local hotel.   This year, it is again being held in a barn in open country north of Ilam.   We arrived as the sun was going down:

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