A great day out at the Derbyshire Woodland Festival

countryside service staff showing a child how to use a pole lathe

11 September 2017

If you go down to the woods you might see tree art sculpting, England's only traditional clog maker, a horse driven gin wheel, bespoke hand crafted wooden furniture, a blacksmith and much more as part of our Woodland Festival.


Now in its 17th year the free event goes from strength to strength. This year it is held at Elvaston Castle Country Park near Derby on Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 September 2017. The country's leading craft experts descend on Derbyshire giving visitors the chance to see and have a go at traditional and contemporary crafts including:

  • hurdle making
  • handcrafted digeridoos
  • contemporary and traditional chairs
  • chainsaw carving
  • blacksmithing
  • pole lathe turning
  • willow and basket weaving
  • clog, barrel, coracle and paddle makers.

But crafts are only part of the story as there is much more on offer to inspire the whole family. Barry Patterson has been entertaining audiences in his guise as the legendary Green Man since 1991 and will be singing songs and telling stories. Children can have a go at campfire cooking, tree climbing and willow weaving. Outdoor types can learn about bush craft and fire lighting. And there will be demonstrations of forestry skills and tree grafting along with ideas on how to create and look after an orchard.

Stalls at the festival will be selling bespoke gifts, craft items and plants. Many of the items would make unique Christmas presents.

Hungry visitors will have a wide variety of food and drink to choose from − including vegetarian and vegan options.

A range of wildlife, heritage and tourism organisations will be on hand to provide information and there will be the opportunity to explore the parkland, woodland, lake, local nature reserve and formal gardens that surround the castle at Elvaston. The gardens are of national historic significance and listed as grade 2*.

Cherilyn Pride and family from Newark were first time visitors to the Woodland Festival in 2016 and will be back this year. Cherilyn said:

"The Woodland Festival was fantastic. We thoroughly enjoyed the wide variety of woodland crafts and exhibitions and learnt a lot about craftspeople's skills and talents.

"It was a brilliant family day out in lovely English countryside. I will be recommending the Festival to friends and I am looking forward to coming again this year."

Our Cabinet Support Member for Highways, Transport and Infrastructure, Councillor Trevor Ainsworth, said:

"Promoting Derbyshire as a global, cultural and tourist destination is one of our key priorities and events like this are all part of the county's unique visitor appeal.

"The Woodland Festival is always popular because there's something for all the family and we look forward to welcoming both new and returning visitors for a great event this year."

Entry to the festival is free of charge but special car parking charges apply - £8 per car and £4 per motorcycle per day. A £12 weekend ticket is available and payment is by cash only.

There are charges for some of the activities. Dogs are welcome on leads. The Woodland Festival is open from 10am to 5pm. A voucher for £1 off the daily parking charge is attached to this page. Get updates on the Woodland Festival on Facebook (opens in a new window).

Elvaston Castle Country Park can be visited all year round with opportunities for walking, cycling, horse riding, bird watching, picnicking, kite flying, photography and exploring the park and nature reserve. The buildings and gardens are both registered (Grade 2 and Grade 2*) as being of special architectural and historical interest.

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