In a series of posts focusing on the magic of AIRR’s home in Wirksworth, we hear from Beth on one of Wirksworth’s unique community spaces – Stoney Wood and the StarDisc which sits on top of this reclaimed quarry.
“The Stardisc is a beautiful 21st century stone circle, a monument to the stars envisaged and created by local artist Aidan Shingler.
“Throughout my life I have been enchanted by the mystery and magic of the stars. My interest in the stars lies with our emotional response to them; their power to ignite our imagination and sense of wonder. The inspiration for the StarDisc stems from a vision to create environments where people from all walks of life can gather, contemplate, and connect with whatever resides beyond the sphere of our world. The StarDisc is a temple without walls.'” Aidan Shingler 2011
More can be read about the Stardisc by clicking here
I’ve been walking up to the stardisc a lot over the past few years, pregnant I used to walk up there and back, and then with pushchairs and now walking with my two children. It’s up hill all the way, it’s situated at the very top of The Dale/Greenhill in Wirksworth, the tremendous 360 degree views over Middleton and towards Derby are truly worth the effort!
To get there you can walk up the dale, or up the Greenhill, which is a bit steeper, or you can start at the gates to stoney wood which is based on the road leading to Middleton. This is a good one to do on a lovely day! Don’t forget your kelly kettle for a wild coffee! From here you can get a good feel for this amazing community based space. A millennium wood planted by the children of Wirksworth.
‘The idea for the project goes back to a visit made to Wirksworth’s French twin town of Die in 1994. in a village near to Die; visitors from Wirksworth were shown round the ‘Foret Giono’ where much of the tree planting had been done by local children. The project had been inspired by the writer Jean Giono’s story of a solitary shepherd who replanted mountainsides with trees. The book – ‘The Man Who Planted Trees’ had inspired the wood in France and this project in turn gave impetus to the project to reclaim the quarry-tip in Wirksworth.’
There’s a fire pit and lots of running space, with a great view of the stone figure of 8 hidden amongst native trees and wild flowers, if you walk across the open green space towards the bridge you will find a beautiful stone labyrinth, children love this part, learning how to walk the labyrinth and making a wish in the middle!
Carry on up the hill follow the path that ends at the community orchard, a beautiful area of fruit trees! I recommend opening the gates and exploring this bit! (No dogs here though!) once you’ve enjoyed the orchard with your back to the gate turn left and follow the path that wonders past the peace pole and the newly installed picnic area both created by chainsaw sculptor Andy Frost.
In fact this walk is a very special one to do, Stoney Wood is a beautiful space which has become a base for lots of community events, such as celebrations at the end of the Wirksworth arts festival, and a rendition of Shakespeare’s ‘mid summer nights dream’ a few years ago.
Stoney Wood is looked after by the Stoney Wood Group, a team of volunteers, on behalf Wirksworth Town Council. For more information about the group and how to get involved please visit the Stoney Wood Group’s pages on facebook.
Right at the top of the path, with its wonderful rooftop views of the surrounding areas you will find the Stardisc, it feels so sacred, like an open air cathedral. There are seats placed round a large disc displaying the stars above, I like to sit at the seat nearest to the sculptors tools to remember my great granddad by, but as you will see there are plenty more spots to sit! (youll have to go up there to see what I mean)
Look out for the ‘little dog’ and ‘the poop’ ! You can also get an even higher vantage point if you climb the steps to the viewing area at the top where you can see right into the old disused quarry.
There are lots of other amazing things to discover up there, but I’m going to leave it to you to spot them. Let us know what you think if you decide to take a stroll up there! It’s quite breezy and chilly up there at this time of year so you will need to wrap up warm. There’s lots of lovely warm ethical coats available in AIRR’s shop at the moment too if you’re in need of a new winter coat! You can find out what the shop has to offer here.”
To find our more about the StarDisc look at their website here and follow on Twitter and Facebook – @theStarDisc