And then there’s the folktale filming…

Our “Folktales of South West Peak” project isn’t finished, but we now have about forty minutes’ worth of film on my colleague Tim’s website, Peak in the Past. It’s free to download at

The grant we received for this work was specifically for traditional stories from the south-western part of the Peak District, which comprises a north-western sliver of Derbyshire, the hills of north-east Cheshire, and the northern part of the Staffordshire Moorlands. My 2011 Folktales of the Peak District included only four stories from this area among the total of 62 in the book, so when we were awarded the grant I had to learn a lot more – in a hurry! Anyway, anyone who wishes can now click on the foregoing link and enjoy the work of our two cameramen, Bobby and Dave, who recorded me telling the stories in the places to which they belong. Bobby edited his own film footage; Dave has had the help of an excellent film editor, Nick, with whom he’s worked previously. Tim managed to find artists who’ve painted pictures to illustrate the stories, and these have been interpolated in a well-judged manner into the film sequences. I think they’re good, and they enhance the product.

There’s more to come. We spent a day last summer filming in Lud’s Church, a remarkable natural feature in North Staffordshire that couldn’t help but generate a wealth of stories. Dave’s and Nick’s compilations from that outing will be on the aforementioned website soon. I’ve also audio-recorded another five or six stories that in due course will be accompanied by drone camera footage and, we hope, more artists’ illustrations.

It’s been quite a demanding project for everyone involved, including me, but it’s rewarding to see the fruits of our labours – some of them, anyway – on the peak in the Past website. I might now write the stories for another book, perhaps to be entitled More Folktales of the Peak District, to which I can also add a few from outside the South West Peak area. Maybe Amberley Publishing, who released my 2011 collection, will be willing to take it on. I shall inquire…

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