Launch of the Bonsall History Trails! Sunday May 19th 2pm, Bonsall Village Hall

The Pig of Lead Pub, Bonsall

The Pig of Lead Pub, Bonsall

Telling our story: Bonsall History Project celebrates £9,300 Heritage Lottery Fund Grant with the launch of 6 history walk leaflets around Bonsall

Bonsall History Project is one of the first groups in the UK to receive a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) ‘All Our Stories’ grant.

After months of research and preparation the 6 walk leaflets are now complete and will be officially launched at Bonsall Village Hall on Sunday May 19th at 2pm.

To help the village tell its own story and find out more about the heritage of Bonsall the project has included research trips to Ruddington Framework Knitting Museum, the Black Country Living museum, Matlock Mining Museum, a landscape photography workshop, a social media workshop and lots and lots of walking!

On Sunday May 19th at 2pm villagers are invited to come along to a celebration and launch afternoon where they can collect their Bonsall History Trail leaflets.

There will be a display of photos and historic images of Bonsall and refreshments.

Peter Fellows of Bonsall History Group said:

“We will use the event to give a free set of six leaflets to each household in the village. The illustrated leaflets cover the historical development of Shops and Pubs; Lead Mining; Framework Knitting and Other Trades; Schools and Churches; Bonsall’s Landscape and Historic Routes through the village. They each include a walking map to guide users around each route. Everyone is welcome to the launch and we hope to give you the opportunity to find out something of why Bonsall has developed in the way that it has.”


Bonsall History Blog: A walk through history

Bonsall History Website

Bonsall Village newsletter Mutterings

Heritage Lottery Fund

Emma Sayer, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund East Midlands, said:

“Clearly the success of All Our Stories has reinforced the fact that we are indeed a nation of story tellers and that we want to explore and dig deeper into our past and discover more about what really matters to us. This is exactly what the grant will do for the The Bonsall History Trails and Leaflets Project as the Bonsall History Project embark on a real journey of discovery.”

Heritage Lottery Fund All Our Stories funding stream is now replaced by Sharing Heritage

Plough the fields and scatter – The Landscape of Bonsall Walk number 5

Ridge and Furrow field in Bonsall

Ridge and Furrow field in Bonsall – a remnant of medieval farming practice

In walk number 5, The Landscape of Bonsall, you can see examples of different archaeological features on view, some made through medieval farming practices.
One landscape feature to look out for is the ‘corrugated’ look on some fields, created because of the ridge and furrow method of farming.  There are a few of fields with a corrugated look dotted around the village. “Each field was divided into furlongs (long furrows), which in turn were split into strips. An individual’s strip was not in one parcel but scattered throughout the open fields to include both good and less-desirable land.” Ridge&Furrow2
 “As oxen, and later horses, trudged up and down pulling a plough, earth was banked up forming characteristic ridges and furrows.”.  Bonsall – A Village and its History
Horse ploughing - courtesy of Pegtop Farm, Woodeaton

Horse ploughing – courtesy of Pegtop Farm, Woodeaton

For further information on Ridge and Furrow in the UK see:
Plough Plays, mummers plays and the like were performed in January for entertainment:  “Twelve Night was the period of celebration between the Winter Solstice and the New Year until the Reformation. Farm work traditionally resumed in England on the first Monday after Twelfth Night (January 6th), which was the end of the Christmas season. This was the time of year when plowing began for the spring grains. This isn’t really the most appropriate time to plow in England, where the winter rains are likely to make the ground too wet, or even worse, it may be frozen. Still this was the custom”. For more information see
Here’s a lovely performance of an old Plough song…….

Bonsall Wildlife Talk starts at 7pm 16th February

Talk on Bonsall's wildlife - talk starts at 7pm

Talk on Bonsall’s wildlife – talk starts at 7pm

Sorry! the talk by  Dan Abrahams starts at 7pm and not 7.30pm – don’t be late (if you are it’s my fault!).

Bonsall Village Hall, 7pm Saturday February 16th


Discover Bonsall’s wildlife: Talk by Natural England at the Village Hall, Sat 16th February – all welcome

Bonsall Moor

Bonsall Moor

Natural England’s Dan Abrahams, Lead Adviser (SSSIs), is coming to the village hall to talk about why Bonsall is so special when it comes to landscape, flora and fauna. Dan will be telling us about the unique flora that has evolved on Bonsall Moor and other sites. “There are a number of SSSIs around Bonsall (Via Gellia Woodlands, Bonsall Leys, Masson Hill, Rose End Meadows). Via Gellia and Bonsall Leys are within the Parish itself,” Dan said.

Sat. 16th February. Bonsall Village Hall 7.30pm

Mountain pansies on Bonsall Moor

Mountain pansies on Bonsall Moor

From coral seas, through Ice Ages, tundra and wildwood to the Bonsall Moor of today we travel through a three hundred and fifty million years to trace the origins of the Bonsall landscape and the wildlife that it supports.

Leadwort on the spoil heaps on Bonsall Moor

Leadwort on the spoil heaps on Bonsall Moor

A Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) means the site is one of the country’s very best wildlife and/or geological sites. SSSIs include some of the most spectacular and beautiful habitats: in Bonsall this comprises of the species-rich limestone grassland on Bonsall Moor which supports unusual and interesting plants, parts of the Via Gellia woodlands and Masson Hill. Nearby in Cromford is Rose End Meadows and the Cromford Canal.

Wild Orchids

Wild Orchids


Saturday 2nd February visit to the Black Country Museum

Help us explore and understand Bonsall’s history by joining us on this outing to the famous Black Country Open-Air Museum, Dudley, Birmingham. You’ll not only learn more about the trades and businesses that once thrived in Bonsall but also discover the history of the Midlands area. The coach will be leaving from Bonsall for a whole day out there.

Black Country Museum of Living

Black Country Museum of Living

Black Country Living Museum is a remarkable place to explore .Set in a landscape of 26 acres, it is one of the most extraordinary open-air museums in the UK; offering a glimpse into 200 years of history.

Over fifty authentic shops, houses and workshops have been carefully reconstructed to preserve the character of the region when its manufacturers bought worldwide fame to Black Country Towns.

Take a trip on the tram to explore the canalside village, where you can meet and chat to the costumed characters. Explore the underground mine and experience the authentic sights, sounds, smells and tastes from the past.

There is a changing programme of demonstrations and events from metal working and glass cutting to sweetmaking ensures something to suit all tastes. Watch the silver screen flicker to life in the Limelight Cinema with silent films from the 1920s. Marvel over vehicles from the golden age of motoring and experience a real spit and sawdust Inn.



Landscape Photography in Bonsall

“Histograms, f stops, white balance, exposure compensation, coffee and hobnobs….”

Choosing the right 'f' stop

Choosing the right ‘f’ stop

It was bitterly cold last Sunday but the Bonsall Heritage Trails ‘Landscape Photography Workshop’ – lead by professional photographers Ian Daisley and Alex Hyde was a resounding success.

Stepping Lane, Bonsall

Stepping Lane, Bonsall

We met in Ian’s studio at the Via Gellia Mills and after coffee we were straight into a brief slide presentation on picture composition, followed by the professionals helping everyone get to know their digital SLRs. Nobody’s camera was left on ‘automatic’! For many of us it was a revelation – discovering the meanings of Exposure Compensation or Live View.

Reviewing photos

Reviewing photos

With a view to getting images suitable for use in the 6 Bonsall Heritage Trail Leaflets we set off for the most photogenic quarter of Bonsall – around the Cross, St. James Church and Stepping Lane.  Here we were able to put into practice the theory we’d been given in the morning. The weather had other ideas. But horizontal hail and a very icy Stepping Lane didn’t deter the dedicated photographers from getting some excellent architectural shots.

Checking composition

Checking composition

The group were then taken up the lane beyond Brumlea Farm to take pictures of stone barn typical of the Bonsall area. The light got better and everyone had oceans of space to combine the technical aspects of the course with the creative elements which the sunlit snow, fields and barn gave us.

Ian and Alex - photographers extraordiaire

Ian and Alex – our professional photographer leaders

Then back down to Ian’s studio for very welcome tea and a fascinating review of everyone’s captures from the day’s shoot and a very interesting introduction to image manipulation.  We all came away buzzing with new information and a lot more knowledgable about our respective cameras.

Thank you Ian and Alex for making the workshop so enjoyable and for sharing your skills.  To view all the best photos taken on the workshop visit our Flickr site

Thanks for reading this post – please send the link on to anyone else who may be interested….. 

Bonsall Landscape Photography Course: Sunday 27th January


Stepping Lane, Bonsall

Stepping Lane, Bonsall, Derbyshire

There are just 2 places left on the Landscape Photography Course! If you are a resident of Bonsall then you are eligible to come along. Contact Jon to book your place

The course will be given by local professional photographers Ian Daisley and Alex Hyde

All you’ll need is a digital SLR or high end compact camera. The emphasis is on a relaxed day with your camera in one of the most beautiful parts of Britain. Under the guidance of Ian and Alex, professional photographers, you will learn composition techniques, the importance of managing light and various camera controls so that you can make the camera do what you want it to at whatever level you are.

Researching for Bonsall History Trails in the snow



Bonsall covered in a mantle of snow, researching the ‘Historic Routes of Bonsall Trail‘, view of Bonsall from Stepping Lane, this path was rebuilt by German POWs.

Extract from ‘Bonsall  – A Village and its History’ published by The Bonsall History Project

“Because it was such a hot summer Evelyn Gration would often leave her newly-born daughter outside in  her pram to enjoy the fresh air. The German POWs, who had been separated from ordinary family life for so long, were enamoured of the little girl, and made a fuss of her, in German, of course. One of the POWs however spoke good English and Evelyn and her husband struck up a friendship with him, inviting him to their house for lunch on a number of occasions he was working in Bonsall. Wili Eberweuer had served in the Luftwaffe, and had been shot down over the English Channel. To begin with he had been sent to the United States to work in the cotton fields, but now, in 1947, he found  himself in Bonsall.”

Bonsall Trails Geology and Landscape Walking leaflet

Working on the first Bonsall Trails walking leaflet

Working on the first Bonsall Trails walking leaflet

Designer/Illustrator Jonathan hard at work on the Geology and Leadmining trail. Jonathan said “In years gone by the Lead Miners of Bonsall Moor would dig deep and follow rakes of lead – we’re going to do the same thing with Bonsall’s Heritage”.

In the Bleak Midwinter on Bonsall Moor

Part of the route of the Geology and Leadmining walking trail

Part of the route of the Geology and Leadmining walking trail

Bonsall Moor is looking beautiful and wintry today – lots of snow and lots of prints of hare, rabbit and fox.  There is a large white barn owl flying around at dusk too. The photo above leading up to Bonsall Moor, is part of one of the walking routes about Geology and Leadmining being devised as part of the Heritage Lottery Funded Bonsall Trails project. Highlights of this walk will be the numerous leadmines on Bonsall Moor and the rare flora that has evolved because of the geology and leadmining. The Bonsall Trails will be 6 walking routes with 6 themed leaflets to go with each route which will explore different aspects of the history of Bonsall. There are lots of activities and events planned as part of this project – have a look at the Programme of Events page on this blog to find out what’s happening.