History of Well Dressing

Buxton Well Dressing is an ancient custom celebrated mainly in limestone districts of the Peak District in Derbyshire. Thought to date back to Roman and Celtic times when communities would dress wells to give thanks for fresh water supplies. The tradition continues today in many towns and villages between May and September each year. Everyone from schoolchildren to grandparents pitch in to create living art installations made from flower petals and other natural materials. Designs feature everything from biblical stories to special anniversaries. Well Dressing festivals often coincide with carnivals and other special events.

Behind the scenes

Well Dressing is an art form which demands time, patience and team work. Individual petals are laid like roof tiles onto the clay in the boards. The scenic image slowly starts to appear. All this painstaking work takes about three days to complete by our many dedicated volunteers. Petals are applied inside St John’s Church.

Time Lapse Video courtesy of Anna Philips Photography