Well Dressing is a Peak District tradition, in which wells are decorated with natural materials, such as flower petals, moss, fruit skins and seeds to create intricate and visually stunning designs. 


Wirksworth has celebrated the once Pagan custom since 1827, to celebrate the first piped water into the town. It continues today as a unique spectacle for locals & visitors.
It is believed Well Dressing began, as a Pagan custom to make sacrifice to the water gods. People believed that without this sacrifice, the water would no longer flow and lead to famine.


​For centuries, human and animal sacrifice was made, thankfully over time these traditions ended and were replaced with garlands and branches being draped over the wells. Today, each year Wells are hosted in various places around the town and much more intricately designed than in Pagan times!

Calling all Locals!

We all have a desire to make the Well Dressings bigger & better.

Get together with: 

Family & Friends



We had 10 wells 2014 & we hope to have more in 2015 - watch this space!

Contact us for information on how to showcase your


The Stages of Well Dressings:

Galvanised nails are hammered into a wooden frame to keep the clay from falling off.

The boards are soaked to prevent the clay from drying out too rapidly once it has been applied. 

Clay is mixed with salt and water, known as 'puddling' and spread over the boards.

Each organiser has decided on a design and this is traced onto the clay by pricking holes through paper onto the clay, to mark the outline of the design.

The outline is then marked in the clay with alder cones or black lichen.

The first laid on the design are dry and non-perishable such as lichen, cones, seeds, feathers, fruit peel and bark. Later, fresh leaves and flower petals are added such as lime, beech, ivy, yew, privet, hydrangea and evergreens.

Find out more about Well Dressing visit: Wirksworth Heritage Centre or Discover Derbyshire

Special Thanks goes to Margaret Pearson, organiser of the Well Dressings.

​Well Dressings


23rd ​- 25th May 2020