When it was forced to close by COVID-19, on 17 March, there was huge uncertainty whether Creswell Crags would be able to reopen again.

Run by an independent registered charity, Creswell Heritage Trust, the closure meant a loss of all income. Now, in the most significant of a series of emergency financial support measures, the National Lottery Heritage Fund has given the site a lifeline, in the shape of a £250,000 grant. It is one of only three sites in the UK to receive the maximum pay out from the fund.

To read more visit Creswell Crags website.


Fantastic flowerpot sculptures are set to adorn homes, gardens and streets in Palterton as we are staging a Flowerpot Festival in the village this August.

Residents are being asked to make their own flowerpot characters and it is hoped that the zany celebration will bring out the creative side in young and old and also encourage people to explore their neighbourhood to see the spectacular displays. Cow flower pot sculpture

Cabinet Member for Partnerships and Leisure, Councillor Mary Dooley said, “We want to bring a bit of cheer back to local communities and what better way than a fun competition that gets a whole village celebrating together.

“The flowerpot festival idea came about after one of our officers had seen it in Settle in the Yorkshire Dales and thought ‘why can’t we do that’? So we are trialling it in Palterton this year with the hope that it will take off and we can then extend it across Bolsover District for 2021.”

Residents are being asked to complete an application form and display their flowerpot characters for two-weeks from 24 August 2020. And depending upon the number of entries a trail handbook will be available to download with details of where to find the creations.

Two workshops are due to be held on Friday 31 July from 1-3pm and Monday 3 August from 10am-12noon at Palterton Village Hall so residents of the village can see how to make the sculptures and get involved.

The characters will be judged by Council Chair, Cllr Tom Munro and the winner and runner-up will receive prizes to spend at local businesses as part of the Council’s Shop Local – Spend Local campaign.

The event is being supported by Scarcliffe Parish Council, Glapwell Nurseries and Sarah Bennett from Nature Explorers Derbyshire.

For more information contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. on 01246 242364.


Poet in Residence, Hannah Cooper-Smithson, will release a new video and writing challenge every week in June.

Creswell Crags, is best known for its prehistoric archaeology and caves, but it is also a source of creative inspiration: from Ice Age cave art to modern day writers. Now you can take part in a writing workshop inspired by Creswell Crags from home.

Hannah Cooper-Smithson, who is working towards her PhD at Nottingham Trent University, has been the first ever Poet in Residence at Creswell Crags since January. She had hoped to run a series of workshops at the site, which would have included writing in its famous caves. However, Creswell Crags closed due to COVID-19 precautions on 17 March. However, Hannah still wanted to run the workshops, and has been hard at work designing an online version. Hannah Cooper Smithson

Hannah says, “I’m delighted to be able to launch this series of workshops inspired by my time spent at Creswell Crags as Poet in Residence. I adapted these sessions from workshops I’d planned to deliver at the Crags, so that they can be available to you at home. Hopefully I’ve managed to capture the spirit of the Crags, so that you can be inspired by the combination of nature and heritage that makes the Crags so unique, and so special. I’ve designed the programme so that it can be completed from home, and you don’t need any previous experience of writing poetry. If you’ve ever wanted to take a poetry class, or if you’ve been writing poetry for years and are looking for some new inspiration, please get involved!”

The series of four workshops will be launched on 1st June. Creswell Crags, which is run by a registered charity, recently warned that it is in danger of not re-opening due to the financial impact of the COVID-19 closure and loss of visitor income. Hannah is not charging for the workshops, but asks for a suggested donation of £5 to Creswell Crags via their JustGiving page and hopes that this will make a difference to the prospects of a site that means so much to so many people.

Rebecca Morris-Buck, Communications and Programmes Manager at Creswell Crags said: “It’s been a delight having Hannah in residence with us since January. She’s become a member of our team and we’ll miss her when her residency is over. It’s a real shame that she couldn’t run her workshops in person, but we’re excited to be able to offer them online. Hannah is particularly keen to stress that poetry – and nature poetry especially – should be accessible to everyone, no matter whether you think of yourself as a poet or not. And that’s what we love about Creswell Crags: it has the power to move and inspire people from all walks of life. It’s also brilliant that Hannah is doing this to help us raise money, which is so important to our future prospects. We hope lots of people will participate in, and really enjoy, the workshops.”

Access the online workshops and watch an introductory video here and the first workshop will go live on 1 June.

You can also donate to Creswell Crags to help threm through this difficult period.


The well-loved museum and visitor attraction recently warned it could face closure due to Coronavirus and launched a fundraising campaign. Now, Charles Hanson has stepped in to help, with a live online auction.

Creswell Crags is run by an independent charity, with no external funding since local council grants ended in early 2020. Entirely reliant on public income from tours, school visits, café and shop sales and museum entry, it is in a desperate financial situation due to the COVID-19 closure. A recent grant from Historic England has helped keep the organisation going through lockdown, but the bigger challenge is having the money to open the doors again. The site, famous for its limestone caves, is home to the only verified Ice Age rock art in the UK, extensive evidence of habitation by early humans and prehistoric creatures such as woolly mammoths, and also more early modern protective ‘Witch Mark’ engravings than anywhere else in the UK. It is a renowned beauty spot, known for its scenery and wildlife. Charles Hanson Auction

Hearing about the site’s plight, Charles, best known to the public as a regular on TV’s Bargain Hunt and Antiques Road Trip, has offered to run an online charity auction from his Derbyshire garden shed to help raise funds.

In April, Charles raised £38,000 for the NHS through a garden shed auction with lots donated by celebrities such as Drew Pritchard from TV’s Salvage Hunters and actor Neil Morrissey. In June, he will host an auction for London’s Florence Nightingale Museum, which is also in dire straits due to Coronavirus.

But Creswell Crags, which is located on the county border between Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, is particularly close to home for Derbyshire-based Charles, who toured the site when filming Antiques Road Trip.

He said: “Creswell Crags is a rich and crucial part of Derbyshire’s heritage and a place I very much enjoy visiting. When I heard about its plight, I simply had to do something to help secure its future at what is a tremendously difficult time for us all. I was overwhelmed by the support I received for my NHS charity auction, broadcast in lockdown from my garden shed, and I hope people will rally round to help save Creswell Crags. Please tune into the auction, donate lots, bid and help me ensure this wonderful tourist attraction is saved for future generations to enjoy.”

Paul Baker, Executive Director of Creswell Heritage Trust said “We’re very grateful to Charles and his team and very much hope people will get behind this auction to support us, both in terms of donating lots and bidding on the night. Since we launched our fundraising campaign in mid-March, people have been incredibly generous with their donations and their supportive words. We’ve been humbled by how much love there is for Creswell Crags, both in the local community, and beyond.

“With no visitors, we have no income but we do have ongoing costs in terms of maintaining our visitor centre and large outdoor site, and conserving our collection. Even with most of our staff furloughed, fundraising is still an essential part of ensuring our survival. We’ve been grateful to our landowner, the Welbeck Estate, for a rent holiday during lockdown, and have secured some emergency funding, but our future is still not secure as we look to the costs of reopening.

“In 2019, we made international news with the discovery of our Witch Marks in Robin Hood cave, and we were awarded the Large Visitor Attraction of the Year at the local tourism and hospitality awards. Our site is famous worldwide for its Ice Age rock art and archaeology. But we are a small charity and we very much needed to be self-sufficient to survive. We can’t be self-sufficient without visitors, and we’re not sure when and how we can welcome them back in significant numbers. Even if we can open later in the year, we’ll have missed our busiest trading season. We don’t know if social distancing will allow us to resume tours and school visits for some time to come. Until then, public kindness and generosity is one of the ways we’re staying afloat. To have Charles’s support, in hosting the auction, but also in sharing our story more widely, is absolutely fantastic and a real boost to everyone who loves Creswell Crags.”

Lots for the auction are now needed. Creswell Crags has been delighted with some initial generous support from donors such as the Welbeck Estate, experimental archaeologist James Dilley, and local sculptor Rachel Carter. Rachel said, “The landscape at the Crags is a source of great inspiration for artists throughout the ages, and I, like so many, have used its natural beauty to both showcase my sculptures and inspire new sculptures. If I can help secure this vital resource for future artists to enjoy then I know I’ve done my bit." It is now hoped that others will rally round to donate items or experiences to help secure the future of one of the most important heritage sites in the UK. The deadline for lots to be offered is Friday 19 June.

The auction in aid of Creswell Crags is due to take place on Friday 3 July at 6.30pm. To donate a lot email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Donations can also be made to the Creswell Crags JustGiving Page.


We have set out an ambitious plan to deliver up to 400 new homes across the District over the next four years as part of our social housing building programme.

The home building initiative, called Bolsover Homes, forms part of our Local Plan to achieve sustainable growth and create a prosperous and flourishing district. Houses at Hill top in Shirebrook

After much scrutiny, we awarded a contract to local contractor, Robert Woodhead Limited that will see a new partnership formed to deliver the new homes. The investment will inject in the region of £32m into the local economy.

The partnership will provide a collaborative approach to plan social housing to meet local needs, in the right places with the right mix of house types for families, older people and people with additional needs.

The homes will be fit for the future, built to high sustainability standards, keeping bills low for tenants and reducing the carbon footprint of the District.

Commenting on the partnership, Council Leader, Steve Fritchley said, “This new partnership is one of the biggest we have undertaken to date and signals our ambition to inject new life into the economy. By investing £32million it will help provide work for local companies and jobs for local people.

“The properties will provide new, high quality affordable social housing right across Bolsover District and they will be built to the Lifetime Homes standard. This will ensure they contain features to make them easily adaptable for people with mobility issues, meaning that homes can be adapted to accommodate people’s needs instead of people having to move to an adapted property as they do now.”

The first batch of homes are currently being planned and could start on site as soon as autumn 2020 with more in the pipeline in other locations right across Bolsover District.

Robert Woodhead Limited are based just 10 miles from Bolsover. They have set a target to invest heavily in the local area by spending locally, sourcing 80% of subcontractors within 20 miles of sites. They have a strong track record in delivering high quality homes, having worked previously with us to deliver 103 homes, securing two awards along the way.

Glenn Slater, Chief Visionary Officer at Robert Woodhead Ltd said, “Its fantastic news to secure this long term programme with Bolsover District Council. They are a forward thinking Local Authority with a clear plan that has communities, the environment and the local economy at its heart. This is very much aligned with how we work.

“It's great that we can continue our relationship with Bolsover Homes for another 4 to 5 years, delivering much needed affordable homes for local people, by local people.”

Furthermore, the commitment to a programme of work will enable the contractor to deliver significant social and added value. A range of apprenticeship and training opportunities will be created. This includes a specific focus on providing opportunities for people not in education, employment or training (NEET) boosting skills and providing jobs across the District.


Arts contacts

  • Tel: 01246 242424
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