A Peaks geography teacher has launched a brand new documentary series all about the beautiful landscape of our national park.
Having spent the last year writing, filming, and editing the historical documentary himself (with help from friends) the four-part series premiered to a private event of 50 people at the Ancient Friends Meeting House on November 12 and is now on sale in the Peaks.
Creator of ‘Stories in Stone: A Landscape History of the Peak District’, Byron Machin, 31 said the ‘passion project’ was his way of sharing the moorlands with as many people as possible.
He said: “We live in the most beautiful place in Britain. I have experienced so much in this wonderful landscape, that I had to share it."
Byron, from Leek in Staffordshire, made his first documentary on the history of mining in the Peak District in 2011, which was slightly more specialist, said Byron.
He added: “It’s been four years and I have now created my opus! It's been a way of getting my love of the Moorlands to as many people as I can. Long may its secrets and hidden places enchant us."
Large parts of the documentary were filmed around Buxton, from dramatic starling Murmurations and secretive badger setts to the roman baths and nearby ancient stone circles, which Byron filmed and presented almost completely himself, only enlisting the help from a friend when he needed to be in front of the camera for a moving shot - otherwise he used a tripod.
He said: "Special note must go to Patricia Myers; she is my best friend and has been the only other person to film for the documentary. When I have been walking around, down a cave, up a cliff, she has been there to film me! So whenever you see me in front of the camera and the image moves its Pat behind the lens."
Byron told: “The series traces the landscape of the Peak District back through time and the seasons looking at fascinating personal histories, ancient archaeological remains, folklore and legends, geology and exceptionally rare wildlife.”
The film-maker added: “I have lived in the area for my whole life and my wealth of knowledge comes from a great passion for this dramatic landscape.
“I needed to do something really special. It took a while for the idea to materialise, as I have to be impassioned to make something, and now I really can’t believe I’m here now saying it’s complete. For the last two years it has been nothing short of an all-consuming obsession.”
And comparing himself to the naturalists of the victorian golden age of science, his style, wonders, ‘meandering across the landscape looking at the wildlife, history, archeology, folklore and geology’.
So the series incorporates a huge amount of information, from the life of a badger sett just outside Buxton to the exploration of mines near Matlock, the lost railway of the Wye valley and the legend of Sir Gawain.
The film-maker added: “All of these make a landscape, it’s an amalgamation of everything living or inert that has shaped its existence.
The ancient Celts had an expression “Genius Loci”. It means “Spirit of Place” and the Peak District is a living form of this. After 31 years of my life spent as part of this place I have chosen my personal gems to tell just a small part of its intricate story."
See a trailer of the ducmentary series by searching Bryon Machin on youtube.com, DVD box-sets £15 from Brierlow Bar Bookstore neat Buxton, Picture Book in Leek and other local shops, and online at sevenstonespublishing.blogspot.com.
The teacher and film-maker’s next project is to complete some extensive research on the Wild Orchids in the national park.