Repost from April 2012 due to the old blog being removed, I have now learnt that the lights have been changed to white on the Wirksworth StarDisc so a revisit may also be on the cards.
I’m always interested in finding new and interesting locations that have impact and haven’t really been “discovered” yet photographically. As much as it’s hard to resist some of the cliché locations where I still try and put my own twist on them there is a certain satisfaction of going to a not well visited location and making your mark, maybe even putting it on the map and on everyone’s radar.
This is where my little Wirksworth StarDisc project comes in, open since 2011 it is still relatively unknown to the public and I only found out about it when asking a friend for local locations that may be of interest. With that said when he told me about it, I penned it in as a “must shoot” and felt it would be good for a sunrise/sunset. However, when revisiting idea’s I then thought it’d be silly not to try it at night, it is after all there to celebrate the night skies.
Just a little bit about the Wirksworth Stardisc first, before the pictures taken from their website. Conceived and designed by artist Aidan Shingler, this 21st Century Stone Circle and Celestial Amphitheatre is intended to inspire, entertain, engage and educate. Aidan says “Throughout my life, I have been enchanted by the mystery and magic of the stars. The inspiration for the Wirksworth StarDisc stems from a vision to create environments where people from all walks of life can gather, contemplate, and connect with whatever lies beyond the sphere of our world. The Wirksworth StarDisc is a temple without walls.” The Wirksworth StarDisc spans 12 metres. Carved into black granite is a star chart that mirrors the northern hemisphere’s night sky. The surface of the stone circle is inscribed with the constellations, their names, and a depiction of the Milky Way. Black stone has been chosen to evoke the darkness of deep space. Contrasting with the star chart is a perimeter of silver/grey granite on which 12 seats are positioned. The seats denote the months of the year. By night, 72 lights illuminate the Wirksworth StarDisc, powered by our nearest star – the Sun.
The Stardisc is located in Wirksworth, just outside the Peak District close to Matlock Bath. Finding it is a little difficult and it isn’t sign posted. Approaching from Cromford you need to take a right at the car park after the petrol station. You’ll enter almost immediately a narrow gap which is tight to get through that then allows you to go either left or right, which way you take doesn’t matter as it is a big loop but I recommend left as it’s less narrow and steep and seems to be the general consensus for all traffic. Be warned, both ways are narrow and steep and only allow one way traffic an alternative is to park in the car park at the bottom. The Wirksworth StarDisc is located by the side of the road Green Hill and is marked by what looks like a gravel drive to a car park with a big solar panel, you can’t however park here. Parking spaces are limited and questionable; you could either park on the road where it is just wide enough for two cars or further back at a large turning point. Of course you shouldn’t park in a turning point but as it is doubtful anything large enough to need a turning point could get up the road in the first place. However please be advised you park at your own risk with no designated spaces to park, if you feel uncomfortable with this please park in the marked car park at the bottom and make the walk up!
On arrival it instantly becomes obvious why it has been built where it has. It has great views (though I have yet to visit in the day!) and while in very close proximity to Wirksworth my fears of light pollution were quickly dispelled because for where it is there are a lot of stars visible to the naked eye.
So far I have visited three times with an aim of getting the shots I wanted. This first shot is mainly to demonstrate the engraved granite map depicting the map of the stars being lit up by the vivid purple solar lights.