Main content

Millstone

Episode 2 of 5

Derbyshire poet and climber Helen Mort reflects on the Peak District's Stanage Edge, famed for its millstone grit. Carved in situ, the millstones were transported around the UK.

Time and time again, the Derbyshire poet and climber Helen Mort is drawn back to the Peak District's Stanage Edge, famed for its millstone grit. Deeply satisfying to ascend, she reflects on how the millstones carved in situ were transported to mills around the UK. That is, until the fashion for white bread led to the bottom dropping out of the market, when British millers adopted the use of French millstones that didn't stain the flour a dull grey colour. Hence the rather surreal presence of finished millstones littering the cliffs below Stanage Edge, today a symbol for the Peak District National Park.

This is the second of this week's five essays in which writers reflect on how places that matter to them are shaped by the underlying geology.

Helen's latest collection of poems, 'No Map Could Show Them', celebrates the role of women in climbing, many of them overlooked pioneering Victorians who scaled the Alps in their hooped tweed skirts.

Producer: Mark Smalley.

Available now

15 minutes

Broadcasts

The Book that Changed Me

The Book that Changed Me

Five figures from the arts and science introduce books that changed their lives and work.

Download The Essay

Download The Essay

Download all the episodes from the series and listen at your leisure.

Podcast