Dave Ashley of Belper and Duffield Rotary Club was strolling through Belper Cemetery and stopped to look at one of the more neglected areas. There were tree roots in some of the plots, headstones were strangled by weeds and brambles and it was impossible to see, let alone get to, many of the graves. A lady who was walking past commented that it needed some tender loving care.
Dave raised the issue with the Rotary Club to see what they thought. The general opinion was that the group should try to do some clearance work to tidy it up. They put out a call for volunteers via social media and over the first few weeks of the work they managed to gain a number of volunteers.
With support from Amber Valley Borough Council, who own the cemetery, they began work on the area immediately behind the chapels in July 2021. Generally the work entailed pulling out brambles to allow access to all the plots and to allow visitors and relatives etc to be able to identify individual plots. Several graves were uncovered from under several inches of earth and leaf mould, revealing a number of previously invisible graves.
As well as clearing the brambles and weeds they have sown a mix of wild flower and grass seed in the hope of creating a more colourful environment and one where the wildlife of the cemetery can thrive. They have also planted a number of spring flowering bulbs with the same intention. Dave says “Throughout we have been conscious that the cemetery is the habitat for a number of species of wild life and we have been considerate throughout to their needs.”
Members of the Belper Cemetery team have conducted some research into the grave inscriptions and have made this available for all. You can download here as a pdf to enjoy later.
Photographs on this page are under the ownership of The Rotary Club of Belper and Duffield.