In addition the Winter 2012 update (below) there have been a number of articles in the local press:
2012 has been a busy year, although you might not notice if you saw the Burial Ground!
The Friends’ Group is relatively newly formed, but there has been considerable interest in both the Group and the Ground, with a number of offers of practical help. Always much appreciated!
However, there is much to be done. Some work has been done such as tree planting in the past, but the Ground has not had any directed or sustained effort of work or restoration in around 130 years. In that time, much damage has been done to the stones, the buildings have disappeared and the Ground is unkempt.
But all that will change. This year has seen a concerted effort – led by Skipton Town Council and in particular, its Project Manager, Les Chandler – to bring the Ground back into Skipton’s heritage and start the process of bringing it back to some of its former glory with a view to access being given to the public in the future.
So far this year, a wild flower survey has been undertaken by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and also a lichen survey has recently been done. A tree survey has also identified a number of species (regrettably, an ash, so that will have to be monitored), but the trees are in need of deadwooding and some, a few cherries for example, will need to be felled. A large beech tree in the top right-hand corner (looking into the Ground from Raikes Road) has to be felled as it is diseased and this is a shame because it is one of the oldest in there and may pre-date the site’s use as a Burial Ground. However, we hope to be able to use some of the wood from it to form habitats for other creatures.
A gravestone survey was also commissioned which has identified a number of stones which need to be stabilised to make them safe.
A bat survey has yet to be done, but as part of the future work, it is hoped to install bat and bird boxes.
So things are happening and in the early part of next year, we hope to discuss the management plan with a view to getting working parties together.
Professor Mark Seaward of Bradford University undertakes a lichen survey (November 2012)