Friends of Raikes Road Burial Ground

With kind support from Skipton Town Council.

Summer/Autumn 2014

On a sad note, we have had our first theft.  A rather splendid sculpture (see left) which was laid against the Heaton/Smith gravestone was taken in July.  If anyone sees anything like this on sale on the internet or anywhere else, we (and the Police) would be glad of the information.

The following work has been done as part of the Restoration Project, which runs to February 2015:

Mammal Survey


This took place on 12/13 July when Members of the Mammal Group set 50 traps, the Wildlife Explorers helped to open them and record the mammals caught.  In total, they recorded 6 Field Voles, 4 Bank Voles, 6 Common Shrews and, remarkably, 2 Water Shrews.  The latter are uncommon in the north of England and certainly weren’t expected.  A “Bug Hotel” was also constructed which will make for interesting future monitoring of guests!



The tree work was finally undertaken and the diseased ones were removed and others had crowns lifted and deadwooded.  The remaining trees will have more room and light to grow and we will be looking at a tree planting scheme to replace the ones we have lost.

Grave Survey

In May, the Friends undertook a full survey of the gravestones, under the auspices of Dr. Paul Norman.  The aim of this work is to plot each gravestone so that we have a plan which will be very useful for visitors and Friends alike.


This plan is still under construction and further information will be given in the next newsletter.

Ann Hanson (Yorkshire Mammal Group) introduces members of the local RSPB Wildlife Explorers Group to a bank vole.

New Footpath


The path has finally been installed with the help of the Community Payback Team.  This was undertaken on a number of weekends and the photographs shows the final result.  The team used the original route as closely as possible, bearing in mind that a maturing tree was on the route.  Many thanks to the team and their supervisors.

Footpath nearing completion. Footpath under construction. Janis Heward & some of the team on the mortuary excavantion If anyone sees anything like this on sale on the internet or anywhere else, we (and the Police) would be glad of the information!

Janis Heward, archaeologist, and her team led the work.  Janis is the Project Director of the Bordley Township Project and she and her team, together with some of the Friends, did an excellent and professional piece of work for us.  We were very excited to find a flue, some finds yet to be catalogued, and an indication that the mortuary has rubble infill.  The team also exposed the far corners of the roof and future work will identify remaining stones running from these corners to the boundary wall.  This work was important for a number of reasons and further details will be given in future news items.

Gravestone Robbery

Mortuary Excavation


In August, a two-day excavation of the mortuary site took place.  This was an underground building with an entrance from Raikes Road and all that was left was the mound, which was the roof.  We wanted to know if there was anything to be seen of the roof and in particular, for future visitors, that there wasn’t a large void underneath, making it a health and safety risk.  The interim site report can be found under the News menu or by clicking here.