In the South East sector of Rawtenstall Cemetery lies a large wooded area divided by a track, but wide enough for motor vehicles.
Both parts are overgrown with brambles, have trees in need of management and very few native plants. Civic Pride Rossendale are starting to change all that.
In 2018 a small band of volunteers cleared the area to the West of the path running from Hurst Lane to Alder Grange school. The few balsam that returned the following year, were ruthlessly cleared and work started on the Peaceful Plot.
There’s only a small window of no more than a few weeks when the balsam is tall enough to uproot but has not yet flowered. If caught at this stage it’s a simple matter of pulling it up, breaking its stem and leaving it to rot.
In 2019 several acres of it were cleared prior to it seeding. Since then, dead branches have been removed, brambles torn up and native seedlings carefully planted.
There’s still a huge amount to do but in the winter months we’ll concentrate on preparing the adjacent area by removing the dead wood, brambles and other detritus. This will provide an easier area to work with next year.
Our vision is to return the area to a wild area, covered in foxgloves, primroses, teasels, cowslips, ivy, geum, bellflower, heather and other native species. We want it to be a haven for bees, hover flies and other pollinating insects in addition to birds, bats, small mammals like hedgehogs and amphibians like toads. Piles of branches are being left to provide a natural habitat whilst bat and birdboxes are also planned.