Show the Love & Beyond.

St Peter’s churchyard was decorated with green Show the Love, handmade hearts in February 2021. Trees along the paths and the railings were decorated by local people and groups. This was a community effort to join in with the Climate Coalitions call to #Showthelove for our world.

2021 is a very important year for the future of our planet with the UN Climate Summit COP 26 taking place in Glasgow in November.  We need the UK to ensure that the Climate Summit is successful and sets us on the path to a safe climate for all. Underpinning all of this is the imperative that global economic recovery is sustainable and doesn’t prevent us from limiting warming to no more than 1.5C.

Because of this the Climate Coalition are encouraging communities to have a Great Big Green Week in September as a call for action on climate change. Here are some of their ideas, ‘From local park clean ups and planting sessions, to concerts and community group stalls, you can plan events to suit your community. For guidance on how you can organise an event or green week, visit greatbiggreenweek.com

Already plans are being discussed in Belper and ideas being thought of. The date of the week is from September 18th – September 26th. Still hopefully plenty of time to plan. 

I have recently read Rob Hopkins book, From What Is to What If (Unleashing the power of imagination to create the future we want). It is full of inspiring stories of communities working together to improve their lives, the places where they live and helping to look after the planet. Rob emphasises how important it is to start by imagining the future you would like and then work out ways of helping that future happen.

We can all do something however small and lots of small things do make a difference. We can also join in collective movements to make sure our Government and local authorities know that we think the issue of Climate Change and the Climate Crisis must be taken seriously.

In the last two years I have changed my gardening habits and have tried to think of ways to garden to help wildlife. In the garden we can make a difference and some of what we need to do actually saves time and money. Last year we only mowed our lawn twice and in between allowed the grass to grow along with the daisies, dandelions and clover. One of the things that really bothers me is how many front gardens are paved over for cars. This could be mitigated with a few pots of suitable bushes and flowers to make a difference for bees and insects .

Another easy thing households can do is to stop using any sort of pesticide as this is harmful to all insects and other creatures who eat the insects. Last year I made my first wildlife pond in an old washing up bowl and then enjoyed seeing it regularly used by birds and frogs. A small effort can give a lot of enjoyment. This year I have gone a little larger by digging a bigger hole and using a liner. On one afternoon I watched starlings, blackbirds and sparrows taking turns to bath. One really important thing we can all do is to be untidy. When we do any pruning I now leave piles of branches under bushes and have seen wrens hopping about looking for bugs to eat.

More advice on gardening for wildlife can be found here, RSPB website and on the Wildlife Trusts website. Watching the birds, frogs, squirrels, bees and insects has given us so much pleasure during the last year of on and off lockdowns.

Trees of St Peter’s Belper


In the previous twelve months St Peter’s Church like other Belper churches has had to change the way it meets and serves the community. At times the building has had to remain completely closed. At the time of writing this, the church can open for two hours a day for private prayer and have a limited service on Sunday mornings. Most of the different church denominations in Belper have moved their services onto the internet with many now having their own Youtube channels. St Peter’s Parish Belper.

St Peter’s Church Belper

During this time St Peter’s has used its grounds and its trees as a way of bringing pleasure to many who walk through the churchyard on their journey around the town. This has included photographs showing the beauty of the natural world at Harvest Time starting in September 2020.

An Advent Calendar gradually appeared in December 2020, in the days leading up to Christmas. Trees were decorated by individuals and community groups with the organisation being coordinated by Belper Woollen Woods. As well as the items used to illustrate the Advent story, bible readings were also attached to the trees.

Trees were decorated in many different ways with people using wool to knit and crochet, copies of paintings by local artists, needle felted pieces, embroidered fabric, painted MDF and wood. A fantastic stable was constructed by Mark and Josh Gregory and this was gradually filled with the main characters from the Christmas story.

From an original painting by Fi Marks

In the month of January 2021 the trees were decked out with jokes, useful information and inspirational quotes.

In February 2021 the trees were decorated by people from the Belper community with Green Hearts. This was as a response to the Climate Coalitions ‘Show the Love’ (#showthelove) campaign, which is about using our voices to celebrate all the things we don’t want to lose, as a result of climate change.

There were so many fantastic hearts made by people of all ages, I decided to make a film about it and even in this it has not been possible to show every heart.

The season of Lent began on February 17th 2021 and prayer flags beautifully written by local school children were strung between some of the trees along the path.

There are plans ahead for an Easter display, and then from April 17th a POET-TREE trail organised as part of Belper Fringe by local poet Carol Brewer. More information can be found on the fringe website.

May 15th – 23rd, will see the trees dressed as part of 2021 Woollen Woods, as this year the woods come to town with trees decorated in both the Memorial Gardens, St Peter’s Churchyard, houses along Long Row and some shop windows.

St Peter’s church is happy to receive ideas from Belper people, please contact the church office for more information. office@stpetersparishbelper.org.uk

Dukes Quarries, Whatstandwell

I love walking along the Cromford Canal and this year have also started to explore woodland near the canal. It is possible to park near the Cromford Canal at Whatstandwell or in a couple of small parking places along Robin Hood Road. This area has a cluster of old stone quarries which started to be worked over 200 years ago. Most are now overgrown with trees and other vegetation, one however, Middle Hole Quarry is still working.

Belper’s Woollen Advent Calendar 2019

The idea for creating Belper’s first Woollen Advent Calendar came from seeing how the Six Streets Community in Derby organised  their window Advent Calendar. A different house unveils their decorated front window each day of advent. This is something that takes place in towns and villages up and down the country and the Eden Project have written a guide as to how to organise one.

In Belper we decided to do it differently for two reasons, firstly it was difficult to think of an area where there were enough houses with windows near the pavement and secondly we have so many groups and individuals who already enjoy the idea of Yarn Bombing. The trees chosen were in the main shopping area of the town along King Street, Campbell Street, Strutt Street and the Memorial Gardens.A list of trees was made with measurements, permission granted from all the relevant authorities and then an appeal put out on Facebook. In true Advent Calendar style 24 trees were decided on and these were adopted by shops, care homes, schools, churches, social/craft/news  groups and individuals. On November 30th  woollen squares with the numbers 1-24 were attached to the trees and leaflets were placed in shops, the library, cinema and churches. The leaflet informed the reader who had made each tree, gave websites and titles where they had been chosen.The Belper Woollen Woods facebook page was updated each day with that days tree. Each tree was unique and delighted the Christmas shoppers in the town. The trees will stay in place until January 5th so that people can have the opportunity to see the completed Community Advent Calendar.

The Advent Calendar has been a fantastic Community project with some truely amazing trees. A huge THANK YOU to all who were willing to be part of this.

1 Belper Nailed editor Clare Washbrook.    https://nailed.community                                              This tree included hats & scarves for people in need.

Chronic Creatives                                                  www.facebook.com/groups/chroniccreative

3  U3A Charity Crafting Group www.u3asites.org.uk/belper/groups

4   Belper Baptist Church Unto Us a Child is Born    www.belperbaptist.org

5   Belper Methodist Church www.belpercentralmethodist.co.uk

6   Chatterbox Belper  www.facebook.com/Chatterboxbelper7   Spencer Grove Care Home                                         www.milfordcare.co.uk/spencer-grove

8  Diane Strauther, Joy Meakin & Jan Sheppard               While Shepherds watched

9   Holbrook School for Autism                                        www.holbrookautism.derbyshire.sch.uk

10   Christine and Jo   Waiting for Father Christmouse

11   Belper North Mill      www.belpernorthmill.org.uk

12   Whitemoor Day Opportunities                                    12 Drummers Drumming       www.facebook.com/whitemoordayopportunities   13   Marianne Hulse

14   Helen Pridmore    Hedgehugs   www.hedgehogstreet.org

15   Suz Hennessey & Tracey Crawford                            The 12 Days of Christmas

16  Christchurch Church         www.christchurchbelper.co.uk

17  Air Ambulance Shop   www.theairambulanceservice.org.uk/shop/wndlr-belper

18  Milford Care Home              www.milfordcare.co.uk19  St Peter’s Church         We Three Kings    www.stpetersparishbelper.org.uk

20  Belper Gardening Club      www.facebook.com/groups/belpergardeningclub

21  Oxfam Shop          www.oxfam.org.uk/shop

22  Cynthia Lenham & Christine Moorcroft                        Santa’s Favourites

23  Openwoodgate Preschool www.openwoodgatepreschool.co.uk

24  Transition Belper          Hang the Stockings   www.transitionbelper.orgPhotos kindly taken by Syd Greig.

Woollen Woods 2019

This year, 2019 the Woollen Woods were slightly later than usual and this turned out to be a good decision as we were once again very lucky with the weather. As has happened in previous years some pieces were seen for a second time such as the stripy snakes.Most of the trees were decorated with new pieces however, with many trees being taken on by local groups. Transition Belper put up a Bee Kind to Nature Tree with an amazing beehive suspended high above our heads. A line of bees could be seen flying back to the hive and on close inspection a Queen Bee could be seen wearing a small handmade silver crown.  Continue reading Woollen Woods 2019

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

I visited the Yorkshire Sculpture Park near Wakefield for the first time this week. I was very impressed by the variety of exhibitions both inside and out. The Park describes itself as a 500-acre outdoor art gallery and there are over 80 sculptures to see outside. The area was originally the landscaped parkland of Bretton Hall and so the setting is very beautiful. There is much to explore including Lower and Upper Lake , Menagerie Wood, the Chapel, Boat House, Shell Grotto, various galleries and much more.

We didn’t see all of it so there is plenty to go back for. Outside there is a group of figures made by Barbara Hepworth called, The Family of Man. I had been to her house and gallery in St Ives and hadn’t realised that she originally came from Wakefield.This photo is just one of the group which has been on loan to the park since the 1980s.

Continue reading Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Community Spaces in the North East

I have just returned home from a few days staying in a cottage near Whitley Bay in the North East of England. During the visit I was very interested to see two community projects which were both in different ways a little unexpected. The first was a Community Garden in the walled garden area of a National Trust House and the second was made for the community by an open cast mining company. Continue reading Community Spaces in the North East

Adopt a Tree for Belper Arts Festival

This year as a new event for Belper Arts Festival, local individuals and groups were asked if they would Adopt a Tree on King Street.  The trees were decorated for the duration of the Arts Festival. The idea was suggested back in Autumn 2017 and was quickly taken up by a number of people in the town of Belper. Trees were installed on May 5th and taken down on May 28th. Continue reading Adopt a Tree for Belper Arts Festival

Woollen woods 2018

We have just taken down the Woollen Woods and 2018 has been an amazing year. The sun has been very good to us and more individuals and groups have joined in the fun. I have written about previous years on this blog and also linked to videos Woollen Woods 2015 . This one was created for us by a Derby company https://www.ablewild.com . We were written about on the Angel Eden Blog in 2016 and there are links to videos on their page. Continue reading Woollen woods 2018