The Sidmouth Scouts lend a hand!

It’s great that other groups are working with Cherishing Sidmouth Cemeteries – and on Saturday afternoon a group of Scout Explorers, leaders and family members had a working party concentrating on the area just south of the Chapels:

Thanks to the Scouts – Cherishing Sidmouth Cemeteries

And so, as also covered by the Herald, a session by the 1st Sid Vale Explorer Scouts was the latest initiative in the ongoing campaign to improve the upkeep of Sidmouth’s cemeteries:

Explorer Scouts pitch in to help clear up Sidmouth Cemetery | Sidmouth Herald

For more , here’s the full press release of the morning’s work, put together by CSC steering group member and regular working party volunteer Tess Bisson:

The Sidmouth Scouts lend a hand!

The Vision Group for Sidmouth’s cemetery project seems to have become a catalyst for other community groups to get involved, roll up their sleeves and help transform some of our neglected but precious spaces. It was last November when the VGS set up the Cherishing Sidmouth Cemeteries project, followed by meetings with the public and the council and a call for local folk to lend a hand – focussing first on Sidmouth Cemetery. The CSC now has its regular working party of volunteers which meet up every Thursday morning – and other organisations are now pitching in to clear the site.

Showing great community spirit, a group of Scouts Explorers, together with Leaders and some family members got to work at the Cemetery on a breezy, Saturday afternoon. Fortunately, the rain kept away, and after an initial chat about the tasks needing to be done and warnings of potential hazards, work began – equipped with tough gloves, rakes, loppers and a fabulous sense of purpose!

© Tess Bisson

Efforts were focused mainly on clearing brambles which were invading particular parts of the cemetery to the south of the chapel. This part of the plot has been left unmanaged for a long time and whilst bramble patches can be useful cover for living creatures, if left unchecked they will take over and smother all other less robust plants. They had also grown over and hidden headstones and graves which were painstakingly uncovered. Two examples can be seen here:

Before (several headstones obscured):


© Tess Bisson

The grave of Colonel Walter Cave was revealed, beneath the old redwood tree, previously completely invisible.

© Tess Bisson

As lots of cover for wildlife was being removed, it was important to try and replace this, so several brash piles were made from fallen branches. Invertebrates, amphibians, birds and small mammals will all find these useful for food and shelter.

An attempt was made to cut back some areas of three cornered leek – resulting in a very garlicky aroma! We are never going to stop the spread of this invasive garden escape, which can rapidly smother all other plants, but if we cut it now we can at least stop it from setting seed this year.

Part of the result of a busy afternoon.

© Tess Bisson

Many thanks to this wonderful group of Sidmouth Scouts and families, they even said they could come back again to help later in the year! And thanks too to the District Council for lending the dumpy bags and for taking it all away!

If you’d like to get involved, contact the Cherishing Sidmouth Cemeteries group at