** NEWS UPDATE AT BROCKLANDS ** NEWS UPDATE AT BROCKLANDS **
April 2017We are very pleased that Brocklands has been named the Best Natural Burial Ground in North Britain in the Annual Peoples Awards made by The Natural Death Centre. The region includes Northern England and all of Scotland, and thus a large part of the UK.
The Annual Awards are based entirely on feedback forms which The Association of Natural Burial Grounds (under the auspices of the Natural Death Centre Charity) require all member sites to give to every bereaved family, following the burial of their loved one.
Brocklands got a special flypast on Friday 31st March 2017 as the Flying Scotsman made its way from Oxenhope to Carlisle to celebrate the re-opening of the Settle Carlisle railway. The more usual flypasts we see are from RAF trainer jets, or occasionally a pair of Hercules transport planes lumbering up the valley, but this one was indeed memorable particularly for steam train enthusiasts, although one has to say it certainly was not flying in any sense of the word, having just taken on a load of water at Hellifield it merely ambled up to Settle, with very little steam to be seen at all.
October 2016We are very fortunate and privileged to have received on loan from Austwick parish their beautiful old Funeral Bier. For several years now this has been used but once a year in Austwick as a book stall at their Annual Street Market, but following discussions with the Parish Council we have now been granted permission to use it for the purpose for which it was originally built in 1907, ie. transportation of the deceased to the graveside.
We have already used it on two occasions when it has performed admirably, running perfectly smoothly on its old carriage wheels, taking the strain out of the carrying process, but also adding some style to the cortège.
Autumn has been kind this year, with little rain, hardly any frost and no storms...yet! The result of this: a season with few mists but plenty mellow fruitfulness, bountiful crops of berries and fruits, and wonderful colours as the pictures here show.
In the Annual People's Awards which are handed out by the Association of Natural Burial Grounds, Brocklands was awarded Runner Up in the Northern Region. We were delighted to receive this, not least because the award is based on feedback received by the Association from families who have had burials at the site.
The northern region covers the north of England and all of Scotland, so we regard it as a great accolade.
February 2016This year we decided to take part in the 'Big Farmland Bird Count'. This is similar to the annual garden bird count, but the survey takes place on farmland and is organised by the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust. We decided to do the survey at Brocklands, where we already have bird feeders and plenty of feathered visitors and indeed permanent residents.
The survey has to be done over a half hour period, preferably in the early part of the day when the birds are most active. So on one of the few clear frosty mornings this month we did our survey. I suppose like any short survey this is only a snapshot, and to be honest the results were a little disappointing. But we had plenty of activity around the bird feeders with various tits and finches vying for the nuts and seeds, and the robins clearing up on the floor. There were also larger groups of Canada geese, and starlings passing overhead, and plenty of the inevitable crowd of jackdaws.
Towards the end of the half hour we were rewarded with the colourful arrival of a flock of goldfinches which was great. But few of our known regular visitors bothered to put in appearance for the count, such as the Tawny owl who spends a lot of time in the barn, and the Little owls who come to hunt in the long grass, the pair of buzzards who look like they are thinking of nesting nearby, the herons and the jays, and of course too early in the year for the curlews, lapwings and oyster catchers. However it was an interesting exercise, and one we will definitely do again next year, when we will be able to see if there's any change year on year.
January 2016After two months of incessant rainfall, with the turn of the year, dare one now look forward to the spring and some more clement conditions? If so, one's thoughts turn to planting and growing things again, and in response to requests and suggestions from many families and visitors we have revised both our wildflower options and the tree lists .
The planting of bulbs and wildflowers has proved increasingly popular over the last few years, and so we are offering a wider selection for planting. As ever we request families not to bring their own plants and bulbs as this runs the risk of compromising the pure native element of all our planting schemes. All the wildflowers are offered at cost price, and we will plant these for you at no extra cost, or supply them for you to do the planting if you wish.
As for the trees - we have learnt the hard way that some tree species will grow much more readily at Brocklands than others, and so we have tailored the lists accordingly. We have this year extended the lists to give as much choice to families as possible, whilst adhering to our core principle of creating a natural woodland that is in keeping with the local landscape and ecology.
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