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Adopting Belper Train Station
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In April of 2012, Transition Belper, with the help of the Derwent Valley Line Community Rail Partnership, East Midlands Trains, Network Rail and Belper Town Council adopted the 4 green spaces on Belper Train Station. Whilst these had been beautifully designed and created in 2005 by The Groundwork Trust, they had, unfortunately, not been tended since. As nature often does, it took over and these areas became inundated with weeds, brambles, self-set trees, rubble and general rubbish beyond our worst nightmares! Some of the plants that had been lovingly planted had died or become straggly and unattractive. Furthermore, the whole area was covered with black weed suppressant fabric. This, unfortunately, not only failed to suppress the weeds, but also prevented the leaf fall from decomposing into soil nourishment and impeded greatly the work of beneficial worms and soil bacteria, which does not fit well into the ethos of permaculture which Transition Belper subscribes to.

Therefore, for the first few months, a number of volunteers, together with the Derbyshire Probation Trust Community Payback Scheme, devoted many hours to clearing the weeds, dead and unwanted plants, rubble, general rubbish  and as much of the black membrane as possible.

Next came the design and planning stage, during which we had to take into account a number of factors:

  • The plants selected must be beneficial to wildlife
  • They must be hardy and suitable for the English climate
  • There is no watering facility on site
  • Native trees and shrubs should be used wherever possible
  • Adherence to plant size and species suitability as part of operational railway regulations
  • Minimal maintenance requirements.
  • Pleasing to the eye and all year interest wherever possible

The final step, which began in November 2012 and which will continue until the end of spring 2013, is that of re-planting the areas. A quantity of locally recycled soil improver has kindly been donated by Vital Earth, which will make the growing medium for the new plants much better. We sourced and purchased a quantity of spring flowering bulbs, trees and shrubs within East Midlands.  On Wednesday, 14th November, during our big community day, a large number of these were planted. It was wonderful to see so many volunteers from Transition Belper, Network Rail, East Midlands Trains, adopters of other Derbyshire train stations and employees of Belper Town Council work together on creating such a lovely environment.

We hope these green spaces will give the users of the train station and other passers-by years of pleasure and will provide the wildlife with an otherwise fast diminishing source of food and a friendly habitat in which to flourish.

In 2014 we started early in spring to clear the weeds before they established their cycles of growth. Less work later on and more time to see the results of our labours! We have continued planting donated plants from our own gardens, The Derby Breast Cancer Support Group and from the Rail Partnership to fill any empty spaces in the gardens.

New projects

The middle section on the Derby bound platform has been rebuilt by Network Rail, and the area tidied and planted as a wildflower meadow
So we can make the best use of natural resources and minimise waste, we plan to install a rainwater collection/storage facility and build composting areas.

Mosaic and art installation

A community mosaic and children's art gallery have been installedat the station. The mosaic project has been led by a local artist, Christine Gray. She worked with local primary and nursery schools on a design for a community mosaic worked on by people attending Belper Goes Green ECO Festival in 2014. For more details see the Railway Station Mosaic page here.

Sunday gardening

We now have regular Sunday morning session at Belper Station gardening and socialising over our refreshments from around 10 to 12 am – or whenever people can make it within these times. We hope to add late afternoon/early evening session as the nights draw out and the season progesses. Everyone is welcome to join us – strong footwear, gardening gloves and a trowel are the only essentials. We provide the stylish orange Network Rail jackets. We also provide CAKE/BISCUITS! Please don’t bring your dog or children under 16 along (unless you only intend watching us work....).

If you are interested in joining us – even if you can only occasionally give us your time - please contact Kate

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March 2014 - looking good



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