Snowdrops in February Sunshine at Sun Rising Natural Burial Ground and Nature Reserve

Our New Website

On 21 February we were proud to publish our new Sun Rising website.  The old site had been designed back in 2006, and although we had regular positive comments about it, the reality was that it was starting to look and feel out of date.  Instead of trying to get a new feel ourselves, we engaged an excellent young web designer called Niki Peach (well, younger than we are!), who listened to our brief and came up with a design that beautifully presents all we do here at Sun Rising.  She made it wonderfully easy for us to share so many more of out photos too.  Thank you, Niki!

Snowdrops in February Sunshine at Sun Rising Natural Burial Ground and Nature Reserve

Snowdrops in February Sunshine

Do have a good look around the site, explore the gallery, and other pages.  If there are hiccoughs, please forgive us – there are a few snitches and glitches that are still being smoothed out.

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Wreaths Dismantled and Sorted, 6 January 2019

New Year Tidy

Laying a wreath on the grave of a loved one at Christmas is a tradition that many families want to share.  It’s a heart-felt gift, a sharing of the festive season, with that special person who won’t physically be present.  It’s one of the little things can help with the experience of loss, easing the pain of this difficult time of year. At Sun Rising we have done what we can to encourage families to lay wreaths that are in keeping with the nature reserve: no glitter and oasis, painted leaves, wires and plastics!  This year florists Jacqui (Hope and Glory Flowers) and Jayne (Vale Garden Flowers) offered beautiful, simple, natural, ethical and wholly biodegradable wreaths for sale, with a proportion of the takings going to The Friends of Sun Rising.

Wreaths Dismantled and Sorted, 6 January 2019

Wreaths Dismantled and Sorted, 6 January 2019

When 6 January arrives each year, it is time to clear them all away.  In the past, this has been a long, cold, disheartening job, with far too much rubbish that we’ve had to send to landfill.  This year, with some welcome helpers (see Jacqui with me in the picture above), we cleared and dismantled over 80 wreaths.  You can see all those frames on the right, made of straw, wood and moss (no wires) which can be re-used.  The bag at the back is all the evergreen and woody material that will go into a brushpile: a habitat onsite that will be used by small mammals and invertebrates.  Some of it will then be burned next autumn.  On the left, the bag is compost: flowers and soft greenery that can go on our compost heap.  The bag at the front is rubbish that has to go to landfill: wreaths constructed of wire, oasis, painted cones, plastic berries and so on.  Let’s see if next year we can reduce it even further! Next job: looking out for the first snowdrops.  There are primroses in flower, peaking out through the tatty winter grass.  It won’t be long.

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The Completed Roundhouse Roof

New Roof and Autumn Tasks

The roundhouse roof is now finished.  It feels as if it fits beautifully.  The colour will soften and darken over the next few months, and before long it will feel as if it’s been there since the beginning …

The Completed Roundhouse Roof

The Completed Roundhouse Roof

We are busy with autumn tasks: cutting back the season’s growth.  The pond will be cleared in a few weeks’ time, which is always a job that sings of the approach of winter.  We are about to put in our order for bulbs – so if you’d like any, do get in touch before next week.

If you have a chance, do pop over to Sun Rising soon.  The autumn colours are proving better than expected: the rose hips and may haws are vibrant at the moment.  The leaves of the viburnum, dogwood, wild service and maple, are all beginning to turn, from tired green to rich coppers, burgundy and bronze.

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The Roundhouse Before Tiling

The Roundhouse Roof

This is a photograph that says so much about Sun Rising at the moment … The wildflower meadow cut and baled, with pockets left long for wildlife to hide away in, and that golden autumnal light against the darkness of stormy skies.

The Roundhouse Before Tiling

The Roundhouse Before the Tiles

After twelve years of striving to keep the green roof going on the roundhouse, we have decided to let it go.  The wet years were too wet for the sedum, the dry years too dry for the moss, and in between the birds were able to pull it apart, taking the felt underneath as nesting material.  This photograph shows the green sedum mats removed, the roof newly lined and fresh batons in place.  The next step is tacking in each and every one of the very many cedar shingles – two nails for shingle. Local builder, Jon Williams, who is doing the work, is doing a wonderful job.  It’s not a bad place to work: now and then I watch him pausing to grin at the hares playing, the clouds shaping the skies over the hills, or just to breathe in the peace. It should be finished by the end of this week.  The reddish colour of the wood tiles, which beautifully glow in the autumn colours, will soften and darken over the winter.  We hope you like it.

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Growing Beds at Hope and Glory Flowers

Flower Miles

For some years the media have been talking about ‘food miles’, encouraging us to buy food that has been locally grown, locally produced, locally made.  It’s a good way of reducing carbon emissions and other ways that we consume and pollute our beautiful planet.   Eating locally and seasonally available food means no hothouses too.  It’s time to think the same way about flowers …

Jacqui Franklin, an artisan florist with 20 years experience, has started growing her own flowers just up the hill from Sun Rising.  As well as supplying florists further afield, Jacqui’s flowers are available at Tysoe Post Office.  For families who would like to lay a few cut flowers on a new grave or by a memorial plaque here at Sun Rising, on those special occasions, this is wonderfully local …

Growing Beds at Hope and Glory Flowers

Growing Beds at Hope and Glory Flowers

Under the name Hope and Glory Flowers, Jacqui is working with husband Alan, whose landscaping business ProGardens has helped us out at Sun Rising with end-of-season mowing for the last few years. Jacqui can be reached on hopeandgloryflowerco@gmail.com.  Hope and Glory are part of Flowers from the Farm, a national movement supporting small British flower growers, reducing ‘flower miles’ and the carbon footprint of the cut flower industry.

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The Sun Rising Tea Towel (autumn/winter)

Cakes and Tea Towels

First of all, a big thank you to all who came along to our Cake Sale last weekend.  We raised £180 for The Friends of Sun Rising, and as importantly it was a lovely opportunity to people to meet and talk.  Thanks to all who donated cakes and helped out on the day.

The Sun Rising Tea Towel (autumn/winter)

The Sun Rising Tea Towel (autumn/winter)

As those who came along on Saturday will have found out, our new Sun Rising tea towel is now printed and available to buy.  The beautiful artwork is by Philip Bannister, and it’s all organic cotton.  They are £10 each, with all profit going to The Friends.  If you would like a tea towel or two sent by post, get in touch and I’ll let you know the postage and packing.  We are hoping Philip will do one for us with a spring/summer theme as well …

Tea towels will be on sale at our Open Day on Saturday 9 June, when there’ll be a string quartet playing in the roundhouse between 3 and 5 pm.  Do come along on the day – put it in the diary, and I’ll post more information about it in the coming week!

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Sam Moore

Support Sam’s Marathon

Sam Moore is running a half marathon on Saturday 11 November, with funds raised being split between Katharine House Hospice and Sun Rising, in memory of his dear dad Noel.  Do please log on to his fundraising page and support him.  Just a little from everyone makes a huge difference!  https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/inmemoryofnoel

Sam Moore

Sam getting ready for his marathon

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Michael's Meadow Ploughed and Harrowed

Creating Wildflower Meadow

Here at Sun Rising the development of a new area of wildflower meadow is now underway.  This new area will add another acre and a half of wildflower meadow to the nature reserve, making an enormous contribution towards the ecological importance of the site.

At the moment, the area has been ploughed and harrowed, and we’re waiting for some perfect damp still days in which to sow the seed.  That’s a long and painstaking job to be done by hand.  Then all we can do is wait …

Michael's Meadow Ploughed and Harrowed

Michael’s Meadow Ploughed and Harrowed

We’re using a special seed mix, customised specifically for Sun Rising, which means this area will have a slightly different feel from the wildflower areas that area already established.  However, it could take a few years to get there: the seeds that will germinate first will be the arable weeds that have been sitting quietly in the soil waiting for a chance to come through, the charlock, fool’s parsley, fat hen, thistles, willowherb and the like.  Once it settles down, though, this view from the pond, looking up towards Sun Rising Hill, will be absolutely glorious!

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Autumn and Winter Events

A  note to let you know that our autumn and winter events have now been posted on the website – and on the noticeboard in the main car park.  They are also listed in our twice yearly newsletter which will be coming out over the next week or so. Let us know if you have any queries!

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Tyr's Stone, looking South, at Sun Rising Natural Burial Ground and Nature Reserve

Stones

There is something extraordinary about large stones.  In millennia past there would have been vast stones scattered across the landscape, strewn by the surging forces of water and ice which have long since receded.  Over time, however, these stones would have been broken up and moved by those clearing the fields for farming, and claiming the stone for building.  Seeing a huge stone now is a magical experience – and such experiences provoke us to pause, to wonder, to feel the power of nature.  They slow us down in a delightful way.

At Sun Rising we have today set two such stones in place.  The larger is around 5′ tall, the round one behind it slightly smaller but still over a tonne in weight.  They stand directly on the sight line from the main car park, along the track, through the roundhouse and beyond.  The last section of that, over grass, is a path we’ll be mowing, encouraging visitors to wander up to the stones and pause.

Tyr's Stone, looking South, at Sun Rising Natural Burial Ground and Nature Reserve

Tyr’s Stone, looking South, at Sun Rising

The local quarries from which this honey-coloured Hornton stone has been dug for some centuries once employed a third of the area’s working men.  Living on starvation wages, labouring in harsh conditions year-round, this stone not only draws our minds to the beauty of nature but it also acknowledges all those men, sons, husbands, brothers, whose hard lives were so grounded in this landscape.  I hope the peace found at Sun Rising in some way touches their memory.

 

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