Finally we have our public liability insurance and a completed risk assessment. This means that Teignbridge have now been able to give us official permission to be able to work in the cemetery.
Last Thursday a group of us visited the Cemetery to survey the first area which we will be clearing. This gave us a chance to test out the risk assessment document and to mark out the area – this now cordoned off with barrier tape in accordance with the risk register. Looks a bit like a crime scene, doesn’t it?!!
We photographed all the graves and have also made written records of what could be deciphered on the graves. Interestingly (more to come) we have been offered some assistance with cutting edge technology (associated with Exeter University) which can photographically reconstruct wording which may be unclear or eroded.
One of our volunteers will be starting some historical research on the graves and we also carried out a quick flower survey of the area. We will be attempting to conserve any interesting wild plants which may be dug up as part of the clearance.
Now the hard work can start in clearing the graves. Fortunately much of the bramble and ivy had been cut away previously by Dawlish Garden Trust but there are still roots to be grubbed out. The first working party is planned for next Thursday 4th May at 1pm – anyone who would like to help is most welcome. We are still in the process of purchasing tools so for this first working party it would help if everyone could bring a fork or spade or some hand-tools themselves.
This first area will be significant for us in testing out what the best approach to clearance could be and also how long it takes. That will help in mapping out a long-term plan.
Thanks to everyone for your support so far.