“A while ago I went on the Sparth Bottom walk. It’s a good route and I ended up researching a bit about the area. Features of the walk like the boulder and the quarry have been mentioned already, however, so I will discuss the cemetery.
One of the main things to investigate is a geological trail, set up there in 1855, (so likely to be one of the earliest geological trails in England). It’s a series of different labelled rocks forming a trail, going from oldest to youngest rocks (with about 30 in total). As the trail is now very old, it shouldn’t be too surprising that about 4 of the very soft stones have fully eroded away. In the intervening years, the layout of the cemetery was rearranged so some of the placings of the stones have become a bit illogical, the first stone now being positioned in a ditch, behind a wall, with no path leading to it whilst the last stone of the series is right behind the lodge at the main entrance. As we entered via the front gate, we did the trail in reverse.
The first few stones are not the type to keep very well over time, with one of them being scarcely more than a small, chalky, pile (apparently also soft for a rock as my father would attest having chewed a bit that crumbled off). The condition of the stones improves from then on, with the labels on them being more and more legible. Written on each stone is the name of the company/quarry that donated it and the type of rock, e.g. Aberdeen granite from Mc Donalds (This is a real stone and is near the start of the trail, but due to the rearrangement not near the entrance). I tried taking an etching of one of the less legible ones but unfortunately don’t have it to hand. I think someone else has a picture of it, though it’s still quite illegible.
So yeh, it was a fun trip.
Oh, final mention – The first and last stone have some special messages on them as they aren’t part of the main trail. The first has the inscription starting with “In the beginning, God made the Heavens and the Earth”. While the final one ends in… “Speak to the earth and it will teach Thee.”, which given what we’re looking at right now feels quite relevant.”