People and Groups


Organised by The Association of Natural Burial Grounds

The Natural Death Centre Charity


Best Natural Burial Ground in North Britain



 Brocklands Woodland Burial has been named the Best Natural Burial Ground in North Britain in the Annual People’s 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 was one of the pioneering first generation ‘green burial sites’, and has been pursuing and promoting the ethos of natural burial since it first opened in the year 2000, since when it has undertaken nearly 400 burials. It provides burials for people from all walks of life in a completely natural way. Nothing artificial is put onto or into the ground, native trees and wildflowers are planted on the graves, and the area, originally open grassland, is now slowly evolving into new woodland.

Brocklands’ owner Chris Weston said: “We are thrilled to receive this award. We are here to try and help families get through the very difficult process of saying goodbye to their loved ones, and whilst doing so we have always tried to ensure that the practicalities of death and burial make a positive contribution to the natural cycle of life. To have such a positive response from the families involved in those burials is very rewarding.”

Contact Details:

Chris Weston . Brocklands Woodland Burial. Cappleside House, Rathmell, Settle, Yorkshire BD24 0LJ

Tel: 01729 840102    e-mail   www.brocklands.c

Sample comments received from families’ feedback forms:

“A marvellous location, well kept and tended”

“All the family left the site uplifted despite the sadness of the occasion.”

“Chris was extremely helpful and accommodating. The site was all I could have wished for, and the ceremony was perfect.”

“Less fuss, more informal, and closer to nature.”

“This is a wonderful burial site [in a] beautiful, peaceful, natural and spiritual setting…quiet and calm – a safe, peaceful resting place.”

“Chris loves the land and takes such care of it. Nothing is a problem if he can help. Many of my husband’s walking friends were so impressed they said it was where they would like to be at rest.”








Pat Gibson (of Melbrae, Main Road, Rathmell) heads for the Brecon Beacons in aid of Child Cancer (CLIC Sargent) – we wish her well and hope you will support her.

These are Pat’s own words:

Sam and I are doing a charity walk in June this year to raise funds for what we feel is well deserving charity – CLIC Sargent who raise money for children with cancer.

The story behind this year’s walk is I celebrated my 50th birthday in December and I have had a really wonderful first 50 years of my life. Sam and I decided what better way to celebrate my half century than to set a challenge and raise money to give a child suffering from cancer a very great possibility of reaching their 50th year.

We fully understand that you may already have a chosen charity however, if you would like to support us in our quest it would really be appreciated.

The biggy we are doing is on 3rd June –  50km walk in a day in the Brecon Beacons which includes a ‘delightful’ hike up Pen-y-Fan (some may remember we did this a couple of years ago. The walk then was around 40km).  You can find all the details on my JustGiving page – the link is below.
We set a goal of raising £150 but we would like to raise £500  – can you see the pattern?  50km in my 50th year raising £500.

Anyway, thank you so much for reading this message and any donations will be very greatly appreciated.  You can keep any eye on our training progress on my JustGiving page.

I must just say we have only started training in the last couple of weeks as I have been suffering from asthma most of the winter, no pressure then! You may be seeing me wandering through the village quite a lot over the next 6 weeks on foot, running or on my bike.  Now you know why.


Titanic Spa, the brain-child of Rathmell Resident David Wilkinson, has won the supreme accolade of Global Winner in the World Luxury Spa AwardsTitanic spa awardAfter success in 2015 and 2016 as the Best Destination Spa in UK, 2016 has seen the West Yorkshire based facility going one better and achieving recognition as the World’s Best Luxury Eco Spa.  The award, which is based on a voting poll of Spa visitors and industry consultants, was presented to the company at a ceremony staged in a Spa Resort in the Swiss Alps.

Titanic Spa was opened in 2006 when David Wilkinson purchased the huge textile mill in Huddersfield known locally as Titanic Mill, the name coming from the fact that it was built in 1911, the same year as the eponymous ocean liner, and that it was also such a large structure. To start with the mill was developed as a Day Spa and 139 apartments. Since then the Spa business has developed rapidly to include a wide range of Spa facilities and treatment rooms, together with 35 luxury apartments providing accommodation for the Spa visitors.Titanicspa2

David Wilkinson has had a long career in property development and management prior to this latest venture. He has lived for many years in Rathmell with his wife Lynne (nee Garnett), who was born in Rathmell and whose family over successive generations have been influential in the local community in terms of business and property, providing both employment and housing for local people over several decades. Both David and Lynne have for many years been active in the local community, not least with this website, which has for the last three years received generous sponsorship from Titanic Spa.

David, who one would conservatively think must at least be approaching retirement age, is Chairman of Titanic Spa and thus finding life fairly busy with this rapidly expanding new enterprise. He regards the success of the business as the result of a lot of hard work by himself , his fellow directors and all 144 employed staff, but also due to providing a luxury resource for people of all ages at affordable prices.

‘We are thrilled to receive this award’, he says,’ but we know that as number one Spa resort  we have to keep innovating and moving forward. We are well aware that we are closely watched by the industry, and what we do everyone else tends to follow.’ The resort, which operates both as a Day Spa and a Destination Spa, achieves 97% occupancy all year round which sounds a remarkable achievement, and they attract almost as many men as women. Once or twice each year they offer special discounted Spa Breaks – these are particularly popular and sell out very quickly.


The Way of the Roses Cycle Ride with Malcolm Spencer and his son Jonathan – In aid of funds for the Restoration of Holy Trinity Church, Rathmell 

Firstly a few words of sincere thanks – to my son, Jonathan, for accompanying me on the ride, to my wife, Margaret, for driving the ‘Team Car’ and carrying most of our luggage and finally to all of you who so generously sponsored me for the ride.  As a result I hope to have raised somewhere in the region of at least £1600.  The final amount will be published once all monies are in and the Gift Aid contributions have been added.  The route stretches for a total of 170 miles from Morecambe to Bridlington and passes through Lancaster, the Forest of Bowland, the Yorkshire Dales, Nidderdale to Ripon, then across the Vale of York and onto the rolling Yorkshire Wolds to Bridlington.  The highest point is 1319 feet (402 metres) at Greenhow above Pateley Bridge but the steepest hill is just outside Settle where it’s over the cobbles and then bang 20% gradient up onto the wild fells towards Airton.  But what is life without a little spice and variety!

001 (Reduced for email) Wet start Morecambe (near Midland Hotel) 4 August

Our first day (4th August) was from Morecambe to Burnsall (51 miles).  Unfortunately for most of the morning and early afternoon we were in heavy rain so the magnificent views of the Dales were obscured.  However we received a warm welcome at Settle and a hot meal in the Parish Church which placed new fuel in the tank!  The weather started to improve and we journeyed on towards Burnsall via Airton, Winterburn, Hetton, Cracoe and Thorpe.  Our first B&B was at Burnsall and a most pleasant occasion presented itself in the evening when some of our friends from Rathmell Parish Church came over to Linton for a meal at the Fountaine Inn.

002 (Reduced for email) Entering Settle 4 August

The 5th of August dawned bright and clear and the weather in fact continued to improve the further east we went.  This day was from Burnsall to Boroughbridge (36 miles), plenty of climbing and descents to start with through Appletreewick and up to Stump Cross Caverns, then down to Pateley Bridge and up again past Brimham Rocks.  The views were fantastic so it was all worthwhile.  Approaching the Cistercian Abbey of Fountains and the grand cathedral at Ripon, the building of which took place in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the gradients began to ease and we soon arrived at our second B&B where cakes and tea were ready for us – delicious!

006 (Reduced for email) Ripon Cathedral 5 AugustThe following day (6th August) was probably the easiest being across the flat terrain of the Vale of York.  We travelled from Boroughbridge to Pocklington (40 miles).  Here the stone walls of the Dales gave way to hedgerows full of wild flowers.  We crossed the River Ure on the Aldwark Toll Bridge which was built in 1772  (cyclists go free!) then on past the RAF base at Linton-on-Ouse and into the grounds of Beningborough Hall belonging to the National Trust.  A very pleasant section then followed as we cycled alongside the Ouse on purpose built cycle tracks right into the heart of the wonderful walled city of York.  We passed the Minster and headed north east towards Stamford Bridge and the 1066 battlefield.  Here the Yorkshire Wolds beckoned but it was still easy cycling to Pocklington with the huge cereal fields on either side of the road.  Again we were greeted at our final B&B with cakes and tea.  Pocklington is a charming market town where the Burnby Hall Gardens are known as a ‘jewel in Yorkshire’s crown’ owing to the lake there being the home of a National Collection of Water Lilies.  We ate that night at the highly recommended Italian restaurant so with the tasty food, Italian waiters and fabulous weather it certainly provided a relaxing end to the day.

009 (Reduced for email) York Minster 6 August

Our final day (7th August) was 43 miles with our route winding up a dry valley and then down the gently sloping eastern side of the Wolds to Driffield.  A brief visit to the Elizabethan stately home of Burton Agnes Hall was then followed by a climb to Woldgate Roman Road where we saw our first views of the bay at Bridlington with the sea sparkling in the distance under a clear blue sky.  We descended to the resort’s Old Town then onto the North Promenade and Beach with the Finish/Start sign being a welcome sight.  It was hard to believe that four days previously we had left Morecambe on the west coast in the rain and that we were now on the east coast at Bridlington some 170 miles later in glorious sunshine!

013 (Reduced for email) Arriving at Bridlington - Journey's End 7 August

014 BEST ONE TO USE (Reduced for email) Way of the Roses - Journey's End, Bridlington 7 August

All in all an excellent adventure and experience through some of our most beautiful countryside full of variety and interest whilst at the same time helping to raise much needed funds for a worthwhile appeal.

Where to next year?

Report by Malcolm Spencer

Many congratulations Malcolm and Jonathan on a wonderful bike ride and a big thank you for the funds you have raised for the Church Restoration Fund.




We would like to populate this page with stories, anecdotes, reminiscences, etc.  of the local people of Rathmell, past and present.

Births, deaths, marriages, christenings, events, achievements… whatever may be of note or interest.

Any ideas or contributions in this vein, please email the editor:

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