Folk singer-songwriter Sarah Hinds walks her dog almost every day along footpaths and across fields in a part of Belper known as Bullsmoor.
She didn’t know when she moved into her home backing on to that landscape that it was going to become especially important to her, but in the last couple of years she has become a passionate campaigner to protect it from developers.
As part of the fight to save it she wrote a folk song, the Bullsmoor Lament, to the tune of Bonny Portmore and was persuaded to sing it into a megaphone at Belper Market Square during a Protect Belper march.
“Since then the planning application for a factory and housing has been rejected, so my song has become a celebration of the land,” she said as she talked about her plans to develop her Bullsmoor project.
“When I heard that the plans had been refused it took a few days for it to sink in but now I, and others, are looking into what we can do to help secure it from future development.
“I have started a Bullsmoor blog and I am busy collecting people’s stories and memories about the area and turning them into songs. I am just so glad that it is about memories rather than ‘in memoriam’ of Bullsmoor,” she says with passion.
As part of Belper Arts Festival, Sarah will be sitting in a bell tent at the top of Bullsmoor collecting stories about the area from May 11-13. She wants people to wander up to see her and recall their memories – whether it is picking blackberries, having a Sunday afternoon walk, riding a horse or sledging in the winter.
She wants to know of any wildlife people may have seen, foraging they have done or flooding from the brook flowing through the land that they can remember.
“Once I have collected all the stories I will write a series of songs for next year’s arts festival and I may even compile a book if there are enough.”
To help fund the project Belper artist Ruth Gray has donated an original painting of Bullsmoor which is going to be auctioned on May 17, at 8pm, at the Milford Monthly Music Session at the Holy Trinity Church, Milford.
To find out more about what time Sarah will be on Bullsmoor and how to find her go to belperartsfestival.org or visit her own website http://www.sarahhinds.wordpress.com