Huge fire rips through historic woodland in Ambergate

Firefighters tackled a huge fire at Beggarswell Wood in Ambergate.
Firefighters tackled a huge fire at Beggarswell Wood in Ambergate.

People are being urged to safely dispose of barbecues after a huge fire at historic woodland in Ambergate.

Firefighters were called to Beggarswell Wood, part of Shining Cliff Woods, on Easter Sunday at about 6.40pm.

There was a huge fire at Beggarswell Wood in Ambergate.

There was a huge fire at Beggarswell Wood in Ambergate.

The blaze is thought to have been started by a discarded barbecue.

Michelle Kershaw-Wright, of the Grith Pioneers, a group set up in the 1930s to look after the woodland, said it is a ‘minor miracle’ that major devastation was not caused.

She is encouraging people to think carefully about where they have a barbecue and not to be irresponsible with cigarette papers.

“I thought we were going to be in big, big trouble because I thought there was no way they would be able to get it under control if it spread,” Michelle said.

“We are very, very grateful to the fire crews who have been absolutely brilliant.”

Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service said the incident was 30mx30m of woodland on alight.

The blaze was reported to the fire service by an off-duty firefighter who happened to notice it while passing in the area.

One person said that they saw six lads leaving the scene on Saturday evening after having a barbecue.

The person added that although the blaze was not spotted until Sunday, it may have actually started on Saturday but may have been smouldering for some time.

Fire crews rushed to the scene and have revisited the site a number of times to check on it.

At the time, Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service tweeted: “18:40. We have two appliances and a water carrier at Beggarswell Wood, Ambergate. Crich, Alfreton and Clay Cross in attendance. This is 30mx30m of woodland on fire.”

Michelle is now urging people who are wanting to have a fire to contact the Grith Pioneers because they have two fire pits which are safe.

The woodland is designated as a site of special scientific interest because of the endangered plants and rare trees and animals that live there.